Working for Women’s Rights
At the Women’s Aid Center, we are proud to provide women in the Chicago area a more affordable alternative to many doctors’ offices and to focus on women’s health issues. Our mission is to “provide the support and care you deserve” and we believe this kind of treatment should be available to women everywhere, regardless of age, income, marital status, race, national origin, religion… quite simply, to all women. If you are interested in joining us to support equal access to affordable health care for women across the United States, we’d like to invite you to read this post and take action in any way that you can.
How can YOU help fight for women’s rights? Here’s a list of how to get started:
This is the first step. Learn about the issues that women face in your area, across the country, and around the globe. Here are a few good resources to start with: ACLU on Women’s Rights, Human Rights Watch on Women’s Rights, and the Global Fund for Women. You may find that a specific issue speaks to you: maybe you want to focus on equal pay for equal work or ending violence against women. Or you may find that there’s not one single issue you want to focus on – they’re all important. Keep reading and keep up to date on what’s going on.
When you start to learn more about women’s rights, you may hear about legislation that is in the works, either at the local, state, or federal level. Make no mistake: your opinion matters to your elected officials. Visit their websites and read about their stances on women’s rights and legislation that affects women. These links will help you find your elected officials at the federal level: Find Your Representative and U.S. Senate. There are also a few apps you might want to check out. Vote Spotter and Countable both offer online and smart phone apps to track legislation, find out how your folks in Congress voted, and make it possible to contact your Congresspeople right from their platforms.
Pick Up the Phone
Speaking of using your phone… chances are you’ve got your phone handy right now – you might even be reading this post on it! And using your phone in the good old fashioned way (as an actual phone) is your first and best immediate tool to affect change for women’s rights. Fewer people call elected officials than email them and calls are immediately recorded while it may take longer for emails to be read. Plan ahead what you want to say so you’re not flustered when someone answers. If you call during office hours, usually a staffer will pick up the phone, or you might get an answering machine. Tell the person your name and where you live and then give them a few sentences on how you feel about women’s rights or the particular issue you are calling about. Feel free to ask them questions about what your elected official thinks and is planning to do about women’s rights.
Did you go to the Women’s March in January? Do you have a cute pink hat? That’s just the start. Local political organizations are on fire right now and while many of them are concerned with issues broader than women’s rights, that is definitely part of the platform for many groups. Check out Facebook to find an Indivisible group close to you. They are probably having meetings and events where you can go to learn more, help, and become more involved.
Donate Your Time – and Funds
While organizing and working for political change is important, so is meeting the everyday needs of women. Look for local organizations that need volunteers, from women’s shelters to abuse hotlines. VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to look for places that need your help in your area. Simply type “women” into their search engine and you’ll be given a host of possibilities. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, consider making a donation to help an organization for women. You can actually make a positive change in a woman’s life today by working with or donating to a grassroots organization.
Charity 5Ks are great. But that’s not the kind of running we’re talking about here. If you have the time and inclination, run for office. You need to be 25 years old to run for the House of Representatives and 30 to run for Senate. Age requirements for local and state offices vary. If being the one who makes the laws interests you but you don’t know where to start, here are some great organizations that support women candidates:
If you’ve done even one of the above steps, you’re now more of an authority on women’s issues than a lot of people are. Share your knowledge in a way that’s comfortable for you. Maybe that’s talking to your friends and family and getting them involved. Maybe it’s sharing information on social media. Maybe it’s offering to speak at a League of Women Voter’s meeting. One thing is for sure: information is powerful and now that you have some, it’s time to spread the love.
We’d love to hear more about the women’s rights issues you are passionate about. And if there is any way we can help you become a healthier, happier woman, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (800) 998-4751. Our offices are open 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday, and 9am – 2pm on Saturdays and we are always here to offer a safe and supportive space for women.