Many of us in women’s studies: students, faculty, staff, and alumnae, worry that we are not contributing directly to feminist causes. Yes, we’re studying feminism, teaching and writing about feminism, or, if we have finished our course of study at SDSU, working and raising our children with feminist values. But is it enough?
STOP! Of course it is! When you are studying, teaching, and treating others in a feminist way, that is a direct contribution to feminist activism. The classmate you confronted about sexism? Direct action. The woman coworker you spoke up for when she was constantly interrupted at a meeting? Direct action. The son you teach about women’s history? Direct action.
We as women are always feeling guilty, thinking that we aren’t doing enough to save the world. Now, that’s a good thingâ€”in some ways. The world needs a lot of help. With that in mind, if you’d like to do a little more, we have a few suggestions below.
If you have five minutes or less:
Sign a few petitions. Though petitions are often discounted as unimportant, there have been many times that they have changed election officials and companies’ actions and policies. Politicians know they need votes to stay in office, and companiesâ€”even large onesâ€”cannot afford large boycotts of their products.
- We know that Planned Parenthood has become increasingly under attack under the last several years, and they can use any support you can give. Go to their website here to add your name to their latest petition and sign up for their latest action alerts.
- Ultraviolet, a feminist activism website run by two young women of color, has been featured in the New York Times for their efficacy in stopping sexism. Take actionÂ hereÂ to join the fight!
- Madre, an international organization based in New York City, takes as its motto â€œdemanding human rights for women and families around the world.â€ Fight along with them by receiving their emailÂ alerts.
If you have ten minutes or less:
Set up an online fundraiser for women in need. Crowdrise is a website that helps you crowdfund for charitable events.Â You can advertise the link on your Facebook or other social media. Just type “women” into the search engine and discover causes such as supporting Ugandan survivors of sex trafficking, ending homelessness in Oregon, providing solar street light for villages in the Chhattisgarh state in India, fighting breast cancer, and helping non-traditional women college students. Or, if you have your own fundraising project in mind, easily set up your own!
If you have thirty minutes (And a little money):
For the first time in recent U.S. history, the majority of public school children live in poverty. The beginning of every school year holds an especial dread for these children, because they and their families, often headed by single mothers, cannot purchase the school supplies needed for them to be successful in school. The parent(s) often work multiple jobs, but due to low wages, the children must go without. Teachers often buy supplies out of their own paychecks, but they cannot afford to help every child. Call up your nearest school and ask if there are any students in need of supplies. Ask for the supplies list for their grade, and shop for them, fill up a brand-new backpack with the materials, then drop it off at the school. Ask the school to contact the student’s parent or guardian to pick up the backpack. You have made a child’s day!
If you have an hour:
It’s election season, and an exciting and sometimes scary! time for all of us. Many women candidates are running for office and would welcome your help. Even if she’s outside your district, no one will turn down free assistance! You can phone bank, drive voters to the polls, or do a little data entry.
How do you find a nearby woman politician? Simply plug your information into the search engine atÂ Common Cause.
Now that we’ve made suggestions for quick ways to be feminist activists, what are your thoughts? Do you feel you’ve stayed engaged in feminism? If so, what are you doing? Please share your suggestions and thoughts below in the comments section.