Toward a feminist future

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day which is a much bigger deal in every country that isn’t the United States. I only learned about it as an adult at a company with offices all around the world. It’s not really surprising that a day created by socialists is ignored here. This year in the United States, a “women’s strike” or “a day without women” is being organized for the same day. I guess we can thank one of the more openly misogynist political campaigns and administrations for all the newly activated feminist agitation.

I feel weird about a strike, even in solidarity. I like my job. I’m at no risk of losing my job (nor have I been for a long time). I’m appreciated at work. I’m paid well. I believe the men who run my company try to be aware of the contributions of women, both in our workplace and elsewhere in society. It seems hollow for me to not be at work for the day as my absence won’t teach much of anything. Working in tech, often it feels like my presence in a room is an uncomfortable statement. Plus we have a lot to do at work and I want to work on it.

Instead, I’m giving a day’s salary to Living Goods. In the words of the Life You Can Save, Living Goods “employs and trains local people — the majority of whom are women — to sell goods and life-saving medical supplies at competitive prices. Living Goods provides businesswomen and saleswomen with employment and entrepreneurial skills while improving health outcomes in their communities.” They even did a randomized control trial studying the outcomes of their model and it saves children’s lives. Sounds about right to me.

I’m doing pretty well in life. I attribute a lot of that to a lot of luck. Our household normally gives money to international aid organizations because luck isn’t distributed uniformly. Women everywhere, but especially in less wealthy countries, do most or all of the work needed to maintain households and raise children with less social or political power and less wealth. A day’s salary for our family is not really a lot, but that’s a lot of luck to pass on to another.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking tomorrow off, consider giving some money to an organization working to improve the lives of women. You’ve got a lot of choices because there’s a lot of work to do.

“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie