House Democratic Women Are Staging a Walkout for ‘Day Without a Woman ‘

Mar 08, 2017

Democratic congresswomen are staging a walkout Wednesday in support of "A Day Without a Woman."

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Women's Working Group, said in a statement that female lawmakers will leave shortly after they deliver speeches on the House floor in support of A Day Without A Woman. They're also wearing red, which is the official color of the strike.

Earlier this month, Democratic congresswomen wore white to “stand in solidarity with the women of our nation." Photo courtesy of the office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel 

"I join millions of women in recognizing the important economic power of women in the United States and around the globe. Where possible, we stay away from normal duties and mainstream commerce to call attention to the inequities that women and gender nonconforming people continue to face," she said in a statement.

The movement, which coincides with International Women's Day, seeks to show the vital role women play in both the U.S. and global economy. It also also aims to bring attention to the lower wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, and job insecurity that women often face. Women are encouraged to take off from paid or unpaid work, only shop at women or minority owned businesses, and wear red in solidarity.

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It appears that the Congresswomen will return to the House after the walkout to vote on a spending bill for the Defense Department. Frankel told the The Hill that she, along with other representatives such as Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), had initially discussed abstaining from House votes to make point. But with the "mischief" going on in Congress, Frankel told the publication that abstaining would "actually be sort of the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish." The bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support.

"In Congress, Democrats will resist efforts to take us back from hard earned gains. That means standing strong against Republican unrelenting attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, and block access to full reproductive care," she said, according to a press release. " In the words of the Women's March, today we raise our voices to say that ‘women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.’”

This show of solidarity comes after Frankel and other Democratic women in the White House wore white during President Donald Trump's first major Congressional address. White was chosen because it is the historical color of the suffragette movement, but also because it "shows we don’t want to go back, we want to go forward [with women's rights]," Frankel told Fortune at the time.

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