March 8 is annually celebrated as International Women's Day, but this year, it will also mark the second major resistance demonstration of the growing women's movement that launched during January's Women's March on Washington. Whether you are one of the women participating in Wednesday's general strike or an ally supporting gender equality and justice, there are plenty of ways readers can support the women's movement on A Day Without a Woman and beyond.
Building off of the same spirit of unity, freedom, activism, and love that was the basis of the Women's March, A Day Without a Woman is a 24-hour general strike intended to highlight the tremendous value that women's work, paid and unpaid, has, despite, as the strike's official website so accurately describes, "receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity." A Day Without a Woman is an opportunity to not only shine a light on the contributions women of every class, race, religion, or sexual orientation make to our social and economic systems, but to demand fair and equal rights for all women, in the workplace and beyond.
Our current political and cultural climate is one that demands action and resistance, not one day a year, but each and every day, until equality and justice is a reality for everyone. For readers, that means doing these 9 things to support women on A Day without and Woman and beyond.
1Stay home and read on A Day Without a Woman.
The organizers behind A Day Without a Woman have laid out some pretty basic ways to join in, including taking the day off from work, paid or unpaid, avoiding shopping, and wearing red in solidarity. If you have the privilege of being able to take the day off from work, there are hundreds of official A Day Without a Woman events as well as International Women's Day programming you can participate in, but if you're a reader, there's one other activity to add to your to-do list that day: read.
Participate in the general strike by avoiding your paid and unpaid work, and instead curl up with a relevant book that will help inspire your continued resistance. Learn how laws get passed, study books about activism, and let the healing power of reading as self-care help you relax enough to refresh your own efforts.
2Read more books by women.
Whether you're picking a book specifically for A Day Without a Woman or just looking to add something to your TBR list, the easiest way readers can support the women's movement is to read more books by women. There's a well-known gender bias within the publishing industry, so by buying, reading, and sharing stories by women, you're supporting not only their artistic efforts, but their financial futures and the important roles they play in shaping our culture.
3Expand your library of intersectional stories.
Reading about women isn't enough. If you truly want to support the women's movement, you're TBR list should not only include female voices, but diverse female voices that celebrate, examine, and inform every kind of woman's experience, not just the mainstream kind.
Read a diverse YA that tackles serious and relevant issues this year, or check out a new release from Latinx authors. Reading about other kinds of girls and women and their experiences will help expand your definition of feminism, and make you a better ally for all.
4Support independent bookstores, especially those run by women.
One of the ways to participate on A Day Without a Woman is to avoid spending money or shopping at all, unless it's at small business or one owned by a woman or minority. If you do find yourself in a book emergency on March 8 with nothing on your shelf to read, make sure you go out and purchase a new novel at an independent bookstore run by women or minorities.
Whether it's A Day Without a Woman or not, continue to support your local businesses by shopping at indie stores that give women and minorities economic opportunities, rather than big box stores that limit workers' rights, especially females and workers of color.
5Donate to literacy and literary nonprofits.
It's not always easy to find the time to attend rallies, organize meetings, or go on strike, no matter how passionate you are about resistance, equality, and change. For many, even participating in A Day Without a Woman by not going to work is impossible. But that doesn't mean you can't still support the movement at large.
For anyone who wants to continue to support the women's movement and its many efforts, consider donating to literary nonprofits and organizations that support girls and women's reading and writing. The smallest amount can make the biggest difference in the fight for equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal access to education.
6Volunteer for a literacy program.
If you want to do more than just donate, volunteer your time at one of the many literacy programs in the United States or around the globe. Helping girls and women learn to read gives them the power and courage they need to continue their own fight for equality an opportunity, in work, school, and beyond.
7Share diverse children's books with the young people in your life.
Which books are you reading in March? https://t.co/3OIaR5Tu2k— WeNeedDiverseBooks (@diversebooks) March 1, 2017
Spending A Day Without a Woman with a little one? Be sure to share diverse stories about not only women, but people of color, the LGBTQ community, different religions, and more. Empathy is the key to change, and reading diverse stories is where it starts.
Whether it's bedtime or a picture book to share on the ride to the next resistance rally, read diverse books with the young ones in your life, and help shape the next generation of activists.
8Start a feminist book club.
Ready to take your reading, activism, and feminism to the next level? Combine the three passions by starting a feminist book club with friends, coworkers, or other activists you meet during your A Day Without a Woman activity.
It's fun, informative, enlightening, and above all, inspiring.
9Send a book to a representative.
This Valentine's Day, Leaders Are Readers asked people to Bury the White House in Books as part of a campaign to change the administration's attitude about reading, education, and more. Just because the campaign is over, though, doesn't mean the idea isn't still amazing.
To support the women's movement on A Day Without a Woman and beyond, send feminist books — fiction, nonfiction, children's books — to the White House and to your local representatives with a note explaining why they should read it. You never know whose mind you can change with a book — reading is, after all, one of the most powerful things.