31 Things Every Feminist Needs To Know

“Getting involved.” This catchall phrase for philanthropy should, at least in theory, encourage us to do our part. But sometimes, settling on the so-called right contribution — much less actually executing it — feels more intimidating than empowering. This is especially true now, given we’re in the midst of national and international upheaval, much of which affects women’s rights.
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re taking the first steps — 31 of them to be exact — in the right direction. Follow along with this month-long challenge to find new, easy ways to help female-identifying people around the world throughout March, and commit to reading, doing, or learning something each day. Whether your action be as large as taking on a mentee or as small as watching a film made by a female director, you’re fueling the important, powerful movement of women helping women.
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Subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter for a daily dose of the most important news about women. This morning email covers everything from powerful women’s accomplishments (fresh inspiration on the regular!) to headlines you may have missed that directly affect your rights.
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Earn the right to call yourself an intersectional feminist by reading civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw’s renowned thought leadership on the topic. If we don’t think about all women and their circumstances, we cannot work with and for all women.
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Join Stop Street Harassment in decreasing something pretty much all of us have experienced at one point or another by sharing your story. The organization collects these tales for its blog and shares helpful resources for all women who’ve felt annoyed or straight up unsafe while traveling alone.
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According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University, women made up only 17% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2016. By shelling out to see women-led films during their opening weekends, we can help to lessen this gap in 2017. If going to the theater doesn’t work for you, stream some of the short films in Refinery29’s barrier-breaking Shatterbox series.
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Look up the contact information for your representative or senator, and reach out about an issue that’s important to you and other women. Calling is most effective, but you can also send a postcard.
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If you’ve got a decade worth of old phones stashed away in a junk drawer (just us?), go ahead and donate them to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which has teamed up with Verizon. Proceeds from the sales of these phones go to domestic-violence shelters and prevention programs nationwide.
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The best way to have women’s voices heard is to get women into the room — or in this case, the chamber. Help make it happen by working with She Should Run to take 500,000 collective steps toward electing women to office. The organization shares information about exceptional women who are currently in leadership positions and offers advice for those interested in running.
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Between March 8 and 14, enlist your friends to join or sponsor you in CARE’s virtual 10,000-step challenge, which raises money for women and girls living in poverty in places such as Ghana and Malawi. You can even sync up your fitness tracker to count steps for you.
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Dolls and tea sets only? No, thanks. Buy a gender-neutral toy for a child in your life or donate one to a deserving organization. Products like Lincoln Logs and balance bikes help girls and boys alike play creatively.
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Provide aid to victims of sexual assault and their loved ones by volunteering at a local crisis center. Busy or on an irregular schedule? This one is perfect for you. RAINN website’s search function can lead you to multiple ways to get involved, depending on your time constraints.
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Download the Countable app to stay up to date on active legislation and see how your lawmakers are voting — after all, they work for you. It breaks down each issue and lets users express their “yea” or “nay” opinions and reasoning.
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Fight the silencing of talented women writers by making your next book a frequently banned one. Better yet, get your friends on board and form a “controversial” book club.
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Each and every one of us can pinpoint a moment at which we regret staying silent. So next time you hear bigotry expressed toward other women, speak up. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a very detailed guide as to how to go about it.
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Set up an evening to host a women’s consciousness group, discuss pertinent issues, and ask anyone who is able to donate $5 to an organization that serves underrepresented women, such as Mending the Sacred Hoop. This nonprofit works to end violence against Native women while respecting their sovereignty. We also support Her Farm, which provides Nepali women and children who have escaped abusive marriages with access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity in a secure environment.
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While numbers vary from country to country, millions of girls miss up to five days of school each month simply because they are menstruating. Put your sewing skills to work by creating a washable and reusable feminine hygiene kit. Or, closer to home, contribute to #HappyPeriod, a nonprofit that provides menstrual hygiene kits to anyone that is homeless, low-income, and/or living in poverty in the United States.
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Depending on your interests, skills, and location, there are a variety of organizations that will help put you in contact with a girl in need of a supportive and reliable adult in her life. Step Up and Big Brothers Big Sisters are good places to start and even offer different options based on how much time you have available.
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According to the International Labour Organization, about 4.5 million adults and children around the world are currently trapped in sexual exploitation. Learn this signs of human and sex trafficking so you’re equipped to spot red flags. The U.S. Department of State has both tips and action steps to take in the case you encounter someone who may need aid.
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Advocacy is hard work. So today, take a moment for self-care, whether through fitness, meditation, time with friends, or anything else that calms you. You can best help others when you’re feeling strong, energized, and centered.
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Tampons and similar products are only tax exempt in a handful of states. Why? They’re inexplicably considered luxury items, not necessities, if you can believe it. Help make the case against this.
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Chances are, you already shop on Amazon on a pretty regular basis. Start supporting a women’s charity when you do it by going through AmazonSmile. The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the price of your purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
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The Representation Project uses film and media to overcome stereotypes around gender, sexual orientation, age, and more. Pledge to join the fight today, and you’ll receive information on a weekly basis about social action campaigns.
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Feminism isn’t just a women’s issue; it’s a human-rights issue. Encourage the nonbinary or male-identifying people in your life to join the HeForShe solidarity campaign created by UN Women. Subscribers receive relevant news and ideas for action.
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You know that blush you ordered, thought would look great, but never took out of the box? Donate it and other unopened beauty products to Cosmetics For A Cause, an organization that distributes makeup to women's shelters across the country.
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Photography, much like the art world as a whole, continues to be something of a boys club. Support increased visibility for female artists by signing up for the #Girlgaze newsletter. You’ll receive information on up-and-coming female artists to watch and shows to attend near you.
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For every year of school someone finishes, she stands to earn 20% more per year. An education also increases her chances of having a healthy relationship, healthy children, and her potential to enact positive change. Join She’s the First in broadcasting the power of education to improve the lives of girls around the world. The organization’s website also offers tips on holding a fundraiser for the cause.
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Today, buy a cup of coffee for a woman in line behind you. Sure, it’s a small — and inexpensive — gesture, but it can make a big difference in her day. After all, you never know what kind of circumstances someone is on her way to or from with that cappuccino.
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Next time you see a woman being harassed or followed in a public place, stand next to her or offer to walk with her. This isn’t about confronting someone — it’s about being present and being an ally.
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Here in the United Sates, one in five girls is a victim of child sexual abuse. Create a haven for young people in need of immediate help and safety by signing up the business you own or work for to become a safe place for young people. The first step is to arrange a training with Safe Place.
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Remember the feeling of being about to enter the real world and crippled with anxiety about what to expect? Reach out to the alumni office of your high school or college and ask that your email address be provided to graduating women in need of a professional mentor.
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Find a philanthropic home for that bra you bought in the wrong size by mailing it to Soma or dropping it off at your local store. Soma donates new and gently used bras to domestic-violence shelters across the country.
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No doubt that there are a whole lot of women who’ve personally inspired you. Whether it be a teacher, a relative, or a mentor, reach out via phone, email, or text to say thank you. These words and acknowledgements matter.
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