Here’s the deal: It’s 2015, but a huge gender gap still exists in so many aspects of society. In 2014, women held only 14.6% of executive officer positions in the U.S., and only 18.5% of the seats in Congress. A recent analysis by the United Nations shows that violence against women is alarmingly high all over the world. And 31 million girls of primary school age are still not enrolled in school worldwide, with girls dropping out at a much higher rate than boys. These are just a few of the many statistics that make it clear: while we’ve made strides toward empowering women, there is still a great deal of work to be done.
No matter your gender, we need you to join the fight for equality if we want to make lasting progress. Here are some ways you can get involved:
Inform Yourself About the Issue
First, inform yourself of what we’re up against, and why equality is not only positive, but necessary. There is a plethora of important statistics about gender inequality, but there is also a good deal of research around why empowering women is good for everyone, not just women.
To start, companies with women well-represented on their boards are more financially successful than those without. In fact, an increased number of women in the workforce results in faster economic growth overall. And providing an increased number of women and girls with access to education has contributed to overall economic growth worldwide as well. Gender equality isn’t just about improving the world for women, it’s about improving the world as a whole.
Join the Conversation on Twitter
Twitter has been buzzing with conversation around women’s empowerment and gender equality this month. As we’ve discussed, Twitter can be a powerful tool for sparking global discourse about important social issues, and this is a perfect example. Thousands of people have joined in the conversation, sharing powerful thoughts about how we can move toward gender equality, what’s been holding us back, and how inequality has affected their own lives.
Some of these conversations have been centered around specific events, such as International Women’s Day – #IWD2015 – but others are ongoing indefinitely. If you want to contribute, or start a conversation of your own, start by following these hashtags:
- #GirlsVoices – Hosted by Let Girls Lead
- #NoCeilings & #NotThere – Hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative
- #ItsTime – Hosted by It’s Time Network
- #Work4Women – Hosted by We Belong Together
Attend a Rally, Event, or Conference
Throughout the month of March and beyond, a number of organizations are putting on rallies, events, and conferences focused on women’s empowerment and gender equality. These events aim to inform, engage, and inspire individuals who want to join the movement, and incite conversation that will lead to lasting change. Here are just a few:
- Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) / Beijing+20: Now through March 20th at the UN Headquarters in New York
- Women in Strategy Summit: March 19-20 in New York
- Follow on Twitter with #WomenInStrategy
- Women's Leadership Conference: March 23-24 in Springfield, MO
- It’s Time 2015 Summit: May 1-3 in Baltimore
- Follow on Twitter with #ItsTime2015
Support Organizations That Stand Up For Women
If you can’t attend one of these events, but want to show your support for the movement in a tangible way, consider making a donation to an organization that you admire. Many of these organizations that work tirelessly for gender equality are underfunded and/or understaffed, so your financial support will go a long way.
You can also further the movement by increasing awareness of the organizations you care about. Whether you spread the word via social media, or do it the old-fashioned way, the more people that know about these organizations and their work, the better.
Make Changes in Your Own Life
One of the most powerful ways you can impact gender inequity is through your own actions. If you’re part of the workforce, stand up for yourself – ask for a raise when you deserve one, and challenge unfair systems. Support other women in your workplace, and speak up when a colleague says something derogatory about women. Don’t be afraid to break glass ceilings, no matter who says you can’t or shouldn’t. If we’re going to create substantive, lasting change, women need to stand up for themselves every day. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.
What are your favorite organizations that are working for gender equality? Share with us – we’ll do our part to get the word out. Here’s how to do it: