25 Little Ways To Keep The Spirit Of The Women's Strike Going Every Day
The International Women's Strike and "A Day Without A Woman" may be over, but that doesn’t mean our work is done (or, rather, that we necessarily have to go back to work as usual). If anything, the day of protest and the heated discussion leading up to International Women's Day has only highlighted the essential role women play around the world. For those inspired to keep the resistance going, there are plenty of little ways to keep the Women’s Strike spirit alive — all day, every day.
On March 8, International Women's Day, women went on strike for economic justice, gender parity, the defense of reproductive rights, and to shed light on rampant misogyny. It may be the 21st century, but gender parity is still a long way off — in fact, the gender wage gap is not expected to close until 2186. The strike got us talking about creating an "expansive feminist movement", and in the face of an administration that is constantly challenging the rights of so many and attempting to limit reproductive healthcare, keeping this goal alive is so very important.
So, what we can do now? I'm not talking about taking more time off of work, nor would I recommend actions that could impart additional economic hardship; instead, there a few small changes anyone can make to their lives that could actually result in a big difference down the road. Check out these small ways to keep the protest going in your everyday life — and remember: Hope is powerful tool when it comes to fighting back.
1. Make a special effort to support women- and minority-owned and run businesses or brands
Whether it is your local vintage shop or choosing to buy lunch at a female-run restaurant, making the conscious choice to spend a few dollars in support of women and other marginalized people can go a long way towards helping out. Acknowledge what these groups bring to the economy by spending your hard earned dough at shops owned by them.
2. Add more red to your wardrobe
Much like the pink pussy hats formed a symbolic link in January, the organizers of the Women's March on Washington asked strikers and allies to wear the color red on March 8. Red was chosen as a nod to past labor movements and to signify "revolutionary love and sacrifice." "Red is the color of energy and action associated with our will to survive," the organizers wrote on the Women's March website. "It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination." Red tied women and allies together in the fight for economic parity on Wednesday, and by just wearing one red item a day, we can continue this fight with powerful symbolism.
3. Take up a little more space in the world — physically
The strike sought to make women's voices heard and reinforce our economic contributions, but it also served to make the literal space women fill visible. Too often women are forced to accommodate men by physically making themselves smaller — even if it's just crossing their legs when sitting next to a manspreader. Power poses may have been debunked, but taking up more space in life can be a powerful form of protest and gender equality. So go ahead — stand tall, plant your feet, and let your presence be felt.
4. Volunteer for an organization that supports women's economic interest and fights for gender equity
There are quite a few organizations out there that offer support to women small business owners and help women build the career skills they need to succeed. By donating or volunteering at one of these important resources you can work to help the next generation of glass ceiling-shattering CEOs.
5. Donate to an organization that supports women’s reproductive health and wellbeing
With the introduction of the new health plan on Monday, many of these organizations are under direct threat from the Trump administration and need help. Donate to Planned Parenthood and empower women to control their futures.
6. Join an all-women team or league
There's nothing that says empowerment can't be fun! Bond with fellow sisters by joining an all-women team or league (softball, pickle ball, chess, pinball — whatever you enjoy) and prove how powerful it can be when women come together, even in a recreational environment.
7. Donate clothing or volunteer time to a women’s center or shelter
Support women in need during your free time by volunteering or donating clothing to a women's shelter. As Audre Lourde said, "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."
8. Continue to show up at protests and rallies
It can be draining to attend protests every weekend, so it's important to make sure that you are not pushing yourself to the point of a burn out. But, definitely pick and choose which local rallies you are passionate about and be sure to make time for them in you schedule. We've been seeing it since the inauguration: Showing up works.
9. Educate yourself on the history of women's labor movements
I promise these fierce history lessons will be incredibly inspiring.
10. Continue to strike in alternative ways
We may not be allowed to take more time off work, but that doesn't mean that women can't strike in other ways. Take breaks from heteronormative gender expectations and unpaid labor when you see fit — especially domestic tasks like cooking, laundry, childcare, and other “traditional” domestic chores. If you have a male partner, let them fill these roles, and slowly we may be able to change the division of labor.
11. Acknowledge when you give emotional support
Women undertake a lot of emotional labor as well, so it's important to be aware of when you are doing extra work. Sure, listening to a friend's problems, giving advice, or consoling someone in pain seems normal, but acknowledging its value is important nonetheless.
12. Participate in the upcoming actions
The strike was the fourth in a course of 10 major actions designated by the organizers of the Women’s March. These actions are all set to take place in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, so be sure to keep an ear open to what is coming next.
13. Take the word "sorry" out of your vocabulary
Resolve to not utter an apologetic word unless a situation truly warrants it. Studies show that women tend to apologize more than men, but the time for playing nice is over.
14. Talk up work that you are proud of
In the name of gender equality, go ahead and brag a little at work. Make sure your boss and coworkers understand that your contributions are valuable — and you know it!
15. Dress the way you feel most confident
Don't worry about how society prescribes that you should appear and think about what clothes make you feel most powerful. Whether it's pants, dresses, or combat boots, wear whatever you like, whenever you like.
16. Take a break from gendered grooming, if you feel like it (or don't)
Give yourself a break from shaving, waxing, and makeup — although of course, if you enjoy doing those things, then by all means, keep doing them. Again, it's about what makes you feel most comfortable, not the way a patriarchal society dictates you should look.
17. Start a conversation with family members about gender equality
To help members of your family understand why you strike, point out the silent forces at work everyday. It may A quick convo could help open their eyes and change their worldview, even if it's just a little.
18. Discuss women’s rights and social issues with friends and colleagues
Expand the discussion, and keep it going. The strike will live on as long as these issues remain in the forefront of people's minds.
19. Ask for a raise
You know your value. Make them pay you accordingly.
20. Call your representatives
Call your representatives in support of bills that work to close the gender pay gap (or against those that seek to widen it), and change policy around economic justice. While you're at it, let them know your opinion on Trump's plan to cut funding to non-profits that offer family planning organizations unless they stop offering abortions.
21. Stay active on social media
Social media protests are a thing now, so whether it's changing your profile photo frame or offering support via Twitter, these little steps can have an impact. Staying vocal publicly can keep you plugged into the resistance community.
22. Read books and see shows produced by women and marginalized people
Support the social and cultural achievements of women and minorities by making a point to see (and pay them for!) their work.
23. Practice self-care
It's important in these turbulent times to take breaks and check in with yourself. Meditation, affirmations, healthy eating, and other acts of self-care can help you maintain your strength for the fights ahead.
24. Form a powerful support network
Host brainstorming sessions with friends and colleagues and discuss how to work together to invoke change and take steps towards making a more inclusive, equal world.
25. Stay informed
Read the news, but be sure to not let it take over your life. Read local and global publications, and avoid inflammatory headlines that come across your social feeds. Stay up to date. Stay current. And now what we're up against.
That's how you figure out how to fight back.