In 1920, women had a big win for feminism when they secured the right to vote. Not all women could exercise that right immediately ― it’s been a continued fight over the last 96 years. And in the immortal words of Tina Fey, “we’re not done...we’re definitely not done.” So what better way to celebrate Women’s Equality Day than by spending some time making change for the #StateofWomen in your daily life? We’ve got 19 ways to get you started. But this doesn’t cover everything ― so let us know how you like to flex your feminism in the comments below!
If you have 1 minute:
Register to vote!
There’s no better way to celebrate the 19th Amendment than to use it! Register to vote. Double check to make sure you’re registered at your current address. Contemplate which Instagram filter will be best for your “I Voted ✅” sticker in November. But for real, register to vote → Vote.org
Change the conversation
Literally. We hear and experience sexism in so many ways throughout the day. People – women included – interrupt women more often than men in conversations. Challenge yourself today to be conscious of letting a woman finish her thought before you jump in to add your two cents. From comment sections to media coverage of the Olympics, sexism runs rampant online and offline. We can all make a conscious effort to create a more inclusive space. When you’ve mastered the art of equal representation in conversation and you’re ready to level up, check out Gender Avengers. They have this great app that creates pie charts in real time to highlight the gender diversity (or lack thereof) in things like news articles and panels at conferences.
Tell the world your preferred pronouns
It’s no secret that cis and straight are considered the “default” setting. But as anyone who falls outside the “norm” knows, coming out as different isn’t fun. For all those allies out there, you can help make the process a little less challenging by declaring YOUR preferred pronouns. It could be just mentioning it casually during an introduction with a new acquaintance or adding “she / her” to your Twitter bio. By making it part of your everyday conversations, you’re helping shift the experience for trans people who declare their pronouns on the daily.
Make a donation to a #girlboss organization
Women across the country are doing amazing things everyday to engage their communities around the issues that matter most. But those clipboards cost $$$. Small donations can go a long way in grassroots organizing, so consider making a donation in honor of #WomensEqualityDay… might we suggest The United State of Women?
Let babies eat in peace
Even though breastfeeding in public is lawful in 49 states, moms still catch grief when breastfeeding… which is all kinds of ridiculous. We’ve seen local businesses put up “Breastfeeding Welcome” signs to let moms know their kids are free to eat in peace. If you see a mom who is breastfeeding, here’s a groundbreaking idea: don’t do anything. Just treat her normally. But if she happens to be getting harassed, voice your support to her.
If you have 10 minutes:
Help change the culture around sexual assault on college campuses
1 in 5. We all know the stats. #ItsOnUs to change them. The It’s On Us campaign works with more than 500 college campuses across the country to change the culture around sexual assault. Take the pledge and share it on social media! Then check out JoJo Rings – $5 of every order goes to It’s On Us during the month of August through their #KeysForChange initiative. Help support the #ItsOnUs movement AND a female small business owner → ItsOnUs.org/#pledge + JoJoRings.com
Listen to ladies
There are a ton of podcasts out there led by women. Start following one and you may be surprised about what you learn. I’ve been loving Two Dope Queens hosted by Phoebe Robinson and #StateofWomen fave Jessica Williams. When you need others (because one just won’t be enough) check out these lists from Bust and MAKERS.
Help young women become better prepared for higher education
Adulting is hard. Just ask my mom – the woman who reminded me to sign up for the SATs, fill out my FAFSA form, triple check college application deadlines. Moms are great! That’s why the First Lady’s #BetterMakeRoom project has launched an amazing tool called UpNext that helps students stay on track when preparing and applying for college – all via personalized text reminders. Up Next even helps recent grads navigate the world of student loan repayment! Share this tool with the next generation of graduates in your life – all they have to do is text “COLLEGE” to 44044.
If you have an hour:
Schedule a well-woman visit
Like most millennials, I’m guilty of only making a doctor’s appointment when it’s direly necessary. But it’s important to make your health a priority. Get in the habit of scheduling a “well woman visit” which is kind of like an annual physical with a fancy name. Besides checking your vitals, the physical will also screen for health problems unique to women. Before your visit, take control of your breast and ovarian health with Bright Pink’s handy quiz.
Put your purse to work
36% of privately-held businesses are women-owned, but generate only 11.9% of revenue. One way to empower women is by shopping at women-owned businesses. Not sure how to find out? Some larger companies have certifications but for small shops - just ask! Same goes for Etsy stores. When you shop, you’re giving a stamp of approval to that business so stamp wisely.
