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5 Ways to Keep the Momentum after International Women's Day

March 8th was an inspirational day for many of us. Money was pledged, petitions were signed, and stories were shared. But one month after #InternationalWomen'sDay, we have to pause to ask ourselves - is it having a continuing impact on our personal lives? 

Gender equality doesn't stop being an issue just because March 8th is passed - we all know that. So how can we keep the momentum going? Here are five practical ways to bring the reality of #IWD2015 into your everyday life. 

1. Say something.

Gender prejudice can crop up where you least expect it to - on the lips of a good colleague at work, in preferential treatment at school, even within your own family. It can be tricky to know how to handle these kinds of situations, but the only way we're going to achieve gender equality is if each one of us takes responsibility to speak up when we hear comments or witness behavior promoting one sex over the other. It might not be easy - it might be down right uncomfortable - but if you don't speak up, who will?

2. Join cross-gender movements like HeForShe (who doesn't love Emma Watson?).



"HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all." At it's core, gender equality isn't about women's rights; it's about human rights. To subjugate one gender is to degrade both. And completely aside from the philosophy of it, the practicality of gender equality is overwhelming. Women comprise half of the population on the planet - just think of all the creativity and productivity being lost when girls and women are told to take a back seat. It really is in the best interest of men to advocate for women.

3. Enjoy democracy!



If you are privileged to live in a democratic society, you have a voice! Find out where your local, provincial, and federal representatives stand on gender equality and take that position into consideration when you head to the polls. You can also lend your voice to the cause by signing reputable petitions. One.org is a great example of an organization that knows how to rally people around a common cause. Check out their "Poverty Is Sexist" petition to see what I mean.

4. Empower women with financial independence.



Giving women in poor communities the opportunity to generate their own income provides them with an extraordinary amount of independence, dignity, and leverage. Food for the Hungry offers Canadians the chance to connect with international women by supporting Savings and Loans Groups that equip community members with financial literacy, small business skills, and an avenue to accumulate capital. Consider empowering women with this opportunity by giving a "Piggy Bank" from the FH Gift Guide. Learn more about the impact of your gift in this video from Bangladesh. 

5. Encourage little girls to dream beyond the cartoon princess.



Girls need role models that challenge the voices in our culture telling them that they are helpless damsels in distress who need to be rescued. And guess what? You can be that role model! Show girls that they can be athletes, scientists, doctors, lawyers, mothers, prime ministers, accountants, and so much more! Cultivate their dreams and encourage them to take risks, even if those risks might sometimes lead to failure. When they come to know that you support them, no matter what, their fear of failure will begin to fade and their ambition for a bright future will grow.

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Food for the Hungry: 5 Ways to Keep the Momentum after International Women's Day
5 Ways to Keep the Momentum after International Women's Day
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