It’s one thing to say you support women, it’s another thing to actually support women. It’s that time of the year when marketing teams roll out campaigns with performative graphic design captions for a day and go back to business as usual before evening.
If you actually care about women, here’s a list of things you should be doing instead:
1. Whenever women protest, join them
Whenever there’s a protest, women are always there but when it’s time to protest for women’s issues, there are usually too few men in sight. Last week, five bills pushing for equality were rejected and women have taken to the streets to protest. This is your chance to do better. There’s a protest happening today in Lagos, Abuja and Calabar against the rejection of the pro-equality bills, be there.
2. Advocate for paid maternity leaves
It’s not enough to say you support women, how do you support them? Women need maternity leaves to properly cater to their newborns and for themselves. It’s necessary for this time off to be paid because it’s an essential part of her health. If there’s no option for paid maternity leaves in your office, ask why.
3. Advocate for equal pay
You can do this by asking your colleagues how much they are being paid. Talking about money can be difficult but in the long run, it reveals inconsistencies and helps everyone make better informed choices. Advocating for a transparent pay system in your place of work is also another way to combat the unequal gender gap.
4. Donate to NGOs that support women
If you don’t know where to start when advocating for women, start with donations. There are NGOs in Nigeria that are specifically tailored to cater for women like Stand2endrape, and Mirabel Centre NG amongst others.
5. Donate to period funds
Period poverty is a real thing. Put your money where your mouth is and donate to organizations that answer women’s sanitary needs. In Nigeria, we have Sanitary Aid NG
6. Advocate for women in leadership positions
Don’t say things like, “Nigeria is not ready for a female leader.” Instead, advocate for a female leader. The only way to know if we’re ready is if more women are in leadership positions.
7. Correct the men in your circle when they say harmful things about women
Don’t laugh nervously to save the peace. Take a stand and let them know what they’re saying is wrong. Advocating for women’s rights isn’t just love and light speeches. Sometimes, it involves difficult conversations with friends.
8. Don’t speak over women
When women talk, don’t speak over them. If you need to say something, raise your hand. If you feel like you may forget before she’s done talking, write it down and let them finish talking.
9. Buy from women-owned businesses
Again, put your money where your mouth is. Patronise women-owned businesses. Not only does this help bridge the gender pay gap, it helps women cater to themselves and their families better.
10. Send money to a woman in your life today
Just because you can and because women deserve it.
If you enjoyed reading this article, here’s another article about everyday items that were not made with women in mind.
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