The 5 Steps I'm Taking to Celebrate Women in My Community Right Now
If this past year has shown me anything, it's that women showing up and supporting other women is now more important than ever. Women around the world have made some incredible progress: the US elected the first woman vice president, New Zealand appointed its first indigenous woman to foreign minister, and Scotland made period products free in all public buildings.
Whether it's buying from women-run businesses or reading books authored by Black women, this year, I'll be focusing on small, actionable ways I can promote gender equality within my community. Let me preface this by saying I'm definitely not perfect and always learning — so with that in mind, I will be using this guide as a way to hold myself accountable. Scroll through for my five action items, and maybe you'll be inspired to create your own.
Set Up Recurring Donations
Over the past year, my social media feeds have been flooded with organizations and causes to support, and I've found it to be a bit overwhelming to figure out where to give my money. Instead of making random one-off donations, I'm planning to set up a recurring monthly fund toward nonprofits that aid women in my community. My first step will be looking at my budget to determine how much I can afford to donate each month. By setting up continued donations to a few select organizations, I can maximize my contribution's impact and really commit to a cause.
Shop Women-Owned Businesses
Purchasing power has social impact. Deciding to spend my money at local businesses instead of national chains directly benefits my community, and it's a tangible and consistent way to support women-run companies. Plus, who doesn't love discovering new brands? So whether I'm looking for another loungewear set or a replacement for my chipped coffee mug, I will make it a priority to shop from local BIPOC-owned and women-owned businesses.
Donate Period Products to People Experiencing Homelessness
People experiencing homelessness lack access to this basic necessity: menstrual hygiene products. On my monthly drugstore trip, I plan to buy extra period products to assemble packages with tampons, pads, and wipes to donate to local homelessness shelters. I'll even encourage my friends to join in by hosting a Zoom packing party, complete with tunes and snacks.
Stock Community Fridges
When the pandemic started, local businesses and organizers set up community fridges in my neighborhood to combat food insecurity. On my grocery runs, I buy extras of the items on my shopping list, then drop them off in the fridge on my walk home. Even though it's a small act, it's one that directly affects people in my area. This summer, I plan to get more involved by volunteering to distribute produce across fridges throughout different neighborhoods.
Read (and Buy) Books Authored by Black Women
Literature is one of the best ways to celebrate Black stories. And while learning about the history of racism is essential, it's also important to read books that highlight all elements of the Black experience, not just stories that centralize Black trauma. Black women's voices have been chronically underrepresented in literature for so long that I need to make a conscious effort to seek them out. This year, I will add books authored by Black women to my must-read list and shop from Black-owned bookstores.