‘We will not go back to the 1950s’: Local protestors defend women’s rights at rally


Deborah Bouton, dressed as Lady Liberty, attends the “A Day Without a Woman” rally Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in the Carbondale Town Square Pavilion. She said holding the globe upside down is metaphor for the country. “The globe is 80 percent water,” she said. “And when a diver is in distress, the boat will fly the flag upside down.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Olivia Spiers

Sana Haque said she expected to see more opportunities for working women when she moved to the United States to pursue her undergraduate degree.

“It’s like we’re going backwards here,” said the doctoral candidate from Pakistan studying workforce education. “I see little difference here than in my country.”

Two years ago Haque worked at a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., where she said she was paid 60 percent less than her male co-workers. In America, Haque said the women in her family have faced just as many obstacles as they would in Pakistan because they are “women of color.”


“Taking away women’s rights is a subtle thing because it’s been done for so long,” she said. “We’re looking to change that today.”

Haque and 50 others participated in the Carbondale women’s rally and picket line Wednesday afternoon, which was coordinated with “A Day Without a Woman” strike. The demonstration was organized in coordination with women’s advocacy groups around the world in recognition of International Women’s Day.

Judy Simpson, of Carbondale, holds a doll and sign while listening to a speaker at the “A Day Without a Woman” rally Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in the Carbondale Town Square Pavilion. “It’s a voodoo doll of you know who,” she said. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Participants were instructed to wear red in solidarity. Student owners of Saluki Dawgs wore red shirts and hats while selling hot dogs to the protestors at the Town Square Pavilion as local bands performed and children played under the gazebo.

“Our mission is to help the community however we can,” said Thomas Becker, co-owner of the hot dog stand. “That’s why we’re out here wearing red.”

Major cities like Chicago, New York, Boston and Los Angeles saw large demonstrations in observance of the day of recognition. The local events were organized to cater to working women who were unable to take the day off, said coordinator Liz Hunter.

Kya, 2, poses for a photo with a sign Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at the “Day Without a Woman” rally in the Carbondale Town Square Pavilion. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

“It’s important to see the community grow,” Hunter said. “An inclusive environment for everyone is essential.”

Hunter and 20 other community members collaborated in organizing the rally. She said the group is planning to hold events according to the Women’s March 10 Actions in 100 Days events, which will be announced every 10 days to create awareness of women’s right issues.


Carbondale resident Mary Rajcok said she remembers women not being treated fairly in the workplace or at home during her childhood.

Linden Reid, of Carbondale, writes on a poster at the “A Day Without a Woman” rally Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at the Carbondale Town Square Pavilion. Reid, an employee of the university, said she wanted to give back and support the Women’s Center because it had been a helpful resource to her. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

“We will not go back to the 1950s,” she said. “Events like these stop that from happening.”

Rajcok said even though drivers honked at her and told her to “leave the kids at home,” she said she didn’t regret taking her 4-year-old grandson to the women’s picket line.

“If it wasn’t for a woman, he wouldn’t be here,” Rajcok said. “He should know what’s going on.”

Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

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