LOS ANGELES — On International Women’s Day March 8, four members of the county Board of Supervisors, the county’s chief executive officer and lead attorney and several other female county employees got up and walked out of the weekly meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
It was a show of solidarity as women around the world rallied and protested around the theme “A Day Without a Woman.”
“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 four 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, #adaywithoutwomen and #internationalwomensday.
Over at City Hall, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez — the council’s only female out of 14 current members — led a demonstration during the council meeting in which more than 100 female city employees filed into the council chambers one by one and introduced themselves, along with their job title.
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.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke in support of the women before the demonstration.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary but often unacknowledged contributions that women have made throughout history,” Garcetti said. “The day is also a chance to recommit ourselves to the goal of gender equity. One of my top priorities is making sure that every Angeleno has a shot at realizing their dreams — and lifting up women and girls is critical to that work.”
A rally for International Women’s Day also began across the street from City Hall at Grand Park at noon. Martinez encouraged all the women in attendance to go to the rally.
Hundreds of women filed into the park, many holding up signs showing support for various issues, including equal pay and opposition to President Donald Trump, who was caught on tape before his election bragging about sexually assaulting women in a video from 2005.
Trump’s comments and some of his policies — including support for cutting funding to Planned Parenthood — sparked millions to take to the streets around the country on Jan. 21 for the “Women’s March.”
It was just important to make a stance,” said Audrey McNight, who was taking the day off from her advertising job. “I don’t normally protest, but I just felt like this is the time and I’m so upset and angry about our so-called president and the cabinet and wanted to make it clear that his choices are not necessarily our choices.
McNight was holding a sign that said, “We need a leader, not a tweeter.”
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 on International Women’s Day in what they dubbed “A Day Without A Woman.” Those who couldn’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.