About 100 people rallied Thursday in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate International Women's Day and to support a global women's strike.
Organizers in several major U.S. cities and more than 60 countries were encouraging women workers to take the whole day or a few hours off from work to draw attention to women's labor issues.
"Lack of recognition for women's work is a fundamental, sexist and racist injustice, forcing women into a double or triple [workday] for no pay or low pay," said Margaret Prescod of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, which was coordinating the global strike.
The strike sought to draw attention to the need for equal pay for women and people of color, including compensation for work done by wives and mothers at home, and for paid maternity leave and quality child care, she said.
The activists also want governments to decrease military spending and provide their citizens with basic necessities.
The protesters, ranging from preteens to octogenarians in wheelchairs, gathered outside the downtown Federal Building with signs reading: "When Women Stop, Everything Stops," "Every Mother Is a Working Mother" and "Good Care Deserves Good Cash."
"We want the priorities to change," Prescod said. Her organization envisions a future "where the care of people is what the economy is about, not the production of things," she said.
Prescod said she and other activists oppose President Bush's $1.6-trillion tax cut proposal, because it ignores women who labor without wages.
"The economy has been supported on our backs," she said. "We don't just want some of it back. We want all of it."