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"Day Without A Woman" Draws Attention From California Lawmakers

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A rally at the California state Capitol on International Women’s Day and the “Day Without A Woman” drew a couple hundred people – and more than a dozen Democratic elected officials.

Of all the stump speeches and chants during the hour-long rally, it was the personal anecdotes that stood out.

“I went to the (high school) counselor and said I would like to go to college,“ recalled Democratic Asm. Blanca Rubio, a Mexican immigrant who attended high school in Los Angeles. “And my college counselor said, ‘Honey, you’re just gonna get married and have children. Go into Home Ec,’“ – short for Home Economics.

The crowd booed.

“So my goal,“ Rubio went on, turning the boos to cheers, “is that I will return to that high school and do the commencement speech, and tell them that my office is in this big white building!”

Carol Miranda, a public employee who works in downtown Sacramento, came by on her lunch break.

“We all need to be out here every day,“ Miranda says, “because we’re being attacked in the White House, every single day. Trump doesn’t care about us.”

The crowd appeared to be as one-sided as the speakers – all of whom were Democrats.

“I think it should be called, ‘Day Without a Privileged Woman,’” says Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, who didn’t attend the rally even though she’s part of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, which organized the event.

Melendez says only women who can afford child care and to take time off work could show up. Besides, she says, there are more productive ways for women to address inequality.

“Nobody’s going to pay attention to that,“ Melendez says, referring to what she described as “marching and shouting.“

“That’s one news cycle, and it’s gone. If you really want to do something effective and long-lasting, women have got to stop this kind of behavior and start acting a little more professional about it,” she added.

Instead of walking away from a perceived inequality, Melendez says, women should sit down at the table and get what they’re worth.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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