Hey Lane Changers,
It recently occurred to Emily and I that there are a few things we tend to take for granted. Like being able to vote, purchase property, gain employment and choose who we want to be with. 100 years ago many of these things wouldn’t have been possible. And that’s only changed thanks to the generations of women before us who recognised their own worth, and the men who saw their potential.
The work is far from over. In many countries, women still don’t have the same opportunities as men. And they need all the support they can get.
That’s why this week – a week that includes International Women’s Day (8 March) – we’re taking action and doing our bit for womenkind by giving the ladies some love. And so can you … guys included! Add yourself to our Facebook event page, or fill out the pledge below. Then complete one or more of the actions listed below.
Be sure to send in your updates, tweets (#ladylove), photos and videos telling us about the actions you completed! And spread the word by using the following icon as your profile image (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.) for the duration of this week or sharing this page with your friends.
Complete these actions:
1. Share with us your lady heroes
We all have a woman in our life who has inspired us. It might be your grandmother who at sixteen emigrated and built a whole new life in a foreign place. Or maybe it’s a sister, aunt or friend who every day boldly takes on life with a kind of style and grace that amazes you. And maybe you don’t even know the person: it could be a scientist, an artist, an editor, a CEO, a professor – you name it.
But the one thing these women have in common is that they are embodying an awesomeness that we should tip our hats off to.
Head to our Facebook event page and upload an image and a caption as to why you’ve nominated them.
Alternatively, you can celebrate a “lady hero” that isn’t even a lady! If you want to honour a guy who has done his fair share for womankind – maybe your Dad who raised his daughters to be awesome – we’d love to see those as well.
2. Mentor a woman
In 2010, only 15 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list were headed by women. And according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up just 25.4% of chief executives in America. (And things aren’t much better in the UK). It’s an improvement on the past, but still far from parity.
The answer? Give working girls a leg-up through mentorship.
And you don’t necessarily have to be a CEO or in senior management (although that would be great too!) Maybe you’re a great freelancer or small business owner. Even if you’re in a junior role, you have skills and advice you can pass on to an intern or student. Together we can build a generation of women who are confident, skilled and make smart career decisions.
Get started with this great post from writer Rachel Hills about mentor relationships.
3. Support women overcome adversity
Global poverty and women’s rights is an issue that goes hand in hand. Despite the fact that women make up 50% of the population, they comprise of over 70% of those living in extreme poverty. Many women face a future with little opportunity. They might be married at 14, pregnant by 16, and without any educational prospects they, and their daughters, become trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Watch this fantastic video from The Girl Effect to understand the situation better, and donate to one of their many projects around the world that works to improve the lives of girls in poverty by keeping them at school. Meanwhile microfinance organizations like Kiva enable women to start their own businesses with huge flow-on effects into their family and community.
Here are a few other organizations you can consider donating to or becoming involved with: Girl Effect, Give2Girls, Global Fund for Women, UN Women, Say No (End Violence Against Women), Opportunity International, Miss Representation, Zonta.
4. Don’t be afraid of the F-word
Feminism doesn’t have to be a dirty word, nor does it have to be a women’s only club. In fact, achieving women’s rights wouldn’t be possible without male feminists. And feminism doesn’t require you become a full-time activist. It could start off with something as simple as reading a blog post or watching a video that tackles women’s issues or female identity.
Here are a few places to get you started: Jezebel (blog), Feministe (blog), Bitch Magazine, Miss Representation (doco), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on why we have too few women leaders (TED talk).
5. Speak out! The world is listening
A lot of us take women’s rights for granted, but on March 8, why not dedicate one blog post, one Facebook status, one tweet, one email, or one conversation to a gender related issue that matters to you. You could use it to promote a women’s organization that you think is doing great work. Or maybe talk about some aspect of our world that you believe gives women the raw deal, and make suggestions as to how to make it better.
Flyer designed by Julia Guo.