International Women’s Day, 2017

Shared article: http://www.upworthy.com/21-ways-to-participate-in-womens-strike-even-if-you-cant-take-off-work?g=2&c=ufb1

Can’t take off for the Women’s Strike? Here are 21 ways to show your support.

On March 8, 2017, A Day Without a Woman, an international women’s strike will take place.

In the spirit of the highly successful Women’s March on Jan. 21, the International Women’s Strike was organized to raise awareness of the seen and unseen ways women and girls contribute to the economy, all while receiving lower wages, enduring toxic and unsafe work environments, and facing discrimination.

Thousands gather at City Hall for the San Francisco Women’s March. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

If you’re professionally and financially able to take off work and step away from home responsibilities, do so.

Organizers also encourage participants to avoid emotional labor and shopping for one day, with exceptions for minority- and woman-owned businesses.

Of course, many women, femmes, and gender-oppressed people do not have the economic security to take off from work, child care, or home duties for a day. That’s part of the problem. Those who can strike will strike for them.

If you’re unable to take off work (or are looking for something to do while on strike), here are 21 things you can do to support the Women’s Strike.

1. Take part in an International Women’s Day event in your community.

A Day Without a Woman is held on International Women’s Day. Cities around the world are hosting events before, the day of, and the following weekend. RSVP to a local march, listening session, or talk in your neighborhood.

Women march on International Women’s Day in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Wear red to show your support.

Organizers selected red as a bold, determined color “signifying revolutionary love and sacrifice.” Need something red? Consider adding one of these red shirts to your wardrobe, as each one supports the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign.

Photo by iStock.

3. Learn more about women in the labor movement.

Understanding the vital role women play in the labor movement — particularly women of color and women living in poverty — is vital to understanding how we move forward and improve working conditions for all women. Start your research by exploring the contributions of women like Rose Pesotta, May Chen, and Hattie Canty (no relation). And check out this book about the first successful all-women sit-in.

4. Dine out at a woman- or minority-owned restaurant.

If you must shop during the Women’s Strike, support a small, woman-, or minority-owned business or restaurant. That money stays in your community and goes right into the pocket of a woman who needs it. Aren’t sure where to find woman- or minority-owned businesses? Maybe…

Photo by iStock.

5. Join or support your local women’s chamber of commerce.

Chambers of commerce work to grow, support, and sustain businesses in specific communities or run by specific populations. You can join your local women’s chamber as a community member or business owner, or see if your employer is a corporate member. Funds go to support training, business resources, marketing materials, and more. Check out and support local black, Latino, and LGBTQ chambers of commerce as well.

6. Stream films by female directors.

Support the art and stories of female filmmakers and take a few hours to watch some of their work. Some of my favorites streaming now on Netflix include “Pariah” (Dee Rees), “Paris Is Burning” (Jennie Livingston), “Clueless”(Amy Heckerling), and “Girlhood” (Céline Sciamma).

Aasha Davis (left) and Adepero Oduye in “Pariah,” 2011, ©Focus Features. Photo courtesy Everett Collection.

7. Support female artists and performers in your community.

No matter where you live, there are talented women on the rise who could use your support. Stand-up comedy, music, art, and other live performances are often free or low-cost and a great way to support the arts scene in your city.

8. Freshen up your timeline and follow female leaders, scientists, writers, and performers on Twitter.

Here’s a list of black women that fit the bill exactly. Your timeline will thank you.

Start with first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray. She’s a force for good. Photo by Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images.

9. Call or write your legislator and share where you stand on living wage, equal pay, family leave, reproductive justice, and maternal health issues.

These are not solely women’s issues; they’re issues that affect the health and success of everyone in this country. If women can’t succeed, our country won’t succeed either.  Or better yet…

10. Look up the next town hall in your area.

Take your message straight to the people in charge by seeking out and attending a town hall. If your rep hasn’t hosted one in a while, request one — and remind your representative that they work for you.

A town hall meeting with Sen. Tim Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images.

11. Contribute what you can to different women’s groups and nonprofits.

Donate your time and money to local groups empowering and uplifting women and girls in your area. If you need some ideas, check out Black Girls Code, The Malala Fund, or the National Women’s Law Center.

12. Buy a box of Girl Scout cookies.

The Girl Scouts have helped generations of girls take risks, explore the outdoors, learn new skills, and lead with confidence. Money raised from cookies helps fund these life-changing experiences. Plus, you know, cookies.

Molly Sheridan,13, and her sister Edie, 5, sell Girl Scout cookies in Chicago. Photo by Nova Safo/AFP/Getty Images.

13. You’ve got friends who should run for office. Tell them.

There are women in your life who would make great elected officials. Maybe they’re already thinking about it or maybe it’s off their radar. Mention it. Let them know you believe in them. Check out the great resources from Emily’s List, Running Start, and She Should Run for women interested in pursuing political office.

14. Find your inner RBG, or at least attempt one of her intense workouts.

At 83, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest and one of the strongest voices for women and progressive issues on the U.S. Supreme Court. She works out with a personal trainer to keep her mind and body strong so she can continue to do her job at “full steam.” Channel your inner RBG and try it out for yourself. No robe required.

