Women are the greatest, most powerful force in the world.  We're mothers, daughters, and sisters, best friends and life partners, bosses and co-workers, athletes, influencers, innovators, and the face of the future.  But often, our power is not given a chance to reach its full potential.  Women around the world are limited, whether in terms of equality, health, freedom, or finances.  Their problems are ignored, and their accomplishments are diminished.  And, unfortunately, our attention to these facts usually lasts only for a moment after we hear of a specific tragedy or injustice, when in reality, women’s issues are prominent and real, and need and deserve proper attention.  

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As women, it's important to consider redirecting our attention back to women’s issues — back to those issues that directly impact yourself, your loved ones, and the many billions of women around the world whom you’ve never met but to whom you are deeply bonded nonetheless, because you are female.  Consider becoming female cheerleaders and champions, and taking even the smallest of steps to aid women internationally every day by joining, donating to, or simply raising awareness for these amazing organizations that are striving to make the world a better place for all women everywhere.

National Partnership for Women and Families

This Washington, D.C. based organization lobbies Congress and engages in other influential campaigning, policy education, and advocacy efforts for American women and families.  They support protection of rights relating to women’s overall and reproductive health, workplace fairness and equality, family leave and support, and more.  You can get involved by visiting their website and using their easy template to write letters that show your support for issues you care about to members of Congress and key lawmakers.

Dressember

A movement started by one college student that has now taken the world by storm, Dressember is a fun way to make a real difference for an important cause.  Here’s how it works: during the month of December, you take a pledge to wear a dress every day; that’s 31 days of cute style!  You then get people to sponsor you in this challenge by making a donation in your name on the website, and their donations go directly to IJM, a human rights organization that works to  rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression.  By participating, you are both raising awareness for the exploitation of women that is still prevalent today and donating to help the cause!

The Malala Fund

Around the world, millions of girls are denied the right to a proper education simply because of their sex, or because of gendered traditions in their countries that impede on their opportunity to complete a full, 12-year education.  Malala Yousafzai, a young girl living in Pakistan, refused to let local traditions stop her — she attended school until she was shot by the Taliban for defying the traditions that limited women from attending school.  Still, she survived the attack and went on to inspire the formation of a new act in Pakistan that granted women the right to education.  Now, the Malala Fund is helping girls in other nations get the same equal treatment.  They advocate for legislation that allows for female schooling or abolishes restrictive practices; fundraise and invest in programs, schools, and resources; and raise awareness by giving these girls a voice.  You can contribute to this cause on their website.

Keep a Breast

Keep a Breast is a unique foundation that channels a young, DIY, artsy spirit to raise awareness of and support for breast cancer.  Specifically, it operates through 3 channels: breast cast art shows, educational programs, and campaigns of support.  The breast cast shows were how it all began, and they are exactly what they sound like — molds of a woman’s upper body that are then artfully painted and displayed in art galleries to raise awareness.  You can check out photos or purchase the casts here, and you can model your own awareness program after this initiative by starting your own gallery of casts!  You can also support their educational programs, which travel around the country to teach girls about breast cancer symptoms and prevention tactics, or support their campaigns, which provide opportunities for women to share their stories, raise awareness about early detection, and generate a vision for a future of a world without cancer.

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Often our power isn't given a chance to reach its full potential being limited in equality, health, freedom, or finances.

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Girls Not Brides

Child marriage may sound like an ancient tradition or a myth from a distant place, but for many, it is still a reality.  In fact, around the world, every two seconds, one girl under the age of 18 is forced into marriage.  Girls Not Brides brings together groups from various countries to raise awareness of and prevent this horrible practice that can destroy a woman’s life and potential.  Their mission statement says ‘Stronger together, Girls Not Brides members bring child marriage to global attention, build an understanding of what it will take to end child marriage and call for the laws, policies and programmes that will make a difference in the life of millions of girls.’  You can help by donating to their programs that stop child marriage, sexual abuse, education restrictions, and more, here.

Movemeant Foundation

It is no secret that girls are often subject to unrealistic body and beauty pressures, and as a result, develop unhealthy self-perceptions and habits.  The Movemeant Foundation wants to get women back to what matters — loving themselves, and treating their bodies with respect.  They do this by setting up programs in middle schools, the age range where the issue often begins, that educate girls on the negative impacts of unrealistic social media and other body images, and teach them how to live a healthy, active lifestyle that promotes confidence and body diversity.  They combine this educational curriculum with fun fitness classes that get girls moving and feeling good.  They also run a photo awareness campaign to showcase the positive effects of sport on girls self-image.  You can get involved by hosting an event, becoming an ambassador, or donating.

 

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