This Friday (8 March 2019) is International Women’s Day, a global event that celebrates women’s achievements and calls for action to advance gender parity.
It’s also a day when misogynists the world over will gather on social media to yell “what about men?” with enough volume to drown out those who care to mention that, “erm, there’s an International Men’s Day too you know?”
So while we’re waiting for our own day on 19 November to arrive, what can men do to support International Women’s Day?
If you’re a man and you who want to show your support for women and girls on International Women’s Day this year, one thing we can all do is follow the advice of Julie Bishop, the most senior female politician in Liberal Party history and simply “support a cause that supports women”.
If you’re not sure which women’s cause to support, we’ve compiled a list of 10 organisations working to improve the lives and health of women and girls that you could give your backing to on International Women’s Day.
1. Do you care about women’s health?
Do you want to help create a healthier future for everyone? Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation that’s dedicated to improving the knowledge of women’s health throughout the various stages of their lives. You can find out how to support their work at the Jean Hailes website.
2. Do you want to help fight female cancer?
Ovarian cancer kills more than 1,000 women a year in Australia. There is currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer and there are no obvious symptoms to help early detection. You help the fight to beat ovarian cancer by supporting the work of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
3. Are you concerned about bereaved mums (and dads)?
An estimated one in three parents will experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. The national charity Sands operates across Australia, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and working to improve the care bereaved parents receive from healthcare professionals. They provide specialist support to women and men. Find out how you can support them at their website, https://www.sands.org.au/
4. Do you want to see dads empowering their daughters?
Did you know that Australia is leading the world in helping dads to empower their daughters to be fit and healthy? The groundbreaking DADEE (Dads and Daughters Exercising and Empowered) project which started at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, has now expanded to the UK.
Professor Phil Morgan says: “The father-daughter relationship is associated with significant psycho-social development and health outcomes and physical activity provides a unique opportunity to foster this important relationship. Expanding to the United Kingdom is an exciting opportunity and demonstrates the global relevance and significance of this unique program.”
Find out more about the DADEE project.
5. Do you support the empowerment Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander girls
If you’re interested in work to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, then take a look at the Girls Academy program. It was founded in 2004 by Olympian and champion basketballer Ricky Grace (MEdL, BPoLSc) and works within the school system to drive community-led solutions aimed at overcoming the obstacles that prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls from attending and achieving at school. Find out how to support the work of the Girls Academy at their website: http://www.girlsacademy.com.au/
For a broader perspective on the issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, see the NATSIWA website: http://natsiwa.org.au/
6. Do you want to help disadvantaged women into work?
How can we support more women experiencing disadvantage to get into work and keep it? The charity Fitted For Work takes on this challenge through a range of employment services which help women build their skills and develop their confidence in order to achieve meaningful work. One of the services involves providing high-quality, second-hand clothing to help women create a good first impression at interview. Your can find out more about Fitted For Work and how to support them at their website: https://fittedforwork.org/
If you’re concerned about women’s economic security, you can also check out the eS4W website and find out about the work of their member organisations.
7. Do you want to provide shelter to women in crisis?
According to Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) existing services cannot meet demand from women who are homeless and need crisis accommodation. They say that over half of the women who seek a bed in a crisis shelter are turned away every night, mostly due to lack os space. WSC works with communities to establish new shelters for homeless women. Find out how you can support the work of WCS at their website: https://www.womenscommunityshelters.org.au
8. Do you want to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse?
Childhood trauma affects an estimated 5 million Australian adults. Many struggle day to day with self-esteem, relationships and mental and physical health issues. One of the causes of childhood trauma is sexual abuse, an issue that the Blue Knot Foundation says affects 1 in 3 girls an 1 in 6 boys. Blue Knot’s provides resources that help women (and men) to recover from childhood trauma. Find out how to support the work of the Blue Knot Foundation at their website: https://www.blueknot.org.au/
If you’re concerned about Violence Against Women and Girls, you could also take a look at the work of the Australian Violence Against Women Alliance and it’s member organisations.
9. Do you want to support women in rural communities?
People living in rural communities face a range of unique challenges and disadvantages. The National Rural Women’s Coalition provides a voice or women living in rural, remote and regional Australia. It’s member organisations include the Country Women’s Association of Australia, the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, the National Rural Health Alliance, Women in Seafood Australasia and the Australian Local Government Women’s Association. Find out how you can support their work at their website: https://www.nrwc.com.au
10. Do you want to support causes that support women in refugee communities?
People from Australia’s many different migrant and refugee communities can face a range of challenges and disadvantages. If you want to give you support to these communities, the Harmony Alliance is a coalition of organisations working with and for migrant and refugee women. If you want to support one of these organisations, you can find a list of members on the Harmony Alliance website: https://harmonyalliance.org.au/
What else can men do to support International Women’s Day?
If you want to find out more about International Women’s Day and work that women’s organisations are doing to advance gender equality take a look at the following links:
- International Women’s Day global website
- UN Women Australia / International Women’s Day
- Women’s Voices For Gender Equality (Equality Rights Alliance Australia)
- List of National Women’s Alliances funded by Government
But seriously what about the men?
If you’ve already taken action to show support for International Women’s Day and you’re still thinking “Yes, but what about the men?” well the answer is obvious isn’t it?
If you care about the lives and health of men and boys then make sure you put a note in your diary now to support a cause that supports men on International Men’s Day, 19 November 2019.