21st January, 2017. A day that will go down in history as the biggest display of support and solidarity for women the world has seen to date. While numbers are notoriously difficult to gauge, it has been estimated that around 4.2 million attended the marches in the US alone, not including the millions of others estimated to have participated globally.
The internet is awash with statistics about the inequality of the sexes, from the ever apparent pay gap to the reproductive rights of women, but Women’s March 2017 seemed to be about more than just pay inequality; it represented a growing injustice to women and men of all calibre with support not limited to LGBTIQ and racial discrimination.
This was a march of the people.
Much of the focus of this particular demonstration has been in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency and his attitude towards women. Barely a week into office, the Trump Administration has already passed an executive order preventing any US funding towards United Nations organisations that support family planning by reinstating what is known as the Mexico City policy. According to the BBC, Congress “has signalled its intention to withdraw federal funding from Planned Parenthood, a group that provides reproductive health services in the US and overseas”, a move that would further endanger the lives of women.
It has since been reported that the Netherland’s and Canada are among two nations considering an international fund to fill the financial hole created by this order, a promising sign that this collective empowerment is catching not just on the ground but in the offices of politicians also.
In the aftermath of such historic events, it’s often difficult to know what to do next. You’ve shown up, either physically or in spirit to protest, you’ve felt the swell of pride at how many likeminded souls care as much as you – now what?
To aid those feeling confused about how to help but fired up and ready to go, we have compiled a list of five things you can do post march to support the rights of women globally:
1 / Research: Start with you
We can’t improve the future if we are unaware of what we are striving to improve. Organisations such as womankind.org offer a multitude of resources that can help educate on facts and figures and a more comprehensive list of how to actively be involved in fostering change.
2 / Educate: Start with those closest to you
So now you’ve read up on the facts and know the importance of researching around the issue, why not try sharing with family members and close friends. How much do they know about the state of women’s rights in the world? At Desideratum HQ, we believe it is important not to preach, but to offer a discussion and healthy debate around topics that inspire others to look internally and think about their own daily actions, big or small. The more people aware of the issue, the more people are likely to engage and seek to collectively enforce change.
3 / Smart Shopping
There are many reasons to be conscious of what and where you buy, and the livelihoods of women are certainly one of them. You can do your own research into ethically friendly companies, but here are a few links to get you started:
– These tote bags by The Tote Project are made in support of the many victims still affected by modern day slavery. Produced by women in India who have sought freedom from the sex trade, 20% of donations also go to victims of human trafficking in the US. Make sure to check out their amazing work.
– The Ethical Consumer is a website dedicated to just that. Check out this buyers guide to know the ethical rating of the clothes you’re buying.
– You may have seen MADE jewellery in high street retailers such as Topshop, but did you know that all their products are ethically made in Kenya? Supporting both men and women, MADE not only uses sustainable materials but also provides long term employment for the locals by teaching them new skills in their workshops.
– Give as you Live is an online shopping portal where you can shop your favourite stores whilst raising money for Women for Women International simply by using the site. Sign up and do some good whilst doing your shopping, no extra hassle.
4 / Volunteer
Your time is one of the most valuable possessions. Now you’ve started watching where your money goes, be mindful of how you spend your time. Organisations such as Solace Women’s Aid, Refuge, Women’s Aid, Women Kind and many more are always looking for extra support to help ensure their vital services remain available, with even just an hour or two a week making a huge difference. If you can’t commit to volunteering, why not try fundraising in your local community? We have a feeling cake will always go down well.
5 / Donate
We left this one till last as not all of us are in a position to financially support causes that we care about, but if you are in such a position, even just £1 can dramatically improve the lives of others when accumulated collectively with the donations of others. Here are some organisations you can donate to where your money goes directly to helping those affected:
Global Fund for Women
Women for Women
Be the change you want to see.