Pittstop Blog is a nonpartisan publication, but we passionately believe in equal rights for all people.
On January 21, millions of women came together across the globe (including an estimated 25,000 in Pittsburgh) to communicate a common message in solidarity. I felt inspired and empowered, but I had to ask myself: What now? Do I just scribble this memory down in my journal and then go about my business?
I decided this was too important to be a fleeting moment. Imagine what we could accomplish if we remembered this feeling and showed each other this kind of support every day.
There are so many things we can be doing in our everyday lives to contribute to the fight for equal rights. Here are a few:
1. Quit talking badly about other women.
If you are a woman who wants men to stop slut-shaming women, it’s not cool for you to gossip to your girlfriends about other girls’ short skirts and plunging necklines. It’s such a simple concept, the golden rule we learned in elementary school: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Fair treatment of women begins with women treating each other fairly.
Stop being petty, and start treating one another the way you treat your friends when they post selfies on Instagram.
Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. That’s how we will create an army of strong women who can and will overcome all the obstacles in our way.
2. Check your privilege.
We speak a lot about male privilege in our society, but a Gender Communication course I was enrolled in dared to delve into the idea of female privilege. The men in my class said that, while they recognize the many injustices women face, they could also think of some examples of gender roles women benefit from.
If we don’t want to be told that women belong in the kitchen, we shouldn’t assert that taking out the garbage is a “man’s job.” We can’t ask for equality only when it’s convenient for us.
3. Fight hate through friendly debate.
When you yell at people and tell them they are wrong, they stop listening. But that does not mean you should be silent when you encounter injustice. Share your opinion through civil discourse by taking the time to understand where others are coming from, and they might offer you the same respect.
4. Advocate against injustices that do not affect you.
We are so much stronger when we work together.
I am constantly reminded of Pastor Martin Niemoller’s words in his poem “First They Came.”
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.
You do not have to be a woman to advocate for women’s rights, and you do not have to belong to a certain race or religious group to advocate for their rights. Use your voice and platform to help those who do not have the same resources and opportunities.
5. Don’t be afraid to get political.
Stay educated about what is going on in the world. Watch the news. Engage in debates and discussions to further your understanding. Your voice matters every day, not just every four years on election day. Vote for local government. Contact our senators to share your views on issues you feel passionate about.
You can download the official postcard from the Women’s March here.
Casey, Robert P., Jr. – (D – PA)
393 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Toomey, Patrick J. – (R – PA)
248 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Info from https://www.senate.gov/
6. Surpass expectations.
If someone told you they don’t believe in you, I am here now telling you I do.
Go after it. Prove them wrong. Celebrate yourself.
Featured image by Erik Breedon.