'A Day Without a Woman': Anti-Donald Trump protest forces two US districts to cancel school

25,000 pupils will have day off school on International Women's Day as hundreds of teachers walk out

Matt Broomfield
Tuesday 07 March 2017 17:20
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The protest is being organised by the team behind the Women's March which brought 600,000 female demonstrators to Washington DC
The protest is being organised by the team behind the Women's March which brought 600,000 female demonstrators to Washington DC

Thousands of pupils will get a day off, because their teachers are joining the "Day Without A Woman" protest against Donald Trump and refusing to work on International Women's Day, forcing two US districts to close all their schools.

With so many female staff members refusing to work, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina and Alexandria Public Schools in Northern Virginia have told around 25,000 pupils not to attend.

The teachers will join women across America in drawing attention to "the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socioeconomic system, while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity," according to a statement by the campaigners who are organising the demonstration.

After a staff survey indicated a "significant" number of absences in all of its schools, a statement on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro website said they will close all of them.

"Women across the nation, as well as men, will be participating in a one-day demonstration to recognise the value of women," it said. "As part of this demonstration, many will be staying home from work."

It added that the district "values and supports its female employees", but made it clear that "the decision to close schools is not a political statement".

It said: "It is entirely about the safety of students and the district’s inability to operate with a high number of staff absences."

A similar statement from the Alexandria district noted that "more than 300 staff members have requested leave."

Between them, the two school districts enrol over 25,000 pupils.

Both districts are in affluent Eastern seaboard regions that did not vote for Mr Trump in the presidential election.

North Carolina did opt for Mr Trump, but the county incorporating the university town of Chapel Hill voted 75 per cent in favour of his rival, Hillary Clinton.

Alexandria, which is located five miles downstream from Washington DC on the banks of the Potomac River, also returned a 75 per cent show of support for the defeated Democrat.

The Day Without a Woman has been called for International Women's Day by the organisers behind the Women's March which followed Donald Trump's inauguration as President.

The protest in the US capital spearheaded a massive show of resistance to Mr Trump, with as many as 4.6 million demonstrators taking to the streets across the country.

The one-day "strike" has been criticised in some quarters, for focusing on privileged women able to opt out of a day's labour: Public school employees are among those with the job security to apply for statutory leave, enabling these school districts to make the call to close ahead of time.

Across the US, more than three-quarters of teachers are women.

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