P.E.I. woman strikes to mark International Women's Day

A P.E.I. woman closed her business Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day. Ellen Jones joined some women around the world who took part in the “A Day Without a Woman” campaign, which was organized by the people behind the Women’s March on Washington.

Ellen Jones closed her business as part of the 'A Day Without a Woman' campaign

Ellen Jones closed her business as part of the "A Day Without a Woman" campaign. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

A P.E.I. woman closed her business Wednesday to mark International Women's Day. Ellen Jones joined some women around the world who took part in the "A Day Without a Woman" campaign, which was organized by the people behind the Women's March on Washington.

Jones teaches horseback riding lessons at her facility in Cornwall. But on Wednesday, it was just her and her horses at the barn.

"It's really about not having an economic impact, I guess. And for our clients, showing them that if we weren't here, you know, you wouldn't have a horse program to go to."

'It's a really good visual'

Jones heard about the campaign through social media, and decided she wanted to join in.

"I thought it was great. I mean, what can you do without a woman today? We're 50 per cent of the population and it's a really good visual, I guess for people to see what is impacted when women go on strike," said Jones.

The campaign encourages women to take the day off of both paid and unpaid work, avoid spending money, and wearing red to show support.

Ellen Jones still took care of her horses, but didn't teach any lessons on International Women's Day. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Jones said she realizes that most women can't take the day off work. But since she is her own boss, the impact and inconvenience for her was fairly minimal.

"A slight inconvenience maybe for our clients, but because 95 per cent of our clients are women or young girls, they seem to understand," said Jones.

Financial impact

Not all work stopped — she still had to care for her horses. But she didn't teach any lessons, or earn any money. On a typical weekday, she teaches between 12 and 15 people. 

This is something important, and you can't really put a price tag on that.- Ellen Jones

"It's a hit, for sure. I mean, we're losing income today. If you're not working, you're not getting a paycheque," said Jones. "But it's also really important. I mean, not everything is about the financial gain. We're working with young girls. We really want to be positive role models for them. And this is something important, and you can't really put a price tag on that."

Jones gave her clients notice of her plan before any lessons were booked, so nobody had to cancel. She said her clients have been supportive.

Inspiring girls

Jones said a big part of her motivation to take part in the strike was that most of her clients are women and girls.

"We're mentors, so we like to take the opportunity to really kind of educate our kids as well as our clients about what's going on in the world and use it as a starting point for conversation," said Jones.

She hopes some of the girls she teaches will take notice, and think about the impact of women in their lives.