If you're angry about protestors, the protest is working

News of Orange County Staff Editorial: 

Last Wednesday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, and many women took the day off from work to show their importance in the workplace while others wore red in support of women, and to raise awareness for the women’s rights movement. 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools closed on Wednesday, as they expected to be short-handed due to women opting out of work. 

I heard of frustrations from many with women not showing up to work, saying it was ridiculous that schools closed, with some noting how it negatively affected the parents whose kids were out of school. 

I will admit that I initially agreed with these inconveniences – I came to work, but had to postpone interviews and calls as a result of the absences. 

But amidst my work frustrations, I had to realize that noticing these inconveniences was the entire point of the day: to see women’s importance in the workplace and the world, through their absence. 

Women’s accomplishments and successes matter each day, and this absence of women highlighted us in a way to hopefully make others see that equality – equal pay, equal treatment, equal opportunity, etc. – is necessary. 

Despite claims on the contrary, a “women’s day” does not equal a “man-hating day”– it is a day dedicated to promoting equality, as a man’s successes have, historically, been held in higher regard and visibility than a woman’s. 

Many people, both local and national, have voiced opinions that this day – and that recent protests and marches – was dramatic, frivolous, unnecessary, or “women pulling a victim card.”

In a time when protests have become largely commonplace, there have been a few times where I too have found myself wondering if those protesting are just exacerbating these social, and human rights, issues.

But, as a woman journalist, I can assure you I am treated differently than my male counterparts –coddled, patronized, and flirted with in an unwelcome fashion, in addition to other things – I have to realize that International Women’s Day also represents me and my struggle as do the protests for equality on many other fronts. Of course it does. These protesters aren’t just a mass of people yelling for no reason – they are individuals that are generally affected each day by the problem on their sign.

I write this not to belittle those on the other side – remember, I too was frustrated at first. Instead, I write to show an evolution that my emotions underwent regarding the day, and to remind people who do not feel affected that they are, in fact, implicated in the struggle for women’s rights, no matter their gender. 

If you felt inconvenienced by the day, then you didn’t miss the point – it means the protest was working. 

As I read editorials, watch leaders now and in the past, specifically from women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement, and far more, I am inspired and motivated to continue the fight for equality.

Those voices mattered then, still do, and I realize that even these few words I have to say might be found important to a young woman journalist flipping through News of Orange County archives years from now.

So maybe you were frustrated about the “Day Without a Woman,” but I urge you to consider the fact that if I, a woman, can say these words, someone probably took a day or two off work to make some change.