On March 8, UConn students and faculty members participated in a “Day Without Women” to raise awareness of economic inequality by illustrating what society, specifically the economy, would look like without the participation of women. UConn students and faculty participated in a sit-in strike on Fairfield Way as part of the nationwide event, which featured women all around the U.S. taking the day off, wearing red or otherwise showing their solidarity with the movement. Leaders of the movement also wished to highlight the heightened levels of discrimination and social oppression that transgender and gender-nonconforming people face.
Economic inequality for women continues to be a problem in society. Women on average receive lower wages than men, a gap which widens for women of color. The absence of paid family leave in the U.S. disproportionately hurts women, who in many cases are expected to take care of young children without proper financial assistance. Women still experience discrimination both in the hiring process and the workplace.
It is imperative that these issues continue to be addressed, both by those who are affected and those who are not. Women and men must work together to move toward equality. As senior Human Development and Family Studies major Craig Alejos put it, “It’s the idea that a house divided doesn’t stand. So if we want to see a bright future, we need to stand together regardless of what labels we use to divide ourselves.” Every successful socially progressive movement has required cooperation among those who are marginalized and those who are not.
The actions taken by these members of the UConn community demonstrate the power and importance of social movements. The school should certainly appreciate the effect women have had on their campus, as the success of the women’s basketball team has played a significant role in making UConn the top college it is today. While UConn was just one location among many that promoted this cause, it is the widespread nature of this event that makes it so effective. Every voice matters in advancing this goal of equality.
It is disgraceful to dismiss these advocates as lazy people who didn’t want to work. If someone feels passionately about an issue, they have every right, and indeed every obligation, to speak out and made their voices heard. This necessity is only augmented when they feel those in power are dismissive or even outright hostile toward causes they deem of the utmost importance. By participating in this event, UConn has continued to prove itself as a socially aware campus that fights for equality in all groups.