A Day Without A (nonprofit) Woman

A Day Without a Woman logo74% of the nonprofit workforce is comprised of female identified workers, so if there are issues that affect women, you can bet they affect our sector. What would happen if 74% of your staff didn’t report to work? Next Wednesday March 8th is A Day Without A Woman, an effort organized by the Women’s March on Washington.

“The goal is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face.  We play an indispensable role in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid & unpaid, seen & unseen labor.”

(In fact if you do nothing else to observe this day, please read and share this important and inspiring FAQ)

In light of the current political landscape, we now identify as dissidents. We are all called upon to act together now against this anti-woman, anti-trans, and anti-person government.  

“The leadership of the federal government has declared itself actively hostile to many charities’ missions and values. Nonprofits must not dance around this issue. Communications with supporters should openly acknowledge this new reality. Many people and organizations, including Next in Nonprofits, are now dissidents.”

So in light of this important intersection, let’s talk about it:

  1. Let’s talk about power. Nonprofits have power in the business community, but we are not particularly good about harnessing and organizing that power (often due to capacity and resource issues). Nonprofits comprise more than 10 % of Minnesota’s economy, so if even a fraction of workers honor A Day Without A Woman, we would have a considerable impact to herald a message and demonstrate our economic power.
  2. Each nonprofit’s work is important. Our collective work is more important. Charities often see themselves as irreplaceable and any disruption would be irresponsible. In some cases, this is true (Tubman, for example). Most often, we undercut our own message by refusing to illustrate just how important we are. This is what the concept of ‘strike” is about, and we must use every tool.  Most of our mission work is now intersectional. If we don’t  show up (by not showing up) we undercut our shared power. We must work together even (and especially) when this is uncomfortable.
  3. Recognize and use your privilege. Organizations for whom A Day Without A Woman is less of a hardship (such as Next in Nonprofits) have a special responsibility to act. We need a collective voice, so whenever possible we should take action without excuses for minor hardship. We recognize that there are many people for whom it is not safe to engage in this way. We see you. We honor your reality, and we have your back. That’s how this works.

In my lifetime, I have never felt more urgency about my identity and power as a woman, as I do right now (And yes, this is a significant statement of my own privilege as a white educated middle class woman). This moment in our history is absolutely both personal and professional. This is about supporting women in all spheres of influence, and TAKING ACTION TOGETHER. I hope you will join me in whatever your form of resistance looks like.

– Shannon Forney, Next in Nonprofits