On Jan. 21, over a million people took part in the Women’s March around the world, with about half of this crowd concentrating in D.C.
The organizers of this demonstration, spurred on by the large numbers, planned another event, A Day without a Woman, to take place on March 8, International Women’s Day.
USF student Hafsa Quraishi flew to the capital for the Women’s March that morning, and by the time she left that night, was inspired to make her own contribution to the cause when she got back to Tampa. Through an event page posted on Facebook, Quraishi is trying to spread awareness about A Day without a Woman in hopes that USF students take part.
A Day without a Woman is meant to disrupt the general public’s daily life, but by the absence of women instead of their presence, unlike the Women’s March six weeks ago. The organizers are asking for women, and anyone else who wishes to take part, to not show up to work or school.
Another request is that they also don’t spend any money shopping, unless it’s at a local, small or minority-owned business. The hashtag #GrabYourWallet is being used to identify companies that they do not wish to support throughout the entire year.
The sophomore majoring in mass communications didn’t know where to start in terms of promoting the national protest. She decided an event page on social media was the best thing to do after contacting the Women’s March College Team on Sunday for ideas.
“I believe that students don’t realize how much this current administration affects us,” Quraishi said. “I feel like we think that we’re in our own bubble in our campuses and we’re not really active with what’s going on in the world.”
She says that this day is not only for women, as immigrants, people of color, the LGBT community and victims of sexual assault have all been marginalized by the current government.
“I wanted to put an emphasis on that and show them how much we impact the school,” Quraishi said. “What I just wanted to show the USF administration as well, but mostly the current administration of the U.S., is that without us this nation wouldn’t exist.”
For those who cannot take this time off from work, the Women’s March organization invites them to wear red in order to show support of the cause.
Quraishi stated that she knows not every student can take this time off from classes, as midterms are in full swing, but she knows of classmates who are only attending classes with tests.
For those students who wish to take part, she has posted to the Facebook event an absence letter, written by the organizers of the Women’s March explaining the significance of the day to professors, which she has personally used. She hopes that others will too.
“(This day) means to me that I can be part of something bigger,” Quraishi said. “I can maybe try to make a difference, and change someone’s mind and show them that this is why we’re here.”