Building upon coverage from the Women’s March in January, several fashion publications are prioritizing International Women’s Day today by featuring stories focused on the global event. Others are taking it one step further, by not showing up to work at all.
The organizers behind the Women’s March — led by Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour — encouraged women around the world to stay home from work in support of “A Day Without a Woman.” The effort was intended to make a statement about the economic value of women in society, and shed light on existing inequalities around wages and gender discrimination. In response, New York Magazine’s The Cut instructed its staff to stay home and announced it would not publish content on its site today. In turn, all regularly scheduled articles, including Heather Havrilesky’s popular weekly advice column “Ask Polly,” will instead run tomorrow.
The decision was made after a staff-wide discussion about the benefits of protesting, said Stella Bugbee, editorial director of The Cut, while waiting for the start of the 12 p.m. women’s protest at Washington Square Park in Manhattan. Though The Cut will not be publishing, International Women’s Day coverage will be hosted on The Intelligencer, a New York Magazine sister site.
From our editors: You may have noticed that the Cut is not publishing anything today. That’s because, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re on strike. Yes, STRIKE. No news. No fashion. 🔴 The Cut staff had many conversations before deciding to strike: Was this the right moment? Would it distract from other injustices currently being pushed by the administration (travel ban, take two)? Would it be inclusive? Would it be effective? What about all the women who can’t strike because their jobs and incomes and child-care situations are too tenuous? The Cut can’t possibly speak to or for every single American woman, but we decided to strike today to show solidarity with the women around the world who are standing up for equal pay and equal opportunity, reproductive freedom, an end to sexual assaults, an end to bigotry of all kinds, and policies that support our families like parental leave, health care, and child care. You can read more at the link in our bio. #internationalwomensday
One of the issues The Cut staff grappled with in deciding to strike — which was detailed in an editor’s letter shared with readers — was determining if participating would distract from other salient issues afflicting the nation, like anti-immigration policies. Another concern was the women who aren’t able to protest for a myriad of reasons, including financial inability and childcare needs. Bugbee said that, in the end, her staff decided to participate in solidarity of all women and to make their voices heard for those that couldn’t.
“Striking is speaking up for those people, ultimately,” Bugbee said. “By us normalizing this behavior, we make it easier for people to strike next time and more confident that they can act on their beliefs. If media organizations support activities like this, it supports powerful messages. Just because somebody can’t strike, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strike. We’re striking for people who can’t.”
While The Cut is staying mum, Refinery29 said it feels strongly that it needs to provide coverage around the event for its readers. Though employees were given the option to strike, the office is open today, and the staff will be working on coverage of International Women’s Day. In addition to its editorial content, Refinery29 is also holding an event on Wednesday night in partnership with Keds to support She Should Run, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that supports women in politics.
“As a media company that speaks to millions of women everyday, we believe the most powerful role we can play in International Women’s Day and A Day Without a Woman is to amplify the urgent messages and values behind both initiatives through our platform and content,” said Piera Gelardi, Refinery29’s co-founder and executive creative director. “We’re producing a broad mix of content across all platforms and channels in an effort to provide every woman the resources and knowledge they need to claim their power and participate, should they choose to do so.”
Over at Condé Nast, publications like Glamour, Allure and Teen Vogue took to social media to share images in support of International Women’s Day and A Day Without a Woman. While none of them took quite as drastic of a measure as The Cut (all of them are still publishing content today), they did permit several individual employees to stay home as part of the strike. Many of them were able to use allotted volunteer hours and personal time as part of Conde Nast’s HR policy, according to Joesph Libonati, vice president of corporate communications at Condé Nast.
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Though not a traditional women’s publication, tech magazine Wired made the background of its website red in support of the movement, and Glamour put its title in a red silhouette online, in addition to featuring top stories about A Day Without a Woman. The Women’s March organizers encouraged that those who are unable to strike today to wear red in support of the movement.
“These gestures are largely symbolic, but symbolism really matters,” Bugbee said. “It just helps destigmatize women speaking up.”