I don’t “celebrate” International Women’s Day because I think every day is a day for women. I don’t march because I have no faith that a single day of marching makes a damn bit of difference. Remember that big Climate Change Awareness march? The one where hundreds of folks took to the streets? What changed?
Emma Watson is staging an International Women’s Day event for Sunday, March 8 and she wants to know what we all will do to promote gender equality. There are many events scheduled worldwide to promote and celebrate an event that got its start in 1909.
While annual events are nice, it’s the day in, day out things that make change happen. That’s how we ended the Vietnam War; we didn’t speak out on one day in March, rather we didn’t stop talking until we had our troops home. Make a list, people. Get out and start doing small things every day and if you’ve got a huge audience like Emma has, use it.
Here’s what I do to promote gender equality and fair treatment of women:
- I buy my coffee from the only coffee cart I know in New York that is run by women. Two women, in all kinds of awful New York weather, serve coffee and fresh goodies from a tin cart in Queens.
- I buy scarves from a group of former American service members who are advancing women’s crafts in Afghanistan, through their initiative called Flying Scarfs.
- When we travel, I look for businesses run by women. This was a challenge when we were in Morocco a couple of years ago, but we did find two shops staffed at least by women and that’s where I shopped.
- I write. I write about inequality and I try to shine a little bit of light on dumb things like the ads for chocolate that only target women — women looking dreamy and stoned, women skipping down the street – as if it were a narcotic and not a sugary snack. My daughters are starting to comment on this kind of advertising now, too.
- I say, “How come?” a lot. Like how come there aren’t any women in this, how come Hollywood pays Jennifer Lawrence less, how come women TV journalists in New York all wear stretch jersey dresses? This stuff bothers me.
- I feel obligated to lead by example so I support my colleagues. I know women who are musicians – I go to their concerts. I know women who are poets and novelists – I buy their books. I know women who host events – I go and when I can’t get there, I donate. Not much, unfortunately, but it’s something.
- I raised four children: three girls and one boy. They all want to know why we have Viagra and Cialis but no cure for breast, uterine, or cervical cancer.
What do you do?
What do you do on any random Tuesday to promote gender equality?
Anne Born is a New York-based writer who has been writing stories and poetry since childhood. She blogs on The Backpack Press and Tumbleweed Pilgrim and her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one. She is the author of “A Marshmallow on the Bus” and a photographer who specializes in photos of churches, cemeteries, and the Way of St. James in Spain. Most of her writing is done on the bus. www.about.me/anneborn. You can follow Anne on Wattpad, Instagram, and Twitter at @nilesite.
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