3 Ways to Empower Women this Women’s History Month
o, you can’t do that. As a woman, it is forbidden.”
Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Malala didn’t get the memo. They decided that enough was enough. They would not settle for the status quo and take society’s imposed rules for granted. With every spark they ignited, they brought women one step closer to a future where they could dream, receive an education, make their own decisions, be seen for their abilities, and be recognized as equal to men. These are some of many remarkable women who were the first to shatter the glass ceiling and break barriers. We can’t stop here as there is still so much to do in every corner of the world to make this a reality for women everywhere. We take up the mantle to #breakthebias.
During Women’s History Month this year, we reflect on progress made, deplore setbacks, and recommit to the struggle for women’s empowerment. Now and throughout the year, we should take time to remember the bold women who have inspired us, pushed us forward, and made us better people. Here are 3 simple ways to join the movement for women’s equality and empowerment.
1. Learn About The Issues
Modern Day Slavery
Women have been subject to biases, restrictions, lack of rights, abuse and so much more. While we have made strides in the emancipation and empowerment of women in some countries, there are many places and situations where women are still living in the dark ages.
One of worst issues is the enslavement of women and girls that happens under the radar in every single part of the globe, even right here in the U.S. Did you know that an estimated 40.3 million women, men and children are currently trapped in modern day slavery? This is not an issue of the past and is happening every minute, every day, even as you read this blog. According to the UN, the most common form and 79% of the cases involve sexual exploitation predominantly among women and girls.
If you are wondering where to start with combatting this heinous issue, you can start with recognizing the red flags that someone might be victim of trafficking. You can go more in depth with the issue with our online DEEP resources that review the 5 Key Components of Trafficking.
Forced Labour and Unethical Employment Practices
A little known fact is that forced labour is also a part of human trafficking making up 17% of the reported cases. In this situation, people are made to work involuntarily under the threat of penalty. 16 million people, especially women and children, are subject to forced labor every day.
2. Say No to Fast Fashion
“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.”
- Lucy Siegle, Author and Journalist
This buzz word comes up often and yet many people are not familiar with the domino effect it has on the planet and people. Fast fashion focuses on rapidly producing garments that copy trends, use low-end textiles and cheap labour. It has resulted in fashion moving from 4 seasons to 52 micro-seasons that first started with brands like Zara. People expect to toss clothes after a couple of wears due to the poor quality and low cost. Clothes and accessories have to be assembled at an inhuman pace resulting in 60 million+ mistreated garment workers and no quality control. Fast fashion creates an environment that enables gender-based violence, child labor, and toxin exposure just to meet the real-time demands of consumers.
As a consumer, you have the power to affect change with your wallet. When you buy with purpose, you dismantle the dehumanizing supply chains that thrive on fast fashion. This is what has turned the tides in big box brands like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 closing down hundreds of physical stores around the globe. Granted this was accelerated by the pandemic and lockdowns retail apocalypse, but the movement for sustainable, fair trade fashion had gained incredible momentum.
So make the choice to be a conscious consumer and research the brands you purchase from. Look for purpose driven brands like Made for Freedom, The Peace Collective and Pantagonia that support dignified work or employment. Organizations that work directly with those who are vulnerable or survivors of human trafficking, are enabling women to learn a trade, earn a living and access support services to keep them from falling prey to modern day slavery.
3. Appreciate and Uplift Fellow Women
While there are many issues to be solved, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history. Start by exploring where women made history across the U.S. to feel inspired and driven to continue the fight for equality and justice for women everywhere.
Recognize and appreciate your own female role models. Whether they’re your mother, grandmother, sisters, aunts, friends, or rising woman entrepreneur be sure to let these important women know how much they mean to you. Write them a heartfelt letter outlining special moments that changed your life or inspired you to be the woman you are today. Let them know you value them with a special gift that keeps giving from women-led Made for Freedom.
Let's commit to honoring and empowering women 365 days a year!
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More about the BOGO business model shortcomings:
A Better Way To 'Buy One, Give One'; Forbes
Free two shoes; The Economist
Beware companies that promote “buy one, give one” charity; VOX
Reference: Bruce Wydick, Elizabeth Katz, Flor Calvo, Felipe Gutierrez, Brendan Janet, Shoeing the Children: The Impact of the TOMS Shoe Donation Program in Rural El Salvador, The World Bank Economic Review, Volume 32, Issue 3, October 2018, Pages 727–751, https://academic.oup.com/wber/article/32/3/727/2669760