International Women’s Day and Paying it Forward

International Women’s Day was originally meant to be a day of collective action.

The only thing I hate worse than a total lack of support for women is a lack of support for women that is coupled with lip service from politicians and companies.

Like Mother’s Day. Sure, on Mother’s Day we take our moms out for brunch, or finally remember to call them, or send them flowers and cards. Which are honestly all great things! We should probably do them more often. Our mothers didn’t strangle us when we were children. We owe them. (Unless, of course, your mother is toxic and all of this enforced love is traumatic and harmful to your progress. In that case, forget your mother. Love is a process, not an obligation. I’m getting on a tangent….) Mother’s Day also allows all sorts of politicians and business to tweet about how they loooove mothers, and think mothers do amazing work. Then they turn around and pass legislation that makes it harder to be a single mother, or refuse to improve their maternity leave, or refuse to raise wages to a point where parents aren’t trapped in the insane situation where it actually makes more financial sense for one parent to give up on their dreams and stay at home than to try and be a two-income household that also pays for childcare.

This is the case with International Women’s Day, too. Google does a cute Google doodle, but has a serious gender and pay imbalance. Politicians and companies use the opportunity to spout their love for women, but few put their money and policies where their mouth is. So it falls to us to do what we can to make sure women are actually supported on International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day was originally meant to be a day of collective action, where women would strike, march, etc. But that’s harder to accomplish in this day and age, and speaking as someone with a mobility issue, marching is not always my best method of showing effort.

So for the past few years, I’ve made International Women’s Day a Pay it Forward day. I take a certain amount of money, and split it in half. One half goes to female artists of various types—authors, painters, crafters, etc.—and the other half goes to women-led or women-friendly causes, like Planned Parenthood, She Should Run, etc. In this way I feel like I am actually supporting women, both on the local level and on a systemic level.

I would like to ask you, my readers, to do something similar. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary. But do something to support the female creators and female causes in your life. Tell an artist friend you love their work. Write a note to a hardworking female state Senator to let her know that you recognize her effort. Figure out some way to make International Women’s Day (and Women’s History Month in general. Did you know it was that too? Yeah.) a day where you support women.

Signed: Feminist Fury

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Featured image depicts an International Women’s Day protest from 2017, featuring meany people holding many signs marching in the streets. Source: Molly Adams, CC BY 2.0

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