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Over the last few years, women have stepped up, spoken out and stood their ground on a whole bunch of issues.
The #MeToo and #Time’s Up movements of recent years have gathered steam and shaped a lot of what has happened in the political arena of the US, as well as influencing continued female-led revolutions around the world.
The conversation and march towards true equality are set to continue.
But let’s be honest, it’s not an easy path. So many questions and ideas and arguments have been brought into the conversation.
On a personal level, as I move through the layers of conditioning, the values that I’ve been brought up with, and the tomes of different opinions that are out there, sometimes I just don’t know what I believe, or how to show my solidarity with other women.
And just how possible is it to be part of a revolution when you’re caught up in the daily push and pull of work, family, friends, kids, and life in general?
Well, as it turns out, it’s very possible.
Supporting More Women Writers
A few years ago, I made a decision to read only books by women.
It was, as I like to see it, a small act of revolution. Opening myself up to the female story in all its layered extraordinariness. I did not realise how incredible and enlightening an experience it would be.
Not only did I learn and grow as a woman who finally saw herself in the fiction and other books that I was reading, I actually made new female friendships and connections because of it!
READ NEXT: What Happened When I Read Only Books by Women for a Year
With that as a template, I then decided to create further small - but sheroic - acts of revolution that help me to align with and support the current movement towards equality for women.
I've detailed seven of these suggestions below.
They are small steps. But, still, each one can create change as well as the momentum to continue showing up with confidence and pride in being a woman.
We all have crappy days. When you see another female friend, colleague or complete stranger taking a knock, reach out with kindness.
It might just be a sympathetic smile shared with the woman whose child is having a Vesuvius-sized meltdown in the grocery store.
Or an extra coffee bought for the colleague who’s up against a work deadline.
It might be a text to an important woman in your life just to let her know you’re thinking of her.
When the opportunity is there, jump in and show your solidarity.
Donate to Female Charities
Every day millions of women and girls across the world are abused, trafficked, forced into labor and marriages, and refused basic human rights such as sexual rights, freedom from violence, access to education, equal pay and land ownership, as well as maternal health and other gender-specific health rights.
There are organisations and charities out there fighting this. Support them.
Watch More Films by Women
Make a deliberate choice to engage with women-led movies. That includes films helmed by female directors and scriptwriters, as well as those with women in the leading roles.
This not only highlights an interest that can advance behind-the-scenes equality, but it can prompt Hollywood to start telling more stories about women.
Additionally, it supports many incredibly talented female filmmakers getting the deserved recognition they need to continue their own careers successfully (or at all.)
Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science was first established over 90 years ago, only seven women have been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director Award: Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties, 1977), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1994 and The Power of the Dog, 2022), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2004), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2010), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, 2018), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman, 2021) and Chloé Zhao (Nomadland, 2021)
And, of those, only three have won - Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog, Kathryn Bigelow and Chloé Zhao.
Female scriptwriters have fared a bit better. But still, only 17 have ever picked up the Oscar, with over a decade between the last two winners - Diablo Cody for Juno in 2008 and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman in 2021. Ouch!
Buy from Women-Owned Businesses
Research reveals that when women-owned businesses thrive so too does the economic stability of their associated families and communities.
Why? Because typically women use the money they make to support their households and other family and community members. They and the businesses they set up are also twice as likely as men to donate money, volunteer or sponsor someone for charity.
On top of that, the more women there are who succeed in business, the more role models there are for future female entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Do Your Research
Women may be 50% of the population but they only occupy about 0.5% of recorded history. There are reasons for this – For one, as civilisations began to expand through military endeavours, heroic deeds of male warriors pushed women out of the historical narrative.
But that doesn’t mean that women weren’t participating in the making of the world.
Over the last few decades, there has been a concerted effort by numerous individuals and organisations to right history by re-establishing the legacy of eminent women, specifically in public spaces such as statues, landmarks, and even on currency.
In 2017, Jane Austen became the first female author to appear on a British bank note. But she's the third British writer to appear on the 10-pound note.
Supporting the work of these people and orgs is an act of female solidarity.
But so too is doing your own research into the countless women who have made a difference to your life whether you know it or not.
So, take a small revolutionary step by filling in the gaps of your own knowledge.
Read up on the world’s unsung heroes.
Check out female-focused exhibitions in galleries and women’s museums.
(The IAWM have a list of such museums here).
And if you’re not sure where to start, begin by getting acquainted with these six amazing ground-breakers.
Buy Period Products
Not having access to personal menstrual products is a big problem for many refugees here in Europe, and women and girls in poverty everywhere.
So if you’re buying sanitary pads or tampons for yourself throw some additional hygiene products into your trolley and then go and donate them to a nearby refugee centre or homeless shelter.
Support More Women in Shining
There is a feminist practice that I first heard about through the writings of Kelly Diels called Shine Theory.
It’s based around an idea that Ann Freidman, a columnist with The Cut wrote about, which is to align yourself with smart, sassy, inspiring women so that their ‘shine’ can rub off on you.
Kelly has a different take on this. She posits that if you yourself are that bright, popular woman, you should recognise the value of your shine and use it deliberately to help other females.
You may not think you are in any kind of position to open up opportunities for others but give it some extra thought; this may not be the case.
For example, if you are well-positioned in your career, you might think about inviting a younger, promising colleague to an important work event where she can possibly make valuable contacts.
Perhaps you have quite a bit of influence on social media. Think about shouting out a new female-made product or service to your most engaged followers.
Heck, helping someone shine could even just involve befriending the new mom you see collecting her child from your kid’s class, and introducing her to all the other moms that you know.
The point is, we all shine, and our glimmer only grows when we encourage others to shine too.
Build up your library - and your knowledge - by reading more feminist classics by women. Start by downloading our FREE booklist of 100 BOOKS BY WOMEN EVERYONE SHOULD READ IN THEIR LIFETIME
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