I grew up in a household where women’s rights was a topic of conversation frequently. My mother worked tirelessly to support women running for political office (and eventually working for the first female mayor of Houston, Texas), bring the never-passed Equal Rights Amendment into law, and invest in women. I remember her flying to the World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985 and returning more fired up than ever to fight for international women’s rights.
This has been a year in which women have spoken out in a way I haven’t witnessed since that time. Hillary Clinton was nominated by her party to run for the presidency, and she spoke vocally and often about equal pay for women, workplace issues for women, and a woman’s right to be everything she wants to become. Transgender rights became a topic of conversation. We witnessed millions of women worldwide participating in the January 21st Women’s March. The movie Hidden Figures about three African-American female scientists working at NASA during the Space War era was nominated for an Academy Award for best movie. And let’s not forget Senator Warren’s #NeverthelessShePersisted. Women are pushing against the status quo of social norms and unspoken or spoken offenses.
Today is International Women’s Day. There are numerous actions around the world that in which you can participate, and I encourage you to do so. You will find some on the International Women’s Day website , but go to any nonprofit organization working on women’s issues today and you’ll find more. The most prominent of the actions has been a call for a work strike, or A Day Without Women.
In honor of International Women’s Day, here are a few of the organizations, online campaigns, and ideas empowering women and girls that inspire me.
Actress and comedienne Amy Poehler launched this organization along with producer Meredith Walker to help young people cultivate their authentic selves. This spunky organization offers a space for young women and men to express their concerns and amplify the power of women.
This organization is dedicated to filling the technology gap and teaching young women and girls to code. There are 40,000 girls participating in local Girls Who Code clubs and summer immersion programs across the United States.
Year after year, the Because I Am A Girl international campaign continues to inspire me. Plan International’s continuing campaign focuses on a Girl’s Rights Manifesto, taking action to end female genital mutilation, holding governments to commitments, and mobilizing young leaders and activists into a movement.
The Malala Fund wants “to see a world where every girl can complete 12 years of safe, quality education.” They invest in developing country education leaders, advocate for policy changes to ensure education, and amplify girls’ voices.
In honor of International Women’s Day, you can donate to the The Malala Fund and send a Women’s Day e-card to someone you want to honor!
A few honorable mentions:
Always’ Like A Girl campaign (2014 and 2015): “Always is inviting everybody to join in to rewrite the rules and keep girls in sports.”
Dove’s My Beauty My Say campaign (2016): “Somewhere along the way, it has become the norm to judge women based on their appearance and use their beauty against them. With #MyBeautyMySay campaign we feature stories of amazing women who stood up for their own beauty. ”
The Nobel Women’s Initiative: “United to increase the visibility of women working for peace, justice and equality”
MomsRising.org: “Where moms and people who love them go to change the world.”
Our Bodies Ourselves: “Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) is a nonprofit, public interest organization based in Cambridge, Mass., that develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality.” Around the same time my mother was lobbying for the ERA, she also gave me the book Our Bodies Ourselves. This book, and the organization that grew up around it, continues to support women’s health worldwide.
Which organization or campaign that empowers or changes the lives of women and girls continues to inspire you? Share in the comments so we can all learn!