I read a quote recently in an article on Fashion Revolutions Insta page that said: “You cannot exploit women in one country to empower them in another”, Here are 12 Ways To Support International Women’s Day.
Sunday is International Women’s Day (8th March 2020) and this quote got me thinking of all the women and girls around the world who make the clothes I wear. I’ve also started to try and med/sew some of my older clothes that need a little TLC. Learning to mend is hard, there is a lot of skill that goes into it. It’s really made me appreciate the skill and effort all of these anonymous women and girls put into the clothing I wear daily. If you want to get people to understand why a $4 t-shirt in not okay, get them to make an item of clothing.
This weekend we will see brands introduce collections, slogan tees or marketing campaigns centred around female empowerment, yet sadly, the vast majority of the people who make our clothes work in less than ideal conditions, characterized by harassment and abuse, pay that falls far short of a living wage, and lack the fundamental human right to collective bargaining.
Gender is the most persistent predictor of poverty and powerlessness in our world today. Women are the powerhouses of developing countries: they produce most of the food, make up a third of the official labour force and care for families and homes. Yet they tend to have fewer rights, fewer resources and fewer opportunities to make life-shaping decisions than men. Gender remains the most persistent predictor of poverty in the world today.
Fast fashion is a real issue and proclaiming “I’m a Feminist” via a T-shirt made by a woman who is anything but empowered is, aside from hypocritical, possibly one of the most brazen examples of Western capitalist arrogance imaginable. Achieving the right to vote and equal pay took hard work and determination, and those things certainly weren’t won by wearing a $3 T-shirt that says “Girl Power”.
Sustainable manufacturing and ethical treatment of workers should come as standard, not optional. It’s no good having a few organic cotton T-shirts that can only be afforded by environmentally-minded hipsters prone to proclaiming wholeness.
“We cannot all succeed, when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai
This year’s official theme of IWD, #EqualforEqual, an equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.
Use the International Women’s Day social media card ideas below to promote awareness-raising and to declare your own commitment to #EachforEqual. Social media cards are a great resource to use on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.
2. Send a letter to a brand
The people at Fashion Revolution have even drafter one up for you to make it easy stating: “You can take part in direct action by emailing a brand (or many) on their gender equality practices in their supply chains. Not all brands will reply, and some will only offer generic, boilerplate information, but we know from our research that these kinds of inquiries from their consumers often lead to important conversations and real action taking place within even the biggest brands.”
3. Join a march
In Toronto, you can join the Rally & March organized by Women Working with Immigrant Women & IWD Toronto Organizing Committee.
- Indigenous justice
- climate & economic justice
- an end to violence and war
- Labour rights and equal pay for equal work
There are other events planned all over Canada that you can join in. Click here to take a look at what’s happening in your area.
And more events here as well.
4. Get your work to celebrate IWD
Ask female bosses to share their story, and talk to the guys in the office about why these types of conversations are necessary in the workplace. You can do this over your lunch hour or ask your boss to schedule a lunch n’ learn where you can discuss ideas of gender equality in the workforce.
5. Invite a group of friends over for a film screening on women’s issues
Here are 5 of my fav’s from Netflix
‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry‘ – a passionate picture of the history of the women’s movement and its leaders, focusing on 1966 to 1971
‘Finding Home’ – tells the story of three Cambodian women, all victims of sex trafficking.
‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’– Nina Simone is a cultural icon and a hero to many feminists. What Happened, Miss Simone? tells her story.
‘The Testimony’ – a documentary short, will help feminists get a global look at women’s issues. The film takes a look at the largest rape tribunal in Congo’s history.
‘Mission Blue’ –In this award-winning 2014 documentary, we come to know the woman who turned ocean environmentalism on its head at a time when the field was dominated by men.
6. Send an email to a female colleague that inspires you
I love this idea so much. We tend to shy away from telling people how much we respect them and their work, this is the perfect opportunity to tell a woman you admire how you feel about her. The idea is to just say something like: “Wishing you a very happy Women’s day 2020. Just wanted to thank you from bottom of my heart for all things you do! Wishing you a day filled with goodness and warmth.
7. DONTE to a local women’s shelter
Of all reported violent crime in 2016 in Canada, more than one quarter (26%) resulted from family violence. Almost 67% of family violence victims were women and girls.
Women are victims of intimate partner violence more often and more severely than men:
- 79% of police-reported intimate partner violence is against women
- Women were victims of intimate partner homicide at a rate four times greater than men
Women’s Shelters Canada is a network of 14 provincial and territorial shelter networks representing over 400 shelters across Canada. It works as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.
8. Stage an agreed early walkout
Talk to your boss first, get permission! Doing this will highlight the gender pay gap that still exists in Canada. Canada is ranked as having the 8th highest gender pay gap out of a list of 43 countries examined by the OECD, based on 2016 data. A 2015 UN Human Rights report raised concerns about “the persisting inequalities between women and men” in Canada, including the “high level of the pay gap” and its disproportionate effect on low-income women, racialized women, and Indigenous women.
9. Watch a TED Talk by amazing women
Colour bravery. A headset for brainwaves. His/her healthcare. 10 big, bold talks from female speakers can be found by clicking this link.
10. Only shop at female-owned shops for one day
When women business owners empower each other, amazing things can happen. From professional relationships to long-lasting friendships, women entrepreneurs who support one another will succeed due to these connections!
11. Make a donation to a charity in the name of a woman you love
Pick a charity you love and make a donation in that person’s name. This can be your mom, sister, BFF, granny!
12. Donate 1% of your income to Oxfam
By donating just 1% of your take-home income to Oxfam Canada each month, you’ll join a powerful movement to end poverty, fight inequality and advance women’s rights. Around the world, women perform the most work, earn less than men, do more unpaid work, and bear the brunt of the widening wealth gap. All of this is concentrating wealth in the hands of the world’s richest 1%.
Click here to learn more about this program.
Do you have any ideas on how to celebrate IWD?
Please share in the comments below.