For far too many years, Women’s History Month hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention, but that certainly isn’t the case in 2017. Two months ago, women and men in all seven continents participated in Women’s Marches to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. And that was just the beginning — on International Women’s Day (March 8th), women took part in “A Day Without a Woman,” a demonstration of economic solidarity organized by the Women’s March on Washington.
Nearly every day, there’s another piece of horrifying news that has scrambling to call our congresspeople — and it’s often because women’s rights are under fire.
We need to be vigilant and informed for the next four years, and for the rest of our lives. We can’t afford to be silent or turn a blind eye.
Here are five actions you should take before Women’s History Month is over — and then keep on fighting the good fight in April and beyond.
1Spend a day volunteering
If finding a women’s-related volunteer gig has been on your “to-do” list for several weeks but keeps getting pushed back thanks to a million obligations, make it a goal to find your organization of choice by the end of Women’s History Month. There are many options, so you can choose based on the issue you’re most passionate about.
National organizations like Planned Parenthood and RAINN can always use our help, but you can focus locally, too, by finding the nearest women’s shelter or mentoring program aimed at underprivileged girls. We recommend checking out VolunteerMatch, a database that allows you to search for volunteer opportunities based on your location and areas of interest.
2Make a donation to a women’s organization
Depending on your financial situation, make a donation to a women’s organization if you can. (And remember — every single dollar counts and makes a difference.) Again, donate based on your passion — whether it’s the National Organization of Women, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Global Fund for Women, RAINN, Emily’s List, or The Women’s Refugee Commission, there are no shortage of places that need our financial support in order to continue their amazing work on behalf of women.
3Shop at a female-owned business
Instead of heading to your favorite chain clothing store, coffee shop, or restaurant, spend your money at a business that’s owned or run by women. The theme for 2017 Women’s History Month is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” — so, whenever you need to make a purchase, try to do so at a woman’s business.
4Read feminist memoirs and essays
There are plenty of amazing feminist books out there, both fiction and nonfiction, and now’s the time to use reading as a way to educate yourself about a women’s issue that doesn’t happen to be your area of expertise. For many of us, this means reading books that’ll help us practice intersectionality.
White feminists should make an effort to read memoirs and essays by women of color, and cis women can increase our understanding of trans women by reading books like Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. If you’re one of the many women who’s recently been inspired to run for office, check out memoirs by female politicians — Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand is an ideal read for anyone who’s considering a major career change.
For more feminist book recommendations, click here.
5Celebrate the women in your life
As we honor the incredible women who paved the way for us — and those who currently dedicate their lives to women’s causes — let’s not forget to celebrate all the women in our lives who have inspired, supported, and empowered us. There’s never a wrong time to let them know how much they mean to us, but let’s use Women’s History Month as an opportunity to thank the relatives, friends, teachers, and professional mentors who have changed our lives. Schedule time together if you live close by — if not, send a card or make a phone call to express your gratitude. Our biggest supporters deserve some major recognition for helping shape us into the women we are today.