WE will hold the UK's first nationwide ‘Women’s Day Off’ in 2018
Published 7 February 2017
The Women’s Equality Party is organising a nationwide women’s day off, to be held in 2018 to coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act.
The original Women’s Day Off was held in Iceland in 1975: women took the day off from paid and unpaid work in order to demonstrate the value of their labour and tackle national attitudes to gender equality. The effect was immediate: sexist attitudes became unacceptable overnight, and Iceland now boasts a proud record of pushing attitudinal and policy change, and boosting female representation.
Co-founder Catherine Mayer makes the call in her new book Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World!, to be published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, in the UK and Commonwealth on International Women’s Day, 8 March, followed by Canada in May and the USA in September.
“Canvassing for the Women’s Equality Party ahead of our first elections in May 2016, I realised people had no idea how a gender-equal society would look — because there is no such society anywhere in the world,” she says. “At the end of Attack of the Fifty Foot Women I take readers on a tour of a gender-equal world I call Equalia. My conclusions are based on global research, including a trip to Iceland, a country which has gone further than any other towards reaching the goal of gender equality - helped enormously by a single day in 1975 when ninety per cent of Icelandic women downed tools. I was inspired, and have made the call for a similar Women’s Day Off central to my new book.
“The Women’s Equality Party, of which I am a proud co-founder, is organising the UK’s first Women’s Day Off, to be held next year. WE held our first meetings with other organisations last year and enthusiasm for the idea is phenomenal. WE believe this will have the same seismic effect on attitudes to gender equality in this country, and will be announcing more detailed plans soon.”
Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, added: “I was proud to march alongside tens of thousands of people in London last month, who all saw the need for urgent change in attitudes towards gender equality. Our Women’s Day Off in 2018 will show the value of women’s economic contributions, as well as underline the crucial role women play in holding together families, communities and industries. It is only when this is truly valued that women will be judged equally alongside men. Our day will be an historic moment. It will change British culture for good.”