7 Things You Can Do to Champion Women in 2016

Wednesday, January 06, 2016 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
By Rebecca Ruiz from mashable.com


These are just a few examples of the groundswell of support for gender equality. There are no signs of the momentum slowing, but it can be difficult to know which efforts to prioritize.

To help focus your attention, we've chosen seven ways to support women in 2016:

1. Include all women.

Feminism lives up to its promise of equality when those who practice it understand how race, class, religion, education, sexuality and other factors affect a woman's experience in the world.

On too many occasions, well-meaning activists have fought for equality without considering how their efforts might not help or even further marginalize certain women. A white, straight woman working a corporate job, for example, can fight for equality in the workplace, but that's likely to mean something entirely different to a low-income, queer woman of color making an hourly wage.

2. Hear all women.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina raised a complicated question this year: Can you champion women but not the policies that arguably lead to greater equality and autonomy?

Fiorina, for example, has said she wants women to live they life they choose, yet she also opposes abortion and federal paid leave.

While one might disagree with Fiorina's solutions to many of the problems women face, it's important to take her views seriously — and, in general, those of women whose politics don't align with traditional feminism. Like Fiorina, they may think deeply about what it means to empower women, and that is worth discussing.

Achieving gender equality will be impossible if we can't listen to all women who care about these issues.

3. Fight for reproductive rights.

Next spring the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case in a decade.

Research shows, however, that women's lives are greatly improved, particularly in terms of education and income, when they can control their reproductive health.

4. Press for paid family leave.

While many nations are proud to give new mothers get paid leave, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world without a law guaranteeing that benefit. Only 12% of workers have access to paid leave through their employer. Federal law providing 12-weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave covers just 59% of workers.

But research shows that when women have access to paid leave, they remain in the workforce and may even earn more.

5. Insist on equal pay.

You've probably heard the stat before: On average, American women make $0.79 for every dollar a white man earns. Most women of color make even less. In the UK, the mean average pay gap is 14%.

The numbers are striking, but the pay gap isn't as simple as it seems.

Women typically make less than men for a number of reasons. They face pressure to reduce their hours or quit the workforce once they become parents. They are concentrated in traditionally feminine jobs like nursing, teaching and childcare, which often pay substantially less than fields dominated by men.

You can start making a difference by raising awareness of the issue, asking for greater workplace transparency on pay and, if you're a manager, ensuring that male and female employees with the same qualifications and experience are compensated equally.

6. Champion LGBT equality.

Discrimination and bias has far-reaching consequences even if you don't identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A workplace, for example, that's hostile to people of different sexual and gender identities isn't a fair or equal one.

Even though gay and lesbian couples won the right to same-sex marriage this summer, they still don't have legal protection from discrimination in many states across the country.

Fighting for LGBT equality, in the U.S. and abroad, makes it possible for the movement to help allwomen.

7. Embrace the words "feminist" and "feminism."

Feminism remains a dirty word in many quarters. But simply put, the movement is about equality of opportunity.

Each time you embrace the label and demonstrate its meaning and potential, you make it easier for others to do so as well.

If you need inspiration, just watch this video of Malala, a Pakistani activist for girl's rights, explaining how she came to embrace the word feminist.

Read the entire article at mashable.com

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