We’ve all seen the movies where two girls are competing for the same guy, the top of the class, or an important promotion. It’s a tale as old as time. But think what would happen if we took that negative energy and put it to better use for each other and the world. Here are a few ways you can support the women in your life and those far away.
Choose to Challenge
There’s a reason this is the theme to this year’s International Women’s Day. Women’s equality advocates showed their support by sharing pictures with raised hands. Too often, we see workplaces that have majority men in the C-suite, salaries that are unequal between men and women, and unnecessary discussions about women’s bodies. Enough is enough of the status quo. Stand up and fight for a better, more equal world.
Fight for better conditions
Worldwide, 132 million girls are out of school. This includes 34 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary age, and 67 million of upper-secondary school age.
Poverty, child marriage, and gender-based violence are just some of the reasons girls drop out. Girls staying in school also helps boys and their view of masculinity. There are many ways you can get involved, like donating to the Malala Fund or sponsoring a girl through WomenOne. Also, you can educate yourself on the barriers that women face when trying to go to school.
Mentor a Young Mind
You can help a closer to home too! Many girls in the U.S. struggle with poverty, poor-performing schools, and teen violence. You can reach out and volunteer as a tutor or mentor. There are many ways to do this, like through Big Brothers, Big Sisters or the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Support Someone who is Struggling
Life is full of ups and downs. Chances are, you know someone who is struggling. Take some time out of your day to check in on someone you know who is a new mom, going through chemo, or just having a hard time at this point in their life. Think of a time that you were struggling. What would have helped you get through it?
Tell Women that you Care
Even if you don’t see that someone is going through a hard time, it can be hard to tell what is going on in someone’s mind. In her interview with Oprah, Meghan Markle revealed she had just told Prince Harry about having suicidal thoughts before going to a big event. While pictures show them smiling for the cameras, if you look at their hands, you can see the whites of their knuckles because they were “both just trying to hold on” to each other. Be there for the women in your life and make sure they have the help and resources they need.
Throughout life’s highs and lows, we need to rally around each other. Who knows the difference you can make by checking in on someone when they need a little extra help? Who knows how your experiences can help a young girl struggling in school? We’ve seen what happens when women stand up. Malala stood up for a woman’s right to education. Emma Watson stood up for equality. Tarana Burke stood up for women facing sexual abuse and created the #MeToo movement. These women provide a light for others to look up to. How are you going to be someone’s light?
If you or someone you know is in need of help, it is always available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for prevention and crisis resources.