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‘We Will Not Be Taken For Granted': Bay Area Women March, Strike for Equality

Hundreds of Bay Area women stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red to demonstrate their economic clout and solidarity as part of a multitude of International Women's Day events held around the globe on Wednesday.

"A Day Without a Woman" protests in the U.S. were put together by organizers of the vast women's marches that drew more than one million people into the streets the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration.

In San Francisco, a large crowd gathered on the steps of City Hall, waving flags, posters and banners. "We will not be taken for granted!" they chanted.

"It’s important for me to be out because it’s important to just show support in things I believe in," said Daphne Duong, who attended the strike with her manager. "Obviously with the whole political atmosphere, it’s important to come out and be active in your local community."

On the flip side, Miwenn Rengault participated with her employees. 

"Eighty percent of our task force are women so when we heard about it, we were like, 'Yeah, that’s obvious. We need to do something. We need to go. We need to show support.'"

Spokeswoman Cassady Findlay said organizers for "A Day Without a Woman" were inspired by the recent "Day Without an Immigrant" protests held last month. She said the action is aimed at highlighting the effect of women on the country's socio-economic system and demonstrating how the paid and unpaid work of women keeps households, communities and economies running.

To that end, Eshelle Young decided that her daughter could miss school to be part of history.

"I thought it was important to bring her out of school so she can just realize how important it is to have ... gender equality, how women really work hard and we should be treated the same as men as far as getting paid equally," she said.

[BAY RM] Bay Area Celebrates 'A Day Without a Woman'

Hundreds also met at Justin Herman Plaza and marched to San Francisco's Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

"We need to remind people that women cannot be taken for granted, and we have a huge impact on what goes on in our world," said Grace Lee, of Oakland.

Others said that such events allow them to celebrate the power of women in the business world — something they believe is necessary, especially in the divisive environment that people are finding themselves in. 

"I think it's important for women to leverage their collective power," said a San Francisco woman, identified only as Angie.

Many also said that they were not participating just for themselves.

"I wanted to stand up for my daughter and my daughters' daughters and for my sisters ... in spirit," said Caroline Cappelli, of San Francisco.

In San Jose too, a crowd gathered outside City Hall, while the Louden Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz hosted a rally to commemorate “A Day Without A Woman.”

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, upwards of 300 people had flocked to Oakland City Hall to march alongside their female counterparts. Drums provided a beat, and just about everyone was represented at the march.

"We’re teachers from San Francisco," said Mary Ladalais. "We just know the importance of standing together."

"I am a mother," marcher Kim Nelson said. "I’ve worked with lots of kids who are incarcerated. I have a small business."

Meanwhile, Richmond eatery Salute E Vita said it was donating 10 percent of its sales on Wednesday to the city's Family Justice Center, an organization that works with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, sex trafficking and elder abuse. The owner, Menbere Aklilu, is widely known in the community for being a frequent contributor to women’s causes and community nonprofits.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd and Gillian Edevane and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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