The upcoming A Day Without a Woman protest has already started to have an impact. The Alexandria City Public Schools system in Virginia announced Monday it was canceling classes Wednesday at its schools due to the protest, according to a statement on its website. The school division, located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has more than 15,000 students.
"It has come to our attention that as of today, more than 300 staff members have requested leave this Wednesday, March 8 ... Consequently, ACPS has decided to close schools for students for the day," read Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley's statement explaining Wednesday would be a teacher workday. "This is not a decision that was made lightly."
A Day Without a Woman, timed to coincide with International Women's Day, was a continuation of the Jan. 21 women's marches that mobilized more than 2.6 million people to protest against President Donald Trump and his stances. The organizers of Wednesday's demonstration suggested three ways for activists to get involved: take the day off from work, avoid most shopping or wear red in solidarity.
"We join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity," the event planners wrote online.
Alexandria wasn't the first district to close its schools Wednesday as a result of the planned demonstration. A preschool in Brooklyn, New York has decided to cancel classes, according to the Huffington Post. North Carolina's Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system, which has about 12,000 students, has also declared it a teacher workday.
"While Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools values and supports its female employees, the decision to close schools is not a political statement," Superintendent Jim Causby wrote in a blog post. "It is entirely about the safety of students and the district’s inability to operate with a high number of staff absences."
These closings and others could indicate Wednesday's protest will hit schools particularly hard.
About 76 percent of public school teachers are female, according to 2011-2012 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Another study, this one from the National Education Association in 2009, found that about 785,000 teachers in elementary and secondary schools were male. About 2.4 million were females.