March is giving us many much-deserved reasons to celebrate women. In addition to it being Women’s History Month, March 8 was International Women’s Day as well as the Day Without A WOman. If you didn’t have a chance to participate yesterday or are looking for ways to keep the momentum going, there are plenty of opportunities to continue supporting women after International Women’s Day.
Before we get into the “how,” let’s start with the “why.” If you’ve made it this far, chances are good that you, personally, don’t need a reminder on why it’s important to support women. That instinct, however, is not universal, as evidenced by lack of gender parity worldwide.
Despite women making up 49.6 percent of the world’s population, there is a stark lack of female representation in leadership, government, and other positions of power in the vast majority of countries. You don’t need to look beyond the our own congress to see the lack of female representation. (Yes, we are making growth, but we are still nowhere near reaching equal gender representation.)
The gender wage gap is a global problem. In the United States, women statistically still do not receive equal pay for equal work. In fact, Iceland is currently working to become the first and only country in the world to require equal pay for women. (While the United States does have the Equal Pay Act, there are easily exploited loopholes that prevent true equal pay regardless of gender.)
If you know someone who thinks the wage gap is a myth or that sexism as a whole doesn't exist anymore, you can show them this recent video of a male lawmaker opposing equal pay for women in European Parliament. He states women “must earn less” on account of them being weaker, smaller, and less intelligent than men.
To paraphrase former First Lady and current President of my Heart, Michelle Obama: That was low. Let’s go high. Here are 10 ways you can continue supporting women after International Women's Day and beyond.
1Get More Women In Office
That starts with encouraging more women to run for government. Tell a woman you know that she should run. Or run for office yourself. Organizations like EMILY's List and She Should Run are great resources if you want to support female candidates or if you're looking to run.
2Support LGBTQIA+ Rights
True support for women's equality involves support for the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQ rights, like women's rights, are human rights. Donate to organizations like The Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline. Follow LGBTQ advocates like Kat Blaque and Sarah McBride. Make sure your feminism involves equality for everyone.
3Shop at Women-Owned Businesses
Shopping at women- and minority-owned businesses was one of the suggests ways to participate in the women's strike, but you don't have to stop after Wednesday. Do a little Googling or check out this crowdsourced list of women-led businesses to find your new favorite place to shop and support women and minority business owners in your community.
4Support Creative Work by Women
Women are still underrepresented in media and entertainment, and art created by women is still considered a niche genre. Watch movies featuring women. Read books about women. Donate to organizations like the International Foundation for Women Artists that are already doing work to support creative women.
5Call Out Sexist Microaggressions
Words matter when it comes to how we view and treat women. Seemingly little things like using "girly" as an insult is just one of the ways our culture devalues women. Be conscious of your own words and don't hesitate to call out sexism, however small, when you see it.
6Become Better Educated on Feminism
Watch some short YouTube videos on feminism. Frequent sites like Everyday Feminism and other websites dedicated to feminist education and advocacy. Start by adding these little things to your daily routine. Then, spread your newfound knowledge by sharing articles on Facebook or watching a video on intersectionality with a friend.
7Subscribe to Feminist Publications
If you appreciate the work places like BUST, Bitch Media, and The Establishment are doing, let them know with a subscription or a donation. By supporting publications that feature female and minority voices, you are supporting women and minority artists and continuing to provide spaces for diverse voices to be heard.
8Donate Bras, Makeup, and Menstrual Products
Host a donation party with friends for makeup or menstrual products. You can donate to places like Support the Girls or contact your local domestic violence and women's shelters to drop off donations.
9Donate Money to Women's Health Globally
The Trump administration's reinstating of the Global Gag Rule affects women's health worldwide. Set up monthly donations to places like Global Fund for Women and Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health to support organizations advocating for women's health.
10Support The Women and Girls Around You
Whether that's becoming a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, building up the women you work with, or letting a lady in your life know how much she inspires you, make a conscious effort to be a champion of the women around you. A little boost can go a long way.