ITHACA, N.Y. —In Ithaca and across the globe Wednesday, women found a way to join or support a Women’s Day March.
At least 150 women and men clad in red marched through Ithaca’s streets Wednesday for the event. While many women who took part in Ithaca’s march were not missing work, some women did take the day off or rearrange their schedule to march.
Camille Doucet, who is self-employed and works at Cornell Plantations, said she chose to strike and join the march Wednesday because there are so many imminent issues right now.
“Our politicians have to listen or we have to lead,” Doucet said. “So we’re here leading.”
International Women’s Day takes place every year on March 8 and originated from labor movements in North America and Europe in the early 1900s, according to the United Nations. The day is dedicated to recognizing the achievements of women across the globe. The UN says it’s a time to reflect on progress made and also call for change.
On Wednesday, many women took part in a national strike called “A Day Without a Woman.” The strike was designed to recognize the economic significance women have on the U.S. and global economy while also calling attention to economic injustices women also face.
The Ithaca Women’s Day March was planned in solidarity with the International Women’s Day Strike.
The director of Earth Arts, Julie Kulik, said she was able to march Wednesday because two fathers in her program volunteered to help out with the children’s programs so she could come strike.
Discrepancy in pay for women was a major drive for Kulik to march, she said. To illustrate to the children she mentors why she was coming to the march, Kulik said she did an exercise where she had a jar of pennies in the center of the table and told the boys to take 10 cents each and the girls to take seven cents each. She said her first surprise was that the children didn’t question it, but then when the kids had to pay for things, the girls started to run out of money.
“I wanted to be here mostly for that, the discrepancy in pay, and all of the other women’s rights that look like they’re fragilely hanging on in this administration,” Kulik said.
Women, men, children and even a few dogs joined in the march. They met at City Hall at about noon and began marching around 12:30 p.m. They walked down Green Street to Albany, down to Court Street then back up Cayuga Street to the Ithaca Commons.
Along the way, the protesters shouted chants like: “This is what democracy looks like” and “We want a leader, not a creepy Tweeter.” They carried signs saying “Freedom and justice for women worldwide,” “I am a woman what’s your superpower” “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and many others.
People who could not attend the march were encouraged to wear red. As marchers headed down Albany Street, several people from Taitem Engineering, all wearing red, waved from their porch. Others along the route also waved them on.
Two therapists who marched said they did not strike, but they did rearrange their schedules to make it.
“I specifically see women and I decided it was better for me to see those women and work through their issues with them then to not see them as individuals, but we came during our break time because this is important,” Lezlie Namaste said.
“There are so many issues that are adversely affecting women and I think it’s important that we speak up and make it clear that it’s not OK and that we’re not just going to let these things roll by,” Cynthia Overstreet, another therapist said.
Overstreet said many issues disproportionately affect women like defunding Planned Parenthood or health care.
“If it’s affecting women, then it trickles down to affecting families. It impacts everything. We’re like the scaffolding in many ways,” Namaste said.
GreenStar supported women not working Wednesday, and at the GreenStar Oasis at the DeWitt Mall, no women worked. Lauree Myler, manager of GreenStar Oasis attended the march with her daughter.
“Women’s rights are important,” Myler said. “I have a daughter. I want her to know that she should stand up for herself, stand up for people around her that need someone to stand up for them.”
All photos by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice.