Looks like many people will be painting the town red tomorrow for International Women’s Day. And more than a few might not show up for work.
That’s because the U.S. organizers of the hugely successful Women’s March have called upon women in more than 50 different countries to participate in “A Day Without a Woman”—a.k.a. the International Women’s Strike—by ditching their place of work, if they can, in favour of organized events that draw attention to the rights of women and gender-oppressed people.
“March 8 will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial and sexual violence, and imperial wars abroad,” reads a statement from the organizers.
Because not everyone can take the day off work, the organizers have also suggested another clever way to show your support: wear red.
Symbolically red, the colour of blood, has long been associated with courage, passion, anger, love and sacrifice. Historically, it’s been the colour of choice across countries to symbolize triumph and celebration.
“I’m wearing red as a symbol of power and solidarity,” says Gillian Sonin, the national press manager for the Canadian Women’s March and member of the Canadian Sister March Coalition. “Wearing red tomorrow is a way to show support for the women within Canada who face violence, who don’t have wage parity, whose lives are made more difficult and more dangerous because of who they are.”
Sonin already knows the red shirt and lipstick she’ll wear tomorrow as well as the events she’ll attend in Montreal planned by local organizers. “The issues women face do not go away with one march,” she says, “They require constant action and vigilance.” Sonin stresses the importance of grassroots organizations because this movement, while global, relies on the power of local support.
And it’s not just women who are being encouraged to wear red. Local dating app Happn teamed up with the Mettez du Rouge (“wear red”) campaign and is asking its male users in Canada, the U.S. and France to pucker up and wear red lipstick to show their support. Tomorrow photoshoots and flash mob events are scheduled in Montreal, New York and Paris, with makeup artists and photographers on hand to take pictures of men rocking their rouge. If you don’t have the app, you can still use #MettezDuRouge to share a selfie in solidarity.
— mettezdurouge (@mettezdurouge) January 26, 2017
The campaign is more than just a gimmick. In addition to its call for a bold lippie, the app also shares startling statistics about the percentage of women who have experienced sexual violence and assault.
To show the impact women have on society, Women’s March organizers are also asking women to only shop local and support women and minority-owned businesses on March 8. Judging by the more than 120,000 people who took part in the 35 sister marches in Canada on January 21, hopefully tomorrow’s strike and bold fashion statement will have enough people seeing red to finally take action.
“Why I’m Marching:” 32 Women on the Women’s March
What It’s Really Like to Be a Women’s March Organizer
#WomensMarch Poster Woman Munira Ahmed Tells us What It’s Like to be the Face of the Resistance
You Marched. Now What? The Next Step for Canadian Women