Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guest Post: 4 of the Best Feminist Fundraising Causes

With Hillary Clinton running for the presidency and the potential for a record-breaking fourth female Supreme Court justice to be appointed to the nation’s highest court, feminism is front and center in today’s news. Though women may disagree about the direction feminism should take next and which policies are best suited to pin an election on, most of us can agree that supporting feminist causes is vitally important.

Women supporting other women by financing feminist causes is happening all around us — just look at Taylor Swift’s contribution to Kesha’s court costs for inspiration about the intersection of girl power and cold, hard cash.

You don’t have to have Taylor Swift’s mega-millions to make a difference, though. There are many great feminist causes to support that can make a huge difference in the lives of women. Here are four of the best ones to consider:

1. Women’s Health

Medicine has taken a long time to catch on to the notion that women’s bodies aren’t just inferior male bodies, and that means there’s still a lack of research into and funding for women’s health issues. Giving to women’s health causes provides crucial cash, but it also raises awareness about the inequities that still exist.

Breast cancer research and awareness foundations are the obvious example of charities that have done incredible things to raise awareness and reduce stigma for a women’s health issue, but there are a lot of other causes to consider. The Black Women’s Health Imperative and the Society for Women’s Health Research work to fund scientists and erase inequities. The Women’s Health Alliance does similar work in the United Kingdom.

However, while women are on the forefront of many of these health issues, several other groups are fighting simultaneously for the same kinds of dignity. As many as 700,000 people, or 0.3% of the population, identify as transgender and experience many of the same health concerns: menstruation, breast cancer and more. Any conversation about women’s health needs to take into account the individuals with a more fluid gender identity.

2. Domestic Violence

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 20 Americans are victims of domestic violence every minute. The vast majority of these victims are women, and they often can’t escape their abusers without serious financial and emotional support.

Consider raising money for a local women’s shelter or donating needed items like toiletries and feminine hygiene products. These shelters do incredible work but are chronically underfunded, and your donations can make an impact on women in your own community who need help. Womankind’s empowerment and anti-violence outreach also helps women around the world escape abusive situations and take control of their own lives.

3. Empowering Girls

Do young girls in your community have opportunities to explore math and science? Are they sitting on the sidelines while the boys enjoy youth sports leagues?

If you see a gap you can fill with your own skills, you can start your own community project by teaching an after-school course or running a club. You can also donate to national groups like the ōGirl Scouts of America or local clubs that teach girls valuable skills. For more global outreach, consider donating to CARE International’s educational programs.

4. Women in Leadership

To fully address gender inequities, the world needs more women in leadership positions. You can directly support female candidates for public office by donating to political campaigns, or you can focus on workplace discrimination issues in the private sector. The National Partnership for Women and Families has worked to enact anti-discrimination laws and lobbies for family-friendly workplace policies with a great track record of success.

Once you’ve chosen a cause you care about, it’s time to raise the money. The more people you involve, the greater your impact will be, so consider organizing a community event to raise money. Here are just a few great ideas:

  • Organize a “-thon” around a popular local activity.
  • Set up an online fundraising campaign and go viral (at least among your own social media contacts).
  • Get help from local schools to raise awareness and get youth involved.
  • Organize eager volunteers to donate time as well as money.

To learn more about fundraising techniques and skills, check out FirstGiving’s fundraising resource library for helpful webinars and online guides to getting your first big fundraiser off the ground. No matter what you choose to do, your work is sure to make a difference in the lives of many women — and that is something you can definitely feel good about.

Holly Whitman is a feminist writer and journalist living in Washington DC. You can find more of her writing at Only Slightly Biased or on Twitter at @hollykwhitman.

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