Demonstrations in recognition of International Women’s Day were led by elected leaders at both the Los Angeles City Council meeting and the County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.
Four of five members of the Board of Supervisors, the county’s chief executive officer, its lead attorney and several other women walked out at the start of today’s board hearing to show solidarity with women rallying and protesting on International Women’s Day.
“A lonely man am I,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, urging audience members to applaud the move. “They’re all women, they run the show.”
His colleagues and the other women who support them returned a few moments later.
“The Board of Supervisors wouldn’t get much done without women!” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a tweet that showed the empty seats with the hashtags #OneIsTheLoneliestNumber and #adaywithoutwomen and #internationalwomensday.
Over at City Hall, Councilwoman Nury Martinez—the council’s only female out of 14 current members—led a demonstration during the council meeting in which over 100 female city employees filed into the council chambers and introduced themselves, along with their job title, one by one.
Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke in support of the women before the demonstration. The process of the introductions took over a half hour, and included Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero. Many of the women wore red.
“Today we wear red to represent unity with the women’s movement. It represents pioneering spirit, leadership, ambition and determination,” Martinez said. “Not since the 1970s has gender equality and feminism been so prominent in the national discourse.”
A rally for International Women’s Day was also scheduled to be held outside City Hall at noon. Martinez encouraged all the women in attendance to go to the rally.
International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, commemorates the movement for women’s rights.
Organizers of the January Women’s March called on women to strike and take to the streets in what they have dubbed “A Day Without A Woman.” Those who can’t afford a day away from work were urged to support the action by wearing red and refraining from shopping other than at small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
“Women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity,” organizers said on www.womensmarch.com.
Critics charged organizers with being tone-deaf to the realities of low- income women and their work schedules.
“Make no mistake, March 8 will mostly be a day without women who can afford to skip work and shuffle childcare and household duties to someone else,” wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum.