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Today is International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate women’s achievements around the world and take a moment to appreciate fabulous women in your life and the world in general.
However, it also is a day which makes me feel a bit grim. Gender equality has slowed, pay disparity is still common, violence against women is still incredibly high, sexual harassment is still very prevalent and in many countries women still haven’t got good access to education or healthcare. In terms of culture, I am bored of seeing TV drams with violence against women storylines, bad role models in pop culture for teenagers and still too many children’s clothes which come in gendered colours and designs.
Last night I remember a favourite quote from Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi, “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone. ” I am a big fan in taking action, even when it seems hopeless. We won’t overthrow patriarchy today but we can do something which will help a woman somewhere.
These are some small steps which I think can help us get towards a better or at least kinder world.
- Give money or time to Refuge, the domestic violence shelter charity. Recently Archer’s Fans have been so moved by the recent Helen Titcher storyline that they have raised over £60k (so proud to be an Archers fan). If you have recently shouted at the radio or cringed as controlling psycho Rob has demeaned Helen, please consider supporting.
- Donate any spare toiletries or makeup to Give and Make Up. All donations go to local women’s shelters to help women who have just left their partners.
- Consider taking a microfinance loan or giving to Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign to help support female entrepreneurs around the world. (The recent Poverty is Sexist report is really worth reading too).
- Make some cloth sanitary pads for donatepads.org. In many countries sanitary towels are hard to find and very expensive. This means that women can use other (sometimes unsanitary things) and that many girls miss school when they are on their period with damaging results. Rose George has written some brilliant articles about this which make me feel eternal grateful to be in a country where it is easy to get sanitary protection.
- Donate money, time, books or either badly needed items to help with the growing refugee crisis in the UK. Women and children now account for over half the refugees arriving in Europe and desperately need help. These articles contain a wide range of organisations and ideas of ways to help.
- Support a maternal health project. Maternal health is an area which progress is not being made fast enough, I believe access to high quality healthcare and safe childbirth is a human right. I have been very inspired by the work which Bumi Sehat is doing in Bali and think they are an amazing organisation to support.
- Support female makers. There are so many talented brilliant women in the craft and creative entrepreneur sphere that deserve our support. You could buy a something lovely or consider You could also consider backing a kickstarter campaign for female maker or supporting a blogger or podcaster you love.Some of my favourites are Katie’s lovely wool, Felix’s ingenious book or support A Playful Day podcast on Patreon.
- Listen and support fantastic women in the music industry, there is still so much prejudice and sexism. At the moment, The Anchoress’s new album, Confessions of a Romantic Novelist is on constant play.
- Learn to code! I listened to a brilliant talk last year at Women of the World by Sarah Brown about women and technology which really inspired me. Project Ava has wealth of information about women in technology including where to find free coding classes for women.
- Finally, talk to the girls in your life about something that matters to them. I love talking to small people about their interests and from some of the literature I’ve read a key to raising resilient strong women is to nuture interests and talents. (I strongly expect that I will be having a conversations about hippos or rhinos…).
I’d love to know if you do any of these things or have anything to add to the list.
Happy International Women’s Day!