Organizers of January's Women's March have called for women to take the day off and encouraged them not to spend money to show their economic strength and impact on American society.
"A Day Without a Woman'' on Wednesday is the first major action by organizers since the nationwide marches held the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration that drew millions of women into the streets in protest against misogyny, inequality and oppression. Though it is unclear how many women could participate, thousands across the country have signaled their support and interest online and to employers.
The event coincides with the U.N.-designated International Women's Day, and organizers say they want to "stand with women around the globe'' who supported their efforts Jan. 21 with similar protests in cities around the world.
“We want this to be a day where women feel empowered to take a stance on their value in the workplace and the world beyond,” Women’s March spokesperson Cassady Fendlay said.
Public schools in Prince George's County, Maryland, and the City of Alexandria, Virginia, will be closed for students on Wednesday because hundreds of staffers requested the day off.
As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 1,700 teachers and 30 percent of the transportation staff had requested leave, the school CEO said in a statement.
"We cannot transport students and provide safe, productive learning environments without adequate staff. As a result, schools will be closed tomorrow for students," Dr. Kevin Maxwell said in a statement. "We apologize for the inconvenience this will surely cause to many families."
More than 300 Alexandria school staffers requested the day off.
Also, Center City Public Charter Schools announced Tuesday that all six of its schools in D.C. will be closed "due to the large number of staff requests for time off to participate in A Day Without A Woman."
The schools are located in the Brightwood, Capitol Hill, Congress Heights, Petworth, Shaw and Trinidad neighborhoods.
Protesters will march at 11 a.m. Wednesday from Freedom Plaza to the White House, the president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Serra Sippel, said.
Organizers of the strike suggest those who are looking to participate take the day off from paid and unpaid labor, only spend money at small, women- and minority-owned businesses and wear red, a color they say represents revolutionary love and sacrifice.
Washingtonian created a map of women-owned businesses in the area.
The restaurant Pizzeria Paradiso, which has locations in Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, will serve only half its food and beer menus and donate half of the day's proceeds to My Sister's Place and the National Organization for Women.
"The gender as a whole is not valued in the society equally to men," owner Ruth Gresser said about why she chose to participate.
Several other restaurants in the area are observing the day with discounted or free drinks for women. DCist has compiled a list.
Strike organizers suggest spending the day attending rallies and marches for International Women’s Day by supporting or volunteering with local groups.
“While the most impactful way would be to take the day off, we realize that many women in our most vulnerable communities or whose jobs provide essential services, including reproductive health services, will not have the ability to join the strike,” Fendlay said. “We strike for each of them, and we look forward to seeing the creative ways both men and women will showcase their support.”
Organizers suggest men participate by calling to government and workplace decision-makers to extend equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women, that businesses close for the day or give female workers the day off, and that households that rely on caregivers, nannies and housekeepers grant a paid day off.
Organizers also said the day acknowledges that transgender and gender nonconforming people, as well as women with disabilities, face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting.
A similar protest took place across the country on Feb. 16 when people protested President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in “A Day Without Immigrants.” Many D.C. restaurants closed for the day to show the importance of immigrants in our daily lives.
For more information about “A Day Without A Woman,” participants can go to the organizer's website.