August 26, 2017, marked the 97th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s adoption into the U.S. Constitution. The date now serves as Women’s Equality Day, a time to reflect on the advancement of women’s rights and roles in our society. Women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and variations run our resistance and influence our world with strength, dignity, and intelligence, yet we haven’t yet reached full equality: sexism still exists in most aspects of our society. Organizations interested in elevating women to the social status men have enjoyed for centuries have helped fight to break down the barriers that stand in the way of gender equality. Here are 5 to support in honor of not just this day, but of celebrating women every day.
Photo: Elyssa Fahndrich on Unsplash
“White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.” Members wear white ribbons “as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls” and reach out to educate men and boys from elementary school through college as well as their teachers on how to better define masculinity and establish gender-equal schools and, subsequently, societies. This organization not only fights for women, but for men, too, by dismantling the idea of toxic masculinity perpetuated in our society that often contributes to the frequency of violence against women and girls.
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
“WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs—strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations.” The nonpartisan group fights to ensure that women-owned businesses are supported and included in national legislation by reviewing policies and how they affect women, especially in terms of their economic vitality. Women of all political beliefs and social standings are encouraged to engage politically in order to increase not only the overall economy, but also women’s ability to be self-sufficient and increase their currently lacking representation in business and government leadership.
“Equality Now learned that by directing public and media attention from all over the world on individual cases of abuse, while also advocating with policymakers and at the United Nations, we could put significant international pressure on governments to enforce and enact good laws – laws that defend women’s rights.” The global nonprofit works to ensure gender equality, protect a world where all live free of violence and discrimination, network with other activists, and listen to those who report sexist and unfair laws in order to create change. International groups of lawyers, activists, and supporters work with governments to ensure the end of practices such as inequality, sex trafficking, sexual violence such as female genital mutilation and child marriage through either abolishing old laws or by creating new ones. Equality Now has most recently enacted its Global Plan of Action to Combat Sex Trafficking and has paired with sustainable clothing company Everlane to combat the disenfranchisement of women often involved in the sweatshop system.
The Feminist Majority Foundation
“The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), which was founded in 1987, is a cutting-edge organization dedicated to women’s equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. In all spheres, FMF utilizes research and action to empower women economically, socially, and politically. Our organization believes that feminists – both women and men, girls and boys – are the majority, but this majority must be empowered.” The FMF began when a poll found that a majority of women (52 percent) identified as feminists and today, as those numbers grow, continues to engage in research and public policy development, public education programs, and grassroots organizations to empower and support women and girls in all spheres. They work to protect abortion rights and other women health’s issues, access to birth control, the rights of disenfranchised women internationally, ensure that women are included in sports and politics, and to end sweatshop practices and violence against women.
Women for Women International
“Since 1993, Women for Women International has helped more than 462,000 marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict. We serve women in 8 countries offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency.” Women for Women International strives to protect women displaced by violence by meeting with women on the ground to help empower them socially and economically. They offer classes of 25 women to build support networks, share experiences, learn critical skills such as job training, and to access resources for bettering their lives. Women learn basic business skills, receive financial support and skills to manage their money and loans, learn how to manage their health from reproductive to stress management and nutrition, and receive briefing on their rights in their country so that they may fight for them and educate other women on the issues. After graduation, the organization sets women up for continued success through job placement and engaging men as allies.
Emily Rose is 17 years old and from Athens, Georgia. Beginning in fall 2017, she will attend Mercer University. She plans to double major in Journalism and Political Science and to minor in Global Development Studies. She is a writer, musician, activist, and feminist who hopes to use her platforms to inspire positive change by providing different perspectives on the world’s political and social issues.