Image: there’s power in numbers. Image source.
Today is UN International Women’s Day — but it falls during a strange time to be a woman. With the recent election to power of open misogynists like Donald Trump, things seem to be going backwards in many ways right now, which is why it’s more important than ever for us women to stand together and make a difference. Collectively we can send a strong message and help to enact positive change.
So with that in mind — and particularly on this momentous day — we’re rounding up some of the best ways that you can take feminist action right now. From lobbying your local politician, to standing with your sisters on strike; it is possible to have a voice right now and to make sure that voice is heard.
1) Sign a petition to decriminalise abortion in NSW
NSW now has a Minister for Women that describes herself as ‘pro-life’. Tasmania, the ACT and Victoria have all decriminalised abortion and enacted safe access zones, but unfortunately abortion is still technically considered a crime in NSW. So if you believe that it’s time to take action and do something about this issue, then why not get behind end12.org.au? Through this organisation, you can sign the petition, share your story, or send a postcard to your MP and push for legislative change. Because there is power in numbers.
2) Volunteer to help other women in need
Volunteering to help other women in need can be one of the most rewarding ways to take feminist action on the ground. Find out how you can help out through local Women’s Community Shelters, or dedicated volunteering websites, which allow you to choose from a wide range of volunteer services. It can be as simple as doing some writing, advertising or legal work for free, if that’s your jam. Or volunteering as part of a domestic violence service, for instance. This one feels particularly necessary right now, given that one in three Australian women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
3) Lobby your local politician
The general consensus seems to be that writing an IRL letter is the most effective way to lobby your local politician — aside from a face-to-to meeting of course, but that’s not always a possibility. So according to The Refugee Council, it’s a good idea to type up your passionate letter and keep it strong but succinct. You can do this by including no more than two or three key points and really hammering them home. Then look up the mailing address of the politician in charge of your particular issue and get a-mailing. This might be the one thing for which snail mail is still the most effective method.
4) Take part in the general strike
Did you march in January as part of the Women’s March? Well now you can have the chance to take part in making another point by not showing up at all. Today, the Women’s March organisers are advocating A Day Without Women, which encourages female-identifying women not to show up to work, in a move to demonstrate the vital role that women play in both the domestic and global economy. Aside from boycotting work, you can also get involved in this one-day demonstration of economic solidarity by avoiding shopping for the day, or wearing the colour red in unity with A Day Without Women.
5) Attend the March in March Sydney
Do you feel passionate about refugee rights and want to stand up and take action? Well the people from March in March are organising a protest in Sydney on Saturday March 25 to do just that. Running from 12.30pm to 4pm in Belmore Park, this is a chance to push back against our “clown government” and their attacks on welfare recipients, asylum seekers and more. Because sometimes the very best way to take feminist action is to take to the streets and spread your message in numbers.
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