Female teachers who chose to participate in the Women's Strike are not hurting anybody, and their decision to do so should be an occasion for praise, not criticism.
On March 8, women across the United States participated in "A Day Without a Woman," a protest created by the organizers of the Women's March on Washington. The protest encouraged women to minimize their participation in society in several ways, namely by taking a day off work. The purpose of this strike, according to the protest's website, was to highlight the importance of women in society with the goal of achieving equality for women in all areas of life.
While all women had something to gain from participating in the Women's Strike, the event held particular importance for those who work in education. For example, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, female educators are not paid as much as their male counterparts. This is particularly troubling considering the fact that women make up the majority of teachers from the elementary to secondary level.
The Women's Strike was a way for teachers to express their discontent regarding these statistics and to take concrete action. Standing up for equality in any form is admirable, and these teachers should be lauded rather than shamed for this decision.
As expected, teachers' participation in the strike had far-reaching repercussions. According to CNN, many school districts throughout the country closed schools for the day in anticipation -- or even in outright support -- of female teachers' participation in the event. These decisions were met with considerable backlash from many parents throughout the country, who argued that the teachers who chose to participate in the event had harmed their students by not coming to school.
This notion that teachers' participation in this event was wrong or harmful in any way is completely ridiculous. Rather than harming students, teachers who chose to participate in the strike have in fact aided in teaching their students a valuable lesson: that men and women are equal.
"I think it is important for everyone to realize that teachers are a tremendously dedicated group of people and that we do teach our children to make important decisions," Kim Mozzarella, a teacher from Washington, D.C., told WTTG. "By being here, we are actually modeling that."
Mozzarella's statement is indeed true and highlights the importance of teachers' behaviors to students. Teachers' academic lessons are not the sole source of the impact that they make on students' lives. Their behaviors do not exist in a vacuum; students learn from teachers' actions as much as they learn from their school lessons. By participating in the Women's Strike, educators are showing their students that gender equality is important and is something worth striving for.