On Monday, June 24, women’s rights activists across the nation will join forces to protest gender inequality. Portland Women's Strike organizers are calling for a show of solidarity.

At noon Monday, gender rights activists and reproductive rights advocates will line the Burnside Bridge adorned in red. 

Local organizers encourage supporters to abstain from work or school, if possible, and to refrain from injecting money into the economy on that day, unless it is to support a female-owned business. They also encourage supporters to promote the strike on social media in the days leading up to it with the hashtags #WomensStrikePortland and #WomensStrike2024.

The Women’s Strike can be traced back to October 24, 1975, when Icelandic women went on strike to demonstrate the necessity and importance of women in society. Women boycotted jobs, schools, housework and childcare to protest their undervalued and uncompensated labor – and chaos ensued. Schools, press houses, banks and airlines shut down or operated at limited capacity. Grocers allegedly sold out of sausages because they were one of the few easy meals that fathers knew how to make for their hungry children without the help of their wives.

The 1975 strike, also known as Women’s Day Off, succeeded in reducing gender inequality in Iceland – the first Gender Equality Act was passed the following year. The strike has since inspired other countries to protest gender-related issues in a similar manner. 

June 24 is a significant date in the world of gender inequality, particularly in the United States. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v Wade decriminalized abortion nationwide, declaring it a constitutional right. Forty nine years later, on June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled that decision. 

A press release issued from Women’s Strike Portland describes June 24 and the overruling of Roe v Wade as a “significant blow to women’s reproductive freedom and healthcare,” stating their goal is to “stand united in a peaceful visibility rally for human rights.”

Oregon is one of 25 states where abortion remains accessible or mostly accessible, according to Planned Parenthood. As of June 2024, 12 states are enforcing a total ban on abortion and seven states are enforcing laws that restrict abortion to varying extents. 

Amy Hamdan, a volunteer for Women’s Strike Portland, outlined the need to continue advocating for gender equality.“Women are still fighting,” she says. “Women are still fighting to stop gender-based violence. Women are still fighting for basic equality. Women are still fighting for freedom over their own bodies — including gender-affirming healthcare. The Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified and it’s been over 50 years.

“The goal of our Women’s Strike is to reinforce the message that all women, around the world, deserve these basic human rights,” Hamdan says. “We want everyone to wear red on that day in solidarity with the movement. If you can’t attend the visibility rally, we are asking women not to go to work, or school. But if they must, to wear red.”