Make time for self-care
After a day of dealing with mansplaining, catcalling, or just listening to the news, it’s important to prioritize self-care. Take a social media break. Turn off email notifications. Do some sun salutations. Go outside and take a walk. Facetime an old friend and chat over a glass of wine. Eat something that nourishes your body and your soul. Make some time for yourself and don’t feel guilty putting yourself (and your mental health) first.
Negotiate your salary
You’ve heard it before - women don’t negotiate when they’re offered a job, but men do. These little bumps can lead to huge financial gain over a lifetime. So the next time you’ve scored a new gig or are about to reach a milestone at work - just do it. There are a lot of tips out there (these 37 from Muse are our favorite) but the basic steps are to do your research about what others at your level get paid, document your successes, ask higher than you’d be happy with, and be enthusiastic and positive during the process.
Educate yourself #IntersectionalFeminismAtItsFinest
Today I was watching Amandla Stenberg and Gloria Steinem chat about feminism and I was really inspired by the realness of their conversation. Watching two feminists from different generations talk about the intersectionality of the movement made me want to be a better feminist. One way to strengthen the feminist movement is to educate yourself on how to be an ally to the people on the frontlines of social change – get acquainted with the best ways to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement if you’re not a person of color or read up on the best ways to celebrate Pride as a straight-ally. We really do stand stronger when we stand together (h/t to the First Lady).
Power to the period
Shout out to Fu Yuanhui, the Chinese swimmer who broke taboos by talking about her period during an interview at the Olympics. It’s time to make life easier for the uterus-owners and one sure fire way is to make menstrual products more accessible! This could be as simple as remembering to include menstrual products next time you donate to a women’s shelter.
Put your clothes to better use
Why keep that third navy blazer in the back of your closet when it could be helping another woman get a new job? Take an afternoon to clean out your closet and donate your clothes to your local Dress For Success, Goodwill, or women’s shelter.
If you want to stay engaged:
Support companies with positive advertising
Want to see more real women when you flip through magazines, wait at the bus stop, or drive past billboards? Make a commitment to buy from companies with empowering, realistic advertising instead of photoshopped robots. Think of how many future generations you’ll be helping with your push toward body-positive images!
Support females in film
Movies inspire us and give us some of our first role models. Let’s help little girls realize that being a princess is only one of a million different dreams they can have. Support strong women-led films with your wallet! Decisions in Hollywood are driven by the box office numbers – especially the returns from opening night and opening weekend. Luckily, we can drive these numbers up by rounding up our #girlsquads (and male allies!) to support and see movies the opening weekend. So if you haven’t seen Ghostbusters yet, do yourself a favor and see it because it’s generally an amazing movie – and look out for these releases coming up soon: Equity (female lead and director), The Intervention (female leads, writer, and director), Moana (female lead) and so many more!
Feminism in the workplace
This is how we close the pay gap. 👏🏾 This is how we get more women in boardrooms.👏🏽 This is how we make sure maternity leave is inclusive. 👏🏼 This is how we remind that guy in staff meetings to stop interrupting his female colleagues. 👏🏽 This is how we break glass ceilings. 👏🏾 But what can we actually do to create a more inclusive work atmosphere? Anything from adopting gender neutral bathrooms, to starting a movement to get your non-profit to pay its interns, to having open dialogues about salaries, to switching shifts with a coworker so she can catch her daughter’s soccer game – little things make a huge difference.
And last but not least - get active!
The greatest change you can make is to pursue your passions - even if it’s just in your free time. Use the list below as inspiration and get googling, find your niche, and bring your friends! The best way to bring about sustained change is to get involved and stay involved.
If you care about...
Economic Empowerment: Join your local #Fightfor15 campaign.
Health & Wellness: Become a clinic escort or volunteer at your local Planned Parenthood.
Educational Opportunity: Lend a hand to younger women making their way in the world by volunteering your time as a mentor. Mentoring Connector Database can link you up with opportunities in your area – everything from first-generation students to LGBT youth to single parenting, they’ll get you set up!
Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Start a micro-investing club with your friends and give to some amazing female entrepreneurs from around the globe at Kiva.org with just $25 to start.
Violence Against Women: The National Sexual Assault Hotline helps thousands of women each year who are in need of immediate assistance. Become a hotline warrior or volunteer in your community by checking out RAINN.
Leadership & Civic Engagement: Join the fight for immigration reform at fwd.us or help others register to vote. There are many organizations that hold voter registration drives – lucky for you, those will literally be held every weekend between now and November 8th!
There are so many ways to flex your feminism. Tell us how you’re celebrating Women’s Equality Day the comments and keep fighting the good fight for the #StateofWomen!