Hundreds gather at Capitol for ‘Day Without Women’ event

Students from UW, local high schools walk out to p

About 700 marchers walked to the Capitol Wednesday afternoon to rally for women’s rights.

The rally was connected to International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated throughout the world Wednesday.

“Women are under valued and under appreciated. Striking is a way to show our absence and make it obvious that we are important and valuable, and we deserve to be listened to,” said Sarah Smith, one of the organizers.

Students from high schools across Dane County walked out of class around 11 a.m. as part of the protest.

“If we believe in women’s equality, and if we want to advance that goal in our world, we must raise our girls to speak up and be active in the processes of change,” said Sarah Keyeski, of Thrive United, one of the groups that organized the protest.

Hundreds gather at Capitol for ‘Day Without Women’ event

Smith organized bringing Wisconsinites to the Women’s March on Washington in January. She said they want to go beyond marching and promote action. Smith is calling for the reinstatement of Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act and the passage of the Healthy Babies, Working Mothers Act, which she says would require employers to provide space for breastfeeding mothers.

Protesters were asked to wear red as part of the rally. Organizers were hoping that a lunch-hour walkout would be feasible for those who are unable to leave their job for the entire day.

“The amount of work that we are doing is the same and I think that, that is unfair. And I think until that gets changed, people aren’t going to view women as equal as the men,” said Anna Wilde, a senior at Cedarburg High School.

Following the rally, women attending were encouraged to go to the Capitol and lobby their state lawmakers on women’s issues.

Police said there were no issues or arrests.

Hundreds gather at Capitol for ‘Day Without Women’ event