International Women's Day. For many women, and even more men, is just another ordinary day. For some, women's day is an annoyance with what they see as whiny women who make themselves out to be so underprivileged, when they're really not, and who think they are better than men. And then there's the others, those so-called whiny women and the women they advocate for, who celebrate this day with marches, meetings, lunch with a girlfriend, gifts, and in so many other ways. All these little acts of advocacy surmount to one global push forward towards gender equality, towards a world that values women as much as men for what they bring to the table. One of the greatest effects of this one day is to make the whole world pause, just for a moment, and give a nod to all women past and present who have withstood hardship because of their gender.
Someone asked me today what I suggested they do on women's day, that would be different than any other day. I gave some quick response to pamper the women in their life (this evoked some sexual remarks) and I left it at that. But it has made me reflect. What could someone do that is different on this day? For me, my husband and I wore our shirts with "This is what a feminist looks like" and I made a little shout out on social media to my women and all women. But, I thought, did that really change anything? Did I really make a difference in the fight for gender equality? Maybe. Perhaps I gave some validation and raised awareness. But what more could people do? Well here's 18 practical ways to make a difference for women on Women's day:
1. Compliment. Compliment. Compliment. Give them left and right. Give one to that female bus driver. Give one to the women who serves your food. Give one to your female coworker. And of course to your closest female family members and friends. Don't just compliment on looks. While that is kind and well recieved, today is not about what women look like, it's about all the other wonderful things that they are. Give them sincere, specific, detailed comliments. Let them know what a difference they are making.
2. Write a note or card to a woman you admire. Your mom would love to recieve a heart-felt note expressing your gratitude and appreciation for her. A text to your aunt or your neice would make their day. Indeed, any woman you know would love it.
3. Do a service for a woman. You know those chores that your lady seems to always take upon herself? Do them for her and insist that she go take some times for herself. And if your really close, women LOVE massages.
4. Participate in a march or event for women's rights. Almost every major city has a women's march on Women's day, and often there are other major events for women that day as well. Do a google search to find information for your area. If you can't find an event, then host one!
5. Volunteer at a women's center.
6. Donate to a women's organization. If you don't already have an organization that you love, Google grassroots women's organizations in your area or donate to one of the following: The American association of University Women, The Association of Women's Rights in Development, League of Women Voters
7. Donate items to a women's shelter. Most shelters will take clothing donations, hygene products, educational supplies, and houshold items.
8. Make a post on social media advocating for women and girls. Raise awareness!
10. Support a woman's business. Help women get further in entreprenueral endeavors by supporting their businesses!
11. Have a talk, formal or informal, with your sons or boys in your care about respect for girls. These conversations should be ongoing from the time boys are very young. Point out the contributions of their mothers and sisters and other girls, correct them when they disrespect, teach them about body boundries and respecting others wishes about their body, talk about all the rights women have had to fight for and are still fighting for. Movies, whether misrepresenting women, or really doing women justice, are always good opportunities to talk about these things.
12. Have a talk, formal or informal, with your daughters or girls, about the potential they have. Teach them to stand up for themselves. Teach them to critique societal norms about women. Again, these should be ongoing conversations and movies are great opportunities for these discussions.
13. Learn about a female hero and share the story with someone else.
14. Do an art project in honor of women or a women's issue. So much creativity here.
15. Host an event to discuss women's issues. This could be anything from a lunch with the girls (and boys who are interested) to a support group for victims of sexual assault.
16. Give a gift to a female friend in honor of their femininty. I love bath stuff. and make up. and Games. and Camping stuff. In case you wanted some ideas ;-)
17. Fundraise for a women's organization. This is one of the most impactful things you can do! How much love gets spread when you organize a fundraiser and all the people who help and all the people who donate get the feel goods, ON TOP of all the good that the money will do!
18. Do something to publicly display or point out to others the great sacrifices and tremendous acheivements of the women in your culture. This is a particularly good idea for those that live in places where women's expression is oppressed and feminism is disdained.
Please comment with any other suggestions you have for how to make a difference for women! Also, please share pictures and stories of what YOU did for women on women's day!