March is Women’s History Month, and if your imagination doesn’t reach much further than “That’s what she said” jokes when it comes to articulating the story of women, let me give you a few tips on how to plug into the pro-woman agenda.
1. Find out more about what’s going on in the world of women. This month is a great time to educate yourself about the obstacles women face here and abroad. You may even want to help send a girl to school in Cambodia for $10 a month or sponsor a woman entrepreneur through a micro-loan of $50.
2. Show some appreciation. According to Spencer Wells, who contributed to National Geographic’s Human Family Tree project, men can trace their male ancestors (through the Y-chromosome) back only about 60,000 years, whereas some women can trace their matriarchal lineage (through mitochondrial DNA) back about 200,000 years. We all came from a mother, and it’s important to appreciate those who bear and raise children well.
3. Tip generously. It isn’t a secret that there is still a significant wage gap between men and women. If you enjoy good service, make an extra effort to tip your barista, waitress or hairdresser this month.
4. Sign a petition or join a cause. If you’ve been following the news, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court ruled recently to allow nonconsensual photos up girls’ skirts. Hop online and write a letter or sign a petition to prevent legislation from rewinding progress or to expedite new legislation that would improve opportunities for women.
5. Offer practical support. Sometimes a simple act of kindness can lighten a woman’s day or encourage her to keep pushing. Things like shoveling snow, mowing her lawn, changing her oil or picking up a few groceries go a long way.
6. Get to know your neighbors. One in three American women live at or over the brink of poverty, and one in four women has been affected by rape or sexual assault. Just because the women around you appear to be doing fine doesn’t mean they are.
However you choose to participate in Women’s History Month, find ways to honor the achievements of women in your past, appreciate the women around you today, and empower our girls to be the women we need in our future. ♦
Rachel Dolezal, formerly of the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d'Alene, is an award-winning artist and activist who teaches courses in art, Africana history and culture at area universities.