How To Support Women Beyond the International Women’s Day #Hashtag
Happy Women’s History Month! Over the course of 31 days we will dedicate this time to acknowledge the countless, and often unrecognized contributions of women to society.
Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), which is a worldwide observation of a global commitment to gender parity. Every year, IWD presents a theme and hashtag to spread awareness and call people to action. This year the world celebrates women with #ChooseToChallenge gender bias and stands in solidarity for equal rights. To show your support, IWD is encouraging advocates to post a photo posing with raised hands and the hashtags #IWD2021 and #ChooseToChallenge.
This is a great way to spread awareness, but how do we make active strides toward supporting women after we post to our social feeds? After you raise your hands and #ChooseToChallenge, consider these tangible ways to support women:
1. Serve as a mentor
Mentorship is an invaluable coaching relationship, especially for women. Giving your time to a woman who may be seeking advice in her career and personal life can be pivotal for her. Offering mentorship provides a safe space where mentees can be candid about their plans or doubts without fear of judgment while receiving guidance and support. If you work in an industry that lacks female representation, this is a great way to help emerging professional women build confidence, especially when taking on a career path that may lack female support.
2. Advocate for women in the workplace
If you are in a position of authority in an organization, you have the perfect opportunity to serve as an advocate and/or ally in the workplace, whether it be pushing for office policies that support women (such as maternity and paternity leave, flex schedules, and work from home days), promoting women in leadership positions, or paying women fairly in efforts to close the wage gap. Even if you aren’t in a position to make these types of decisions, you can still be an active advocate. You can ask a woman employee for help on a major project, which will allow her to flex her talents and gain exposure, and you can praise her publicly for good work. In meetings, if a female employee is talked over or her ideas are unacknowledged, you can find tactful ways to repeat her ideas to the room (and give her credit, of course). These small but impactful acts can uplift and encourage women in professional environments and inspire others to do the same.
3. Provide family support
While not all women aspire to have children and household duties should be a genderless effort, until we reach the point where this notion is widely understood and accepted, the reality is that women are often responsible for a majority of household responsibilities. This typically includes child-rearing, cleaning, and cooking. It takes a village to raise a child, so why do we leave women to raise children, on top of managing households, on their own? If there is a woman in your life that has a family to care for, offer to provide help. You could babysit, cook her family a few meals, help pick up around the house, or just come over to spend time together. Doing so can help lighten her load, make her feel supported, and give her some light company during stressful days. We can provide communal support while normalizing the idea that household responsibilities are a group effort.
4. Fight for women of color
When we examine the wage gap, we see that Black women get paid less than both white men and white women. This gap is even wider when comparing compensation for Latinas. These disparities do not only exist in career realms but in healthcare as well. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and Black women are almost three times more likely to die during childbirth than their white peers. If we want to see transformative change within the gender equality movement, it is imperative that we include women of color. We must hold the issues that affect them with a high sense of urgency toward resolution because there will not be equality for women until ALL women are treated equally.
5. Donate or volunteer
There are various organizations dedicated to women’s rights. Find one that you feel connected to and donate money if you can or donate your time through volunteering. Here are a few organizations you can get involved with. Or you can consider working with a local women’s center or mutual aid group.
These are only a few suggestions to help you actively #ChooseToChallenge gender bias and fight for gender equality. Social media is a powerful tool that can bring about awareness, but only through collective effort do we have the power to actually make real change.
Happy International Women’s Day and let’s celebrate women all month and every day!
Call To Action
- Post on IWD #ChooseToChallenge to spread awareness for gender equality.
- Mentor or seek mentorship.
- Advocate for women around you.
- Provide family support to a friend.
- Keep in mind that the issues BIPOC women face are part of the women’s equality movement.
- Donate or volunteer if you can.
- Celebrate women every day.
–Jessica Couloute, Content Creator