2018 has been called the Year of the Woman.
The #MeToo and #Time’s Up movements of the previous years gathered steam and shaped a lot of what happened in the political arena of the US, as well as influencing continued female-led revolutions around the world.
Women stepped up, spoke out and stood their ground. We made ourselves seen and heard in public spaces, and at the ballot box.
In 2019, 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.
Last year, 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 realize 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!
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. And I'm also sharing others, along with wisdom from women who are experts in different facets of the female experience and whom I've had the pleasure of chatting to over the last few months.
If you're interested and want to know how you can support women more in 2019, sign up here. I'll send you regular, wildly glorious but not leave-everything-you-know-to-join-the-revolution ways of standing by women across the world.
(oh, and I'll also include updates on deals and freebies from the store!)
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 organizations and charities out there fighting this. Support them.
Also, remember that when you purchase something through Enya’s Attic 10% of the profits are shared between Plan International, the humanitarian organization that advances children's rights and equality for girls, and the International Association for Women’s Museums (IAWM.)
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 five women have been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director Award: Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties, 1977), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1994), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2004), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2010), and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, 2018.) (And, pssst! Not one woman of color among them.)
Female scriptwriters have fared a bit better. But still, only 16 have ever picked up the Oscar, and it’s been over a decade since the last woman won. That was Diablo Cody for Juno in 2008. 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 percent of the population but they only occupy about 0.5 percent of recorded history. There are reasons for this – For one, as civilizations began to expand through military endeavors, 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 organizations toright history by re-establishing the legacy of eminent women, specifically in public spaces such as statues, landmarks, and even on currency.
In 2016 it was announced that the abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman will be the first woman on US currency, the $20 bill (though, unfortunately, that has since been delayed.)
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.
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 center or homeless shelter.
Help Other Women to Shine
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 recognize 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.
Want more easy but fem-tastic ideas on how to show up in solidarity with women around the world?