5 small ways you can stand up for women and girls
Women and girls are, and have been for many years, vulnerable to different things in society. Women are often raped, kidnapped (trafficked), abused and harassed in public. While these things definitely do happen to boys and men as well, it happens to women and girls more. There’s also this weird idea that women are ‘weaker’ than or ‘inferior’ to men, which gives way to gender stereotypes that just aren’t true. This is why it’s so important for all of us, men and women, to stand up for women’s rights and call for an end to the violence, harassment and discrimination. Standing up for women means standing up for a better society. You don’t even have to do anything big - here are small ways you can stand up for women and girls every day:
Social media has proven to be a big part of creating awareness about the injustices that women go through. Spreading awareness could be something as simple as sharing a post on your social media pages. If you have a big social media following, you can use your influence to highlight the issues that women go through and encourage people to be more mindful of the way they treat women.
Educate young girls about their rights
Do you understand the rights women and girls have access to? Share them with women and girls who need to hear it most. You might know someone who is being harassed at school or work, or who needs information about their sexual reproductive rights. Share the information you have so that these women and girls know how to protect themselves.
Call out your problematic friends and family
Just because something isn’t happening to you or someone that you know, doesn’t mean that you have to be silent when a woman or young girl is being harassed.
For example, when a woman or girl does not respond to your friends’ inappropriate comments, you can tell them to leave her alone and stop making her feel uncomfortable.
Advocate for zero tolerance against sexism
Gender stereotypes and sexism are two things that hold women back when they’re trying to excel. Standing up for women means that you should have a zero tolerance for sexism.
For example, when you hear a sexist joke, don’t take part in the joke by laughing or entertaining it. Instead, let the joker know that sexism is not okay and they should stop being sexist.
Recognise your own problematic ideas and ideals
When you don’t know better, you tend to become part of the problem. Learn to understand whether you have ideas that are not fair to women. Don’t shame women by calling them ‘gold diggers’ or ‘slay queens’ in a nasty way. Don’t shame women for being out late or wearing clothing you feel is inappropriate. All of that is called slut-shaming and it’s wrong. At the end of the day, women should have the same rights to their bodies as men do.
Standing up for women and girls is as easy as using your voice to speak up when you know something is wrong or making a conscious decision to not be part of the problem. Hopefully in future we will not have to fight for women’s rights because we will be living in a society that doesn’t harm women, discriminate against them or restrict them solely based on their gender. But for now Choma, it is all of our responsibility to call for an end to the violence women and girls face on a daily basis.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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