How to Spend Yourself on International Women's Day (Quick, Easy, and Do-able Ideas for Action)
We all have an afternoon and evening to plan how we’ll honor International Women’s Day (which is tomorrow). I will be doing so by meeting with women I respect and admire throughout the day then volunteering at Rahab’s Sisters in the evening. I’m going to paste rahab’s mission statement below because it is deeply inspiring to me and i hope it will be to you as well.
I would love to challenge you to sit for five or ten minutes in silence. Use the time to think through the women in your life who have empowered, nurtured, or contributed to you/your journey over the course of your life. Write down the names as they come to you. As each person comes to your mind, actively pray for them and/or send love and care their direction. If time and resource allow, find a way to actively recognize one (or more) of them. Post a tribute on their social media accounts, affirm them via text, go write “you are incredible” in side walk chalk at their home or office, bring them a treat, or make a contribution on their behalf to a charitable work that they appreciate.
Don’t let the feeling that your offering won’t be enough stop you. Don’t let the thought that you don’t have time stop you. Do the work of actively valuing the women in your story right now. Especially those who go unthanked, unrecognized, underpaid, and/or disbelieved.
Other (simple) ways to invest your self on International Women’s Day:
Seek out women owned businesses to frequent on Friday (and beyond). In many geographic locations a simple Google search of “women owned businesses near me” will give you all you need to know.
Offer a loan to a female owned business near you or on the other side of the country. Check out Kiva’s Women’s Day action to participate. I cannot recommend this highly enough!
Spend any time you would normally spend mindlessly scrolling through news or social media feeds investigating charitable actions being taken for the benefit and/or promotion of women around the world. Educate yourself. If you find a need or a public work that sparks your interest, makes your angry (for all the right reasons), or breaks your heart, introduce your friends and family to it via social media or email.
Affirm women for more than their appearance and/or care giving traits. Think deeply about what you appreciate about the women you encounter throughout the day. Prepare your self with a list of words you can use to verbally affirm the women you encounter. If you really can’t bring yourself to say the words, “I appreciate your (fill in the blank with one of the words to follow).” then carry note cards and write them for those you encounter. Words like: tenacity, brilliance, persistence, strength, authenticity, determination, adventurousness, articulateness, leadership, and more should be on your list. (For an even more in depth list, check here.)
Interact with young girls in a way shows them respect and affirms who they are rather than how they look or act. Speak up to them. Get down on their level and make eye contact. Ask them before you hug them. Watch for, and edit out, the ways that you refer to their appearance in passive ways. Pay attention to what matters to them and ask questions. Respect them.
Commit to donating time, money, or influence to creating greater gender equity in a tangible way. Get creative. Ask others how they are doing this. Then put time for it on your calendar for the next few weeks. Here’s just one place you might start your search to learn more about gender equity.
Rahab’s Siters (Incredible) Mission Statement (May it inspire your own form of radical hospitality tomorrow):
Rahab’s Sisters creates community through radical hospitality with those marginalized by poverty, houselessness, sex work, violence or substance use.
Every Friday we open our doors to anyone who identifies as a woman, or whose gender identity makes them vulnerable. All are encouraged to come as they are to share a homemade meal seated together. We offer basic supplies like underwear, tampons, soap, and other hygiene essentials. But the real story of Rahab's Sisters is the community we create together every week through activities, conversations, and human connection.