International Women’s Day is just around the corner and while there are loads of ways to celebrate on March 8, it's always difficult to know how much of a meaningful impact your actions are having. I love any opportunity to celebrate the people and campaigns making the world a better place but we also need to think about the concrete ways we can help women in the UK on International Women’s Day.
Posting a picture in your “phenomenal woman” t shirt with your friends is very cute and a great way to honour and thank the people in your life. However, there are so many campaigns, petitions, and activists working around the globe trying to progress the rights of women and female-identifying people. Being mindful about who you promote and where your money goes on International Women’s Day 2020 could be a great way to contribute to real, lasting change.
1. Volunteer At Your Local Women’s Shelter
One of the best things you can do over International Women’s Day 2020 is give your time. It’s being celebrated on a Sunday in 2020 and if you’re not in a position to give money then you can donate your time or clothes and toiletries to help other people in your area. Women’s Aid has an awesome feature on their website where you can find services in your area. Just make sure you call ahead to see what they need.
2. Donate To Period & Hygiene Poverty Charities
According to research by Plan International one in 10 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary products, while 49% have missed an entire day of school because of their period. This doesn’t only affect their learning but also their confidence. Massive strides were made by campaigners like Amika George in 2019 and the government has pledged to provide free sanitary products in English schools. However, that doesn’t mean that period poverty is no longer an issue. Campaigns like Bloody Good Period and Every Month continue to raise awareness and provide sanitary products to those who need them. You can donate your time or money. Similarly, the Hygiene Bank helps people in their communities who can’t afford hygiene products.
3. Join A Big Sister Program
If you want to make a long-term commitment to making a change then charities like Girls Out Loud run big sister programs for teenage girls. You can volunteer to mentor and guide a younger person and offer them the support they need. The big sister program matches people together and Girls Out Loud will provide you with all the training you need.
4. Sign Petitions
It might feel like British politics has been totally dominated by Brexit for the last year but there are so many worthwhile petitions that you could share on social media in 2020 with the helpful (and hopefully trending) #InternationalWomensDay. Grazia started a petition to end the “rough sex defence” just recently and Amnesty International has also created a petition to implore the government to protect and support all survivors of domestic abuse, regardless of immigration status. There are so many petitions out there that need your support, so do some research and start signing.
5. Shop & Share Mindfully
So many shops celebrate International Women’s Day, which is great, but if you want to use March 8 as a time to treat yourself to some feminist merch then consider where it comes from. Always do your research and make sure the places you're spending money are actually doing good. In the same vein, many authors and journalists will be producing a lot of work over the weekend to do with International Women’s Day. Reading and sharing the work of writers who are LGBTQ+ or people of colour will raise the profile of intersectional feminism. The experience of being female isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation and investing in voices that aren’t normally given a platform is a great way to honour all women.