Activists gathered at San Francisco City Hall as the rally for “A Day Without Woman” kicked off on Wednesday. Women and male allies came to stand up and show solidarity with women of all backgrounds.
A large group of women took the day off from work to participate and demand equal pay, fight for reproductive rights, and put an end to gender discrimination. The crowd gathered at Civic Center Plaza an hour before the rally began.
The Women’s March of San Francisco, which facilitated the January Women’s March in D.C., organized the rally at City Hall and asked women, regardless if they could take the day off or not, to wear red in solidarity.
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors President London Breed was among many female speakers that attended the rally.
“What’s so amazing about you all being here today is that you’re saying to the whole world that we are together,” Breed said to the crowd. “We stand strong, we stand proud, we will protect a woman’s right to choose, we will protect reproductive health and everything that we stand for here in San Francisco.”
Organizers and advocates had one objective for the rally: to show the world how crucial women are to the socio-economic system, and that women are demanding acknowledgment and respect.
“As women, we don’t just talk about what we’re going to do, we roll up our sleeves, and we get it done,” Breed said.
Ashlee Flores, 30, attended the event in hopes of keeping up the momentum.
“I’m here to strike and do what I can to raise the conversation and demonstrate how important women are in society and communities,” Flores said. “Creating a day for women to come together and sort of highlight those issues, I think, is important.”
Flores believes anybody can be a feminist, and those who believe in equal rights between men and women should attend other events supporting women like Wednesday’s rally.
Jessica Zou, 30, took the day off from her ad agency job to participate in the gathering at City Hall.
“We talk about women’s march and that was on a weekend,” Zou said. “Having this during the workweek I think is impactful.”
Zou believes that frequent and consistent events like this are the key to seeing changes in policy.
“I think sustaining events like this, and the actions we take in between them, is the answer to making a greater lasting change in society,” Zou said.
SF District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer also spoke at the rally and made it clear that women’s rights should not still be a debate.
“I speak to the women here and I speak to our male allies; this country is dominated by a dominant culture of white males and we can see the power that they are wielding now,” Fewer said. “The idea that we have to fight for our reproductive rights again, and again is just insulting.”
“So I want to say to all women, do not let them separate us, do not let them divide us around race, class, and whether we are born with female anatomy or not, we are women.”
The speakers and activists stressed that now is more important than ever to come out and celebrate women and that women need to stay united and continue their fight.
“We are working together, we are working smarter, we are working stronger, we know there are bigger fish to fry in Washington D.C.,” Breed said.