Ginsburg speaks at an annual Women’s History Month reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images.

15. Celebrate the women in your life and thank them for the work they do.

A call, text, note, or high five can go a long way to let the important women and girls in your life know you see them and value their contributions to your family, neighborhood, or community.

16. Inspire the next generation of brave women with picture books.

It’s never too early to encourage children to dream, explore, and lead. Check out “The Apple-Pip Princess,” “Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter,” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer” next time you’re at the library.

“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts.

17. Donate new packages of pads and tampons to shelters.

No woman should have to choose between menstrual products and their next meal, but that’s a reality many women face when they’re experiencing homelessness. Reach out to the shelters and domestic violence resource centers in your area to learn more and drop off donations. Or connect with national groups like Support the Girls that focus largely on this issue.

18. Take a minute for yourself.

Yogurt, candle, and chocolate commercials are constantly asking women to take time for themselves, but we rarely do. Self-care and taking a moment to reflect, breathe, and relax are critical. If we don’t care for ourselves first, we can’t care for the ones we love or stay strong in the fight for equality.

Photo by iStock.

19. Be an ally for other women you work with.

Support, repeat, and give credit for good ideas in meetings like the women of the Obama administration; keep and share a running list of back-up child care providers; offer to be a mentor or listening ear to new hires; work together to push back against sexist dress codes or natural hair bias; and encourage community, not competition.

20. Watch speeches from the Women’s March to remember why you’re fighting and stay inspired.

There are plenty of videos online from the national march in D.C. and satellite events around the globe. Take a few minutes to remember the enthusiasm, unity, and revolutionary spirit of the day and use it to fuel your action going forward.

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.

21. Share why you’re striking or why you’d like to strike with your network.

Be sure to use the hashtags #DayWithoutAWoman and #IStrikeFor.

If your job isn’t secure or you don’t feel comfortable sharing online, confide in a person you trust. Telling our stories is key to helping everyone understand that our challenges, struggles, and issues are not exceptions to the rule — in fact, they’re all too common.

However you mark the International Women’s Strike, make it your own.

This is your movement, your day, your chance to take part in a global show of support for women, femmes, and gender-oppressed people. Make it your own, and make it count.

 

What Would the World Look Like If We Did Nothing?

cropped-writing-at-the-river-015.jpgThis month we celebrate Women’s History Month, and today we celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s an important day to highlight and celebrate, but it’s also a day to remember the hundreds of thousands of our sisters around the world who have been silenced with ridicule, by verbal and physical abuse, and downright censorship on this day. It’s just another day for them—a day of hiding, suffering, and of waning hope.

This morning, I shared tweets and posts on Facebook, celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD), and as the morning went on, I read articles on IWD written by women from around the world, I felt a profound sense of sadness. While I recognize the importance of highlighting the demand for equality, and I support it 100% as a woman, a daughter, sister, and as a mother of a young adult woman, I am reminded of the missing and tortured women of Tijuana, the hundreds of girls still missing in Nigeria, the disruptions of women’s day celebrations in Peking, the stoning of women in the Middle East, and the list that goes tragically on and on. Let’s not forget them on this day.

Closer to home, I am reminded of families we serve dinners to at our local shelters, and how I felt when I first discovered that dozens of the families and single women we served live in the woods on the outskirts of my town with young children. I remember the frightened faces of young women who’d entered the US illegally with young children and babies in their bellies, hoping for assistance, a kind, respectful word, and a nonjudgmental smile when they walked through the doors of the Department of Health.

I think of the women I worked with as a refugee case worker in Belgium, the counseling clients we served in our Brussels counseling center for free, and the 27 women I worked with as a Family Support Worker of a non-profit organization in Northern Virginia. I am holding them close to my heart this morning, as well as the amazing women I worked with, who continue to serve as social workers, case managers, Family Support Workers, WIC staff, nurses, and staff members at different social service offices and organizations in Fairfax County, Virginia.  I like to believe we had a common goal—to ease the lives of women and their children who were suffering. It is hard work, and I thank them all for their huge hearts and commitment.

Before I left my job at Northern Virginia Family Services, I thanked my co-workers for their tireless work and wished them well. One co-worker replied, “We do our best, but it’s only a drop in a huge bucket of needs.” It’s true, yet imagine if we did nothing. I shudder to think of the state of our world if we stood back, watched, and did nothing to help our brothers and sisters.

We must do better at home and abroad for women, for equality, and in educating young children that we are not islands–we are all brothers and sisters.

And to the women of the past, our ancestors, the women who forged the path for me and for millions of women around the world, I say thank you. To the awesome women in my family, alive and now passed on, thank you for your teachings and lessons. To my daughter, who works with young adults who’ve experienced their first psychotic episode, thank you for doing such important work. I love you. To the men and women who have mentored me, advised and encouraged me on my path, my thanks to you.

About Eleanor

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is her debut historical novel. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children, and she currently lives in West Virginia.

A DECENT WOMAN available now on Amazon 

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.

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