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The month of March is dedicated to celebrating the often-overlooked contributions women have made in culture, society and wider history in general. First celebrated to honour the achievements of well-known women, it has transformed into something larger, spreading powerful messages about the strength and resilience of women as well as important information about the barriers that women around the globe face today. Though it is a month to be celebrated, there are many ways to get yourself involved and become a part of a movement that encapsulates more than just a single month. From acknowledging the role of women around you to supporting them and making a real change in your life as well as the lives of others, there are plenty of resources to help you get started. In this article, I have compiled a list of ideas so that you can celebrate Women’s History Month right!
I’ll start with an easy one – everyone likes movies, right? Instead of picking the classic feminist movies such as The Color Purple or Little Women (which are, no doubt, amazing), I have listed three movies about women directed by women. Diverse and delightful things happen when women are given the chance to portray their stories authentically, and it’s an opportunity to rewrite history often obscured by the male gaze of the film industry.
A League of Their Own (1992), for example, is a fictional account of a real-life all-female baseball team. It’s a mixture of a feel-good comedy and real inspiration for women today, as it is a perfect representation of the hardships women face to find success in male-dominated fields. If you’re not into sports or need further convincing, the wonderful Geena Davis and Tom Hanks are in it, too!
However, if you’re into period dramas, you will love Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019). Céline Sciamma hits the nail on the head with how she portrays the intensity of sapphic love whilst acknowledging the patriarchy constructing the choices of the two female protagonists.
Finally, A Girl Walks Home at Night (2014) is about a skateboarding vampire that targets men who disrespect women. Coined as the “first Iranian vampire Western”, it is a horror movie that defies genre and questions ideas about female rage and consent. Need I say more?
Since the pandemic has made drastic changes in our everyday lives, podcasts have found their place as the voices of comfort in our homes.
If your attention span is similar to mine, check out Encyclopedia Wommanica for 5-10 minute mini-podcasts about women who have made their mark in history. From Spanish businesswomen to the daring journalists of Nazi Germany, you have no excuse to NOT find the time and learn about these incredible women.
If you’re looking for something more up-to-date and closer to home, the presenters of BBC Woman’s Hour talk about current issues and interview women from different fields, creating a new space for empowerment and inspiration.
The TED Talks website has also created a collection of TED Talks about and by women, covering topics like Black Lives Matter, global climate activism, online abuse – all from the lens of passion and encouragement.
Finally, it’s time to share some of my favourite Instagram accounts that create socially impactful content in an attractive and digestible way.
Impact (@impact) highlights remarkable individuals of history and the present, bringing forward a range of topics that are guaranteed to broaden your perspective. They explain terms such as “cultural appropriation” and share advice on approaching discussions about disorders and disabilities.
If your feed lacks good vibes, Hannah Good (@hannahgoodart) creates uplifting and motivational illustrations, and her monthly pep-talks give you the kind of energy needed to get through these uncertain times.
For UK-based feminist influencers and creators, follow Florence Given (@florencegiven), who makes empowering illustrations, Gurls Talk (@gurlstalk), a safe space for women of all backgrounds, and Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda), a voice for body positivity.
Finally, Feminist Voice (@feministvoice) is an account that links all of these topics into one feed full of diversity and inclusivity. These accounts really put the ‘her’ in #herstory, emphasizing the role of women and addressing the lack of representation of women throughout history.
So far, I have given you the tools to help educate yourself and get inspired, but the work doesn’t end there. I have introduced you to feminist activists and the messages they spread, but actions speak louder than words. You need to use that new knowledge, build on that awareness and make a real change to help the women around you reach their potential. Look for the local businesses run by women in your town and spread the word by sharing their posts and making a contribution. Look up organizations and charities in your town and donate or consider volunteering. Finally, tell the women in your life just how proud you are of them! In a world where the achievements of women that many of us look up to struggle to reach mainstream media or are undermined altogether, it is easy to lose your voice and give up. Be the boost that they need, be the voice that they can count on!
Our struggles don’t disappear with the last day of March. Transmisogyny, sexual assault, body shaming, the gender pay gap – these are all real issues that disadvantage women and put them at risk every single day; tackling them together will open up doors for future generations. There isn’t one right way to do this, but the moment to do it is now. Women have a rich history, and they deserve the present to thrive and feel safe so that they can build a future of success.