Since the age of 14, I’ve called myself a “feminist”. Throughout my school years I listened to empowering pop songs and complained about the injustice of the female school dress code (albeit mainly because I had a pair of Miss Selfridge shorts that I wanted to be able to get use out of on tag days). I wore my metaphorical feminist badge with honour and I’m proud that I was a self-proclaimed advocate for equality at such a young age. However, I like to think that I’ve grown a lot since 2011. In those years I’ve been constantly learning and unlearning. In fact, I still am. It’s a journey that’s meant my feminism is no longer confined to my country, my age and to those problems that directly affect me.
Every year I love celebrating International Women’s Day, not just because I enjoy waving the feminist flag, but because I think it’s a great time to think about how we can cultivate a feminism that is more aware and intersectional. This year’s theme – Press For Progress – is all about motivating and uniting at a time when it isn’t exactly easy being a woman. So, with that in mind, I thought I would share with you some things that you can do today to make the world a slightly better place for womankind.
1. Support Slow Fashion
The fast fashion industry has continually shown us that it places huge profits over the rights and safety of its female garment factory workers. Sure, tonnes of hightsreet brands are selling “feminist” slogan t-shirts, but very few of them embody that message, as I’ve spoken about before. Women are being underpaid, overworked and mistreated all over the world just for the sake of super cheap clothing that is made to be worn a few times and then thrown away. One way to help stop this is to fund the movement towards slow fashion. Brands like People Tree are dedicated to paying their garment factory workers a fair wage and to ensuring their happiness and safety at work. Charity and second hand shops can also be a great option for not supporting fast fashion whilst on a budget.
Your voice as a consumer is in your money. Use it wisely.
2. Donate sanitary products to your local food bank
The fact that we live in a country where period poverty still exists is both shocking and disgusting. But it’s happening. Girls are missing school because of it. People are forced to use tissues and socks instead of tampons and pads because of it. Even though it isn’t a first thought to donate sanitary products to a food bank, they are so needed.
And, while you’re at it, sign this petition for free period products for girls receiving free school meals.
3. Help to eradicate period poverty worldwide
Of course, period poverty isn’t only happening in the UK, it’s a global issue. Donating to charities like ActionAid can help to educate girls on menstruation, get them the supplies they need and build period safe spaces in schools worldwide.
4. Amplify the voices of women with less privileged than you
Around International Women’s Day lots of people are going to be talking about their experiences, which is great and extremely necessary. However, it’s important to dedicate yourself to not only listening to but amplifying the voices of those that are too often silenced in our society: Women of colour, the LGBT community, disabled women, plus-sized women and poor women. Everybody’s voice deserves to be heard, so let’s not let them be drowned out.
5. Sponsor a Girl
Plan International helps to stop female genital mutilation and child marriages, provide health care and education and protect female rights across the world. By setting up a sponsorship plan you could help to keep their amazing work going.
Read books that will help to keep your feminism intersectional. Watch documentaries like The True Cost or She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. Listen when the people around you talk about their experiences before butting in with yours. Being a feminist means constantly learning and adapting and we’re all on this journey together.
Happy Intersectional Women’s Day, you badass feminists you!