House Democratic women to stage walkout for ‘Day Without a Woman’ strike

House Democratic women plan to stage a symbolic walkout from the House floor Wednesday afternoon in a show of solidarity with the “Day Without a Woman” strike.

Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelMelania Trump wears white pantsuit to State of the Union Democrats planning protests for Trump’s first State of the Union Dems to invite sexual assault survivors as guests to Trump's State of the Union: report MORE (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said that female lawmakers expect to deliver speeches on the House floor in support of the strike, then walk out shortly after the chamber convenes at noon. They also plan to wear red, as suggested by the strike’s organizers.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I think it’s important women in Congress show our solidarity,” Frankel told The Hill in an interview Tuesday.

Frankel and fellow Democratic Reps. Katherine Clark (Mass.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Brenda Lawrence (Mich.) discussed possibly abstaining from House votes to make a point on the “Day Without a Woman,” but decided against it.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a spending bill for the Defense Department that is expected to pass with bipartisan support.

“We considered a lot of different options, but our feeling is that there is so much mischief going on in this Congress that we cannot turn our backs,” Frankel said. “We think it would actually be sort of the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Wednesday’s walkout comes after Frankel organized fellow Democratic women to wear white — the official color of the women's suffrage movement — to President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last week. 

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE, known to make symbolic statements with her clothing choices, similarly wore a white pantsuit to Trump’s inauguration.

Frankel said she’s been trying to elevate the profile of the Democratic Women’s Working Group to show lawmakers are responding to the anxiety among Democrats over the Trump administration.

Her district includes Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach estate where he has so far spent nearly a quarter of his presidency.

“I cannot walk down any place in my town without people stopping me with severe anxiety about President Trump,” Frankel said. “There is so much anxiety and so much energy. Constituents want to know that they have representatives who are fighting back for them.”

Wednesday's protest, she said, is a way there can be "peaceful outlets for their anxiety until we get to another election."

The “Day Without a Woman” is being organized by the same group behind the anti-Trump Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump's inauguration. At least an estimated 3 million people attended affiliated marches in cities across the U.S.

Organizers for the “Day Without a Woman” strike have suggested participants take the day off from work, wear red and only spend money at businesses owned by women or minorities. 

Wednesday’s protest has been gaining steam nationally. All schools in the Alexandria, Va., city school district near Washington, D.C., will be closed due to a limited number of staffers — more than 300 had requested the day off. 

Schools in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, N.C., will also be closed because of absences from staff, which is 75 percent female

A similar protest took place on Feb. 16 for "A Day Without Immigrants," which led many Washington-area restaurants to close for the day in solidarity with immigrants.