Today on International Women’s Day, I’m feeling more hopeful than I have been for a while. For the past four years, it’s been rough, and now here we are, with our first ever woman elected into the White House, hope for some important new legislation supporting mothers, and a COVID relief package (YES!!) that will get a lot of women back into the workplace.
In the past, we’ve shared 11 ways to support women today and every day. The ideas are still valid!.
Today, I’m going to share the guide on the International Women’s Day website. They’ve distilled their support into 6 missions, and I want to highlight a few simple ways to do each one. There’s a lot more, and any additional ideas are welcome!
How to support the 6 core missions of International Women’s Day
Pick one, pick several, or keep these ideas all in mind all year round.
Taking meaningful action can be as simple as choosing one new charity to research and support; thinking about which voices you amplify on social media; or making a conscious effort to browse more women authors when you look for a new children’s book.
Once actions like these become habit — and multiplied on a massive scale by all of us — change becomes real.
1. Celebrate tech women and innovations
For 15+ years, we’ve been supporting women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, in tech and beyond. If you’re looking for voices to amplify, look at Instagram feeds like @womenintech and @girlswhocode and follow who they follow. You’ll discover so much inspiring content!
Get to know just a few of the women leaders in tech who are worth knowing from this post. And know that tech is not going to be bro-land for much longer, as Heather Cabot, co-author of Geek Girl Rising reminded us.
As Parents: Remember that women’s innovations aren’t just “techy” per se. Sometimes women invent a product, a company, a new way of shopping, a business that sees things in a new way. Support them!
It can be as simple as these 30+ cool feminist gifts, all supporting women makers and women-owned shops. You could shop for kids’ clothes from woman-owned Rockets of Awesome or Primary, instead of a mass department store.
And of course, expose your kids to all the ways women have contributed through history, in ways we may not even have realized. Sometimes learning about those “invisible” contributions is the most powerful lesson of all.
2. Applaud equality for women in sports
The International Women’s Day site has some terrific information about equality for women in sports — how to encourage it, ways to make it happen. (PS We can’t wait to go back to WNBA games, which are always amazing!)
As Parents: Advocate for girls (whether we’re raising them or not) to be able to play. Seek out corporate sponsorships for your girls’ sports teams at the local level. Remember when your’e shopping for shopping for gifts for girls of all ages, they like basketballs and baseball mitts, soccer jerseys and cleats, sports heroine posters and books about athletes too.
(You can also see why we really like this t-shirt company that honors girls’ passion for sports.)
3. Educate women on health choice decisions
There is so much here it could be an entire article. But I’ll say it starts out with talking.
Do you know how taboo it still is for women to discuss periods and PMS, postpartum depression, menopause, sexual disfunction, and aging? Not to mention basics like the medical names for women’s sexual organs. Or women’s mental health, which still bears the burden of decades of stigma.
There’s also caregiver stress, which disproportionately impacts women. Oof..it’s a lot.
Since knowledge is power, read up on these 9 female physicians who are speaking up for women’s health issues and see where that leads you. I’d like to add Dr. Jen Gunther to that list, who’s a favorite outspoken Twitter favorite and thought leader of mine, and author of The Vagina Bible.
I also like to support organizations that empower women to take control their own healthcare decisions, from Planned Parenthood to NARAL/Pro-Choice America, to The International Women’s Health Coalition, though there are plenty of outstanding organizations supporting women’s cardiac care, cancer. geriatric care and more. You can also listen to these top-rated women’s health podcasts that cover all kinds of topics.
And let’s please not forget mental health! There’s a wealth of information through the Women’s Mental Health Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. Or subscribe to the Therapy for Black Girls Podcast which is super popular for good reason — women of color and Black women in America face implicit bias in medicine that’s incredibly damaging, and needs to be addressed urgently.
As Parents: Talk talk talk talk talk. Let your daughters know that their health — mental, physical, psychological — all matters. If you have trouble talking, there are so many great books that can help do it for you. If you need a book about puberty for tweens and early teens, I’m a fan of Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up. By helping them feel ownership of their own bodies, it really helps them advocate for themselves in a world where we still need to put extra effort into that.
4. Build inclusive workplaces so women thrive
What women want out of work is pretty basic, according to the the research: Paid time off, salary satisfaction, great coworkers, and flexible work hours. It’s amazing we’re still struggling to get all of them.
And now, working women and moms struggling more than ever after a year of the pandemic. It’s disproportionately impacted women and especially women of color, and It’s rough. So here are the opportunities.
If you’re in the position to build a business or employ others, hire women! Simple! check out the site’s information on building inclusive workplaces; the 2020 Global Gender Gap report shows us how far we still have to go, but there’s a lot of encouraging information as well.
If you’re looking to reinvent your own career path, definitely check out this list of 10 terrific resources for women ready for a career change or entrepreneurship. Listen to these tips from Heather Cabot of Geek Girl Rising on How to turn your passion into a career. And for a little moral support, listen to Katherine Goldstein on working mom guilt: It’s not you, it’s the system. It helps to know you’re not alone.
Women in Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky
As parents: We need to encourage girls to pursue any path at all, to discover their passions, and go forward with confidence. All the while, helping pave the way for more equitable workplaces for them, and more opportunities. Seeing someone who looks like you in a position of power is incredibly meaningful and we can’t take for granted that girls, and especially girls of color, always see those role models. That’s where we turn to books.
Start with these;
– 11 inspiring children’s and YA books about historic women for our girls — and especially, our boys
– Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls Vol. 2: More badass than ever
– Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris: Because girls need to own their dreams. And so do women!
– The ultimate girls in STEM book of kick-butt Women in Science
– The best children’s books of 2020: All the award winners to read with your kids in 2021 (including plenty about girls and women)
And of course, its’ also important to read these with our boys so they know to bring women into their future organizations and job paths as well.
5. Increase visibility of women creatives
Sheroes Portrait Series Mug by Tina Duryea.
Well hey, our entire website is dedicated to this! Where to even start?
Buy women’s art. Visit women’s museum and gallery exhibits. Read children’s books by and about women. Read books by women for adults. Hire women photographers. Support the work of women composers, musicians, poets (go Amanda Gorman!) and playwrights. Sometimes you have to seek them out…and that’s okay.
One totally free tip: Diversify your social feeds of the women creatives — follow, amplify, and always always credit when you share something from someone else! And share often. It’s the easiest thing you can do and it’s meaningful. You never know who might see your own re-share of a woman creator, and how that might impact their work or their life.
For parents; Look at your kids’ bookshelves. Look at the heroes in the books and the names of the authors. Look at the movies in your Netflix queue. Look at the art on your walls. Any changes you can make?
6. Forge women’s empowerment worldwide
Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash
The International Women’s Day site describes this mission as to shine a spotlight on activity encouraging and uplifting women to pursue goals without bias or barriers
That feels like a lot to do, I get it .But it’s so important to do something, especially if we want to raise the next generation of women who fight a little less than we’ve had to for equality. So, start with everything above.
Next, look at their list of ideas including passion projects, ways to share your own journey, awareness raising, and international opportunities. It’s important to remember our sisters who struggle in different and sometimes far more difficult ways in other countries.
I would just end with a big goal of mine: Passing ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment here in the US. Write, text, call your local officials and urge them to support ratification if you live in one of the 12 states yet to ratify. (Hey there southern readers, that’s you!) If you don’t live there, feel free to call them out on social media.
Nothing quite mainstreams the importance of gender equality and justice like codifying it into law.