International Women's Day // What You Can Do
Today, Wednesday 8th March, is International Women's Day. Today is a day for action, for awareness, for advocacy; a day for celebrating the achievements of women throughout history and for taking a step back to examine how much further we still have to go. Today is about what you can do to further the journey towards equality for women - all women. Here are a few ways that you can participate.
Red is the official colour of solidarity on women's day. Whether it's an item of clothing, lipstick, jewellery, underwear - wear it. It's a small gesture - the most miniscule, in fact - but it aligns you with the movement and could even spark conversations which lead you to educate others on Intl Women's Day and the feminist movement more broadly. I, for example, am wearing a very bold crimson dress; people are prone to comment on it, and I am able to proudly state that it's in aid of Women's Day.
2. Take part in the Day Without Women, if you can.
If you are privileged enough to be in the position to be able to take the day off in strike from your regular duties, be they work or otherwise, this is a great way to participate in International Women's Day. The impact that women have on making the world a functioning place cannot be underplayed or under-emphasised and a physical display of pr otest is a powerful tool in illustrating our value. The purpose of the general strike is to demonstrate the economic solidarity of women and all gender-repressed people.
If you cannot miss work, avoid engaging in unpaid labor at home where possible: do not perform domestic chores, errands, and general housekeeping.
Another alternative is to do as the Icelandic did - shave 2 hours off the end of your work day to highlight the gender pay gap. This is a good way to still participate in the strike if you are unable to take the whole day off.
3. Get Educated.
This is a great chance to listen and learn. Don't get wrapped up in your own privileges; make a pledge this International Women's Day to learn something new, consider a new point of view, broaden your world view. Listen, learn, and apologise when you screw up or get called out. Speak to other women about their experiences and really listen; don't talk over those sharing lived experiences with you.
Nobody's feminism is perfect. It is a lifelong learning process. Take a moment today to self-critique and ask yourself how you can be a better, more inclusive feminist ally to those with less privilege than yourself. Are you doing the most you can for other women? Remember, this movement is about all women.
4. Show economic solidarity by not shopping.
Women account for a huge percentage of all purchases made, so take yourself out of the capitalist equation for a day. If you must make purchases use cash instead of credit cards, and keep your purchases from local and women- or minority-owned businesses. This keeps the cash flow within your community and bolsters support for your local businesses.
5. Gather together in honor of International Women's Day and the general strike.
It is important to show up for another, whether this is in a rally setting [check your city near you for rallies] or in a small group of friends. Solidarity is key.
6. Call your representatives.
Be heard - this is a great time to call your local representative or write to your MP. Sign petitions, write letters; exercise your powers of democracy and freedom of speech. Let them know that you want to see change - demand it. They are supposed to be there to represent you. Be vocal. Tell them what you want.
There are countless good causes that could really use your help. Put the money you don't spend by avoiding shopping towards a donation for a charity or organisation that directly helps and benefits women. You could donate to Planned Parenthood, Women's Aid, National Organisation for Women, Women for Women International, The Trevor Project, to name a few.
If you can't afford to part with money, you can still help. Look up women's shelters in your area and donate any unwanted clothes, tinned or long-life food, or domestic items which would be appreciated by those with little or nothing.
Go forth and represent today with an open mind and an open heart. Let us know if you do any or all of the above!