Time’s Up, Right?
Warning: themes of sexual assault and gender violence are embedded in this post.
March is Womxn’s History Month, and March 8th is International Womxn’s Day.
Let’s reflect on that for a second.
Womxn’s History Month. International Womxn’s Day.
Both are dedicated pockets of time where we’re encouraged to take stock of the impact womxn have on the world. (And yes, we’re spelling womxn with an “x” on purpose, in an effort to adopt language that is more inclusive where we can.)
While we love the focused intention of this dedicated day and month, we want to broaden the conversation and fully acknowledge the powerful impact womxn have throughout our lives, years, and our history. In doing so, we want to encourage you to think critically about the lens with which you view womxn’s stories. Specifically, the idea that womxn shouldn’t need to have an “impact,” in the monumental sense, for their stories to be worthy of our time.
As a social enterprise with a focus on solving for SDG 5: Gender Equality – largely because of a belief that we share with Melinda Gates: if you solve for gender equality, you help solve for many other social and environmental injustices in the world – we want to draw extra attention to some of the issues still playing out in our gender-colored world.
Issues that ultimately hold back not just half, but rather, ALL of us:
- From cycles of poverty deeply connected to child marriage and lack of access to contraceptives and family planning support,
- To sexual harassment, discrimination, bias and gender stereotyping that often prevent professional development and contribute to the gender pay gap (see our sisters on the US Women’s National Soccer Team for an example),
- To the unjust caregiving burden womxn endure in their family lives,
- To barriers to education including lack of access to period products that prevent students from attending class,
- To the underrepresentation by womxn in all positions of power, from politics to the Fortune 500,
- To the scrutiny womxn face in every aspect of their day-to-day lives,
- To, to, to….
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gender equality issues, but it goes to show that sadly, time will never be up when it comes to fighting for equality.
That said, with relation to the issues we’ve highlighted above, we can help change the future and push for equality at home, at work, and in our everyday interactions. Here’s a selection of hope-inducing campaigns, creative and successful initiatives, organizations and individuals that are helping create an empowered and equal future:
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working “to bring access to high-quality contraceptive information, services, and supplies to an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020 without coercion or discrimination, with the longer-term goal of universal access to voluntary family planning.”
- The ACLU advocates for the passage of federal legislation and executive orders that protect workers and their right to fight discrimination and reduce pay disparities.
- The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil right organization, and advocates for human rights including paid leave for caregivers and new parents.
- Style Her Empowered is a Boise-founded social enterprise working to help girls go to school and providing dignified employment opportunities for women.
- Period.Org is the largest youth-led non-profit aiming to end period poverty through advocacy, grassroots organizing and progressive legislation.
- Saalt, a Boise-based B-Corp, offers sustainable period products that engage and empower womxn around the globe through period care, education and sustainability initiatives.
- The movement “Paradigm for Parity,” a coalition of business leaders, has built a 5-Point Action Plan to help businesses tackle the issue of gender parity in corporate leadership.
- GlobalGiving highlights organizations that support womxn and girls’ causes.
- The International Women’s Day Organization calls for all of us to be #EachforEqual.
- And You.
That’s right. We believe you have the power, as a leader in a social enterprise, as a fresh graduate, as a business owner, as a human interested in building a better tomorrow, to push for progress and help us call time on the patriarchal systems that hold us all back in a wide variety of ways. Every day, you have an opportunity to ensure your actions, your words, your company policies and culture, however large or small, are working to dismantle gender stereotypes, empower womxn, and to pave the way for a future we’re all proud of.
So, let’s make it more than a day, a month, or even a year where we recognize, celebrate and elevate womxn. Let’s make it a way of life.