13 June 2011

Treat a sister right!

This is for you, Savannah, and anyone else who read my last post and asked, "so, what can I do?" and "how can I contribute?"

What a beautiful question to ask, even if it isn't always easy to answer. I've been asking that question a lot lately myself. Here are few things that I have come up with.

A quick disclaimer:
These are things I'm obviously not perfect at. They're things I want to do better.
And I have a long way to go.

  1. Be aware. Know what is going on around you locally, nationally, internationally. Read the news. Read books or articles. And talk to people. Even when I am doing my very best at following the news I still miss a lot. It's great to know people who can help keep me up to date! Maybe start by reading Half the Sky. Or check out the website (where Kristof and WuDunn have suggested several ways to get involved and made a great list of organizations that can use help and support).
  2. Use you power as a consumer. And CONSUME WISELY! We live in a market economy. Supply and demand is real. So be careful about what you buy, what media you watch and which companies you support with your hard earned cash. When I watched the film "Miss Representation" I was struck by the realization that I financially support a lot of media that actually disgusts me. Though many of us are appalled by the degrading ways women are depicted and the lack of respect even the most powerful women receive, we continue to buy tabloids and watch movies in which women fall into the same stereotypes over and over again. We're feeding the beast even as we claim we want to defeat it. That has to stop. AND we need to be careful not consume excessively. It isn't just the environmentalist in me that begs everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. There are finite resources in the world, and when some of us use a disproportionate amount we necessarily diminish access to resources for others. Don't use more than you need. Consume locally. Walk, ride your bike or take the bus. And know where the products you buy are coming from! Are you supporting slavery or child labor? Probably more often than you know, unfortunately. So make it your business to know, and not to waste!
  3. Support other women. Take note of women who are doing good in the world. Notice women in your own life who have talents and skills to contribute. Then tell them. That could mean supporting an NGO run by a woman, voting for smart capable women in politics or helping a friend see her potential. We as women sometimes forget to raise each other up. Sometimes we're even tempted to push each other down. But if we love and care for one another our collective power will grow.
  4. Excel! Do your best. Work hard. And have confidence in your own abilities. I truly believe that every person, man or woman, has something unique and important to offer the world. Find out what you're good at and what you love. Then go for it. Why not? You have the power to make the world a little more beautiful. So don't hold back.
  5. Get out there. Find opportunities to get out of your bubble. Volunteer. And if you already volunteer, maybe consider diversifying your service. Participate in your community. Go to fairs and events. Get to know your city and your community. That is a great way to be in touch with the issues that are closest to home. And home can be a great place to start tackling tough problems.
  6. Use your voice. Similar to my suggestion to use your power as a consumer, I think we all need to be a little better at using our political power. We live in a nation that purports to be "of the people, by the people, for the people" (Lincoln). If that is true, and if we want it to be true, we have to speak up. And not just to complain and gripe. We need to offer solutions, find ways to forge ahead and work to resolve issues. Vote. Write letters to your representatives. Write in to newspapers. And connect with groups and organizations that support causes that matter to you.
  7. Share what you know! When you come across an important story, tell people about it. If you find an organization you really support, spread the word. There are many people who don't know what you know, and we can all benefit from hearing what you have to say. So start talking. To everyone!
  8. Be creative. You know yourself. Think about what you're good at and how you personally can contribute to causes that are important to you. Think outside the box. And when you find something that strikes a chord, don't be afraid to try it, even if your way of contributing may seem a bit unconventional. That's what we need. Change. New ideas and new solutions. So don't listen to me if my ideas don't work for you. Find your own!
This isn't a comprehensive list. There are so many other possibilities I haven't come up with. But I hope some of these suggestions will spark ideas for you! So please share your thoughts. I'd love to know what you have to say!

*Please note that there are 8 ideas. And 8 is my favorite number. I call that a good omen :)

1 comment:

MissRepresentation said...

Thanks for watching Miss Representation! And love your blog post. Follow the campaign to transform the representation of women at facebook.com/missrepresentationcampaign or at twitter.com/representpledge!