How to Promote Gender Equality

Promoting gender equality is a movement that people are focusing on around the globe. Since this is so large scale, you might be wondering what just one individual can do. There are actually a lot of things you can do to make a difference! Unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ve either witnessed gender inequality or even been a victim. It’s frustrating, and can be really hard to cope with. The good news is that you can make a change. The time to get started is now!

EditBeing a Vocal Advocate for Equality
Learn about gender equality. If you’re standing up for gender equality, it’s important to educate yourself. Take some time to learn about some of the major issues, such as inequality in the workplace and the cost of healthcare. You can read scholarly articles about the subject because you want an expert, objective take on the subject. [1]
You can get started by researching gender equality online. Pull up articles using search engines such as Google Scholar or an academic database like JSTOR.

You could also take a course on gender either at your local college or online.

Educate others about gender equality. You can share what you’ve learned with others. This doesn’t mean you should go around lecturing everyone you meet, but you can definitely correct misconceptions.[2]
For example, if someone at work says they don’t believe that the wage gap is true, you could say, “Actually, it is true that statistically women are paid less than men. Here, let me show you this interesting article I read on the subject.”

Make sure not to dominate the conversation. Other people might have helpful information to share, too. Be ready to listen.

Speak up if you witness sexism. You likely witness examples of sexism every day. It could be in the form of gender stereotypes, inappropriate comments, or unwanted advances. If you see something that seems off, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to speak up. [3]
Maybe you’ve seen one of your friends put down a female sports reporter. Speak up and say, “Women are just as qualified as men to talk about baseball.”

You might feel objectified if someone on the street catcalls you. You have the right to say, “Stop!”

For example, if you are at a bar and a patron keeps touching a female server, you could say, “Excuse me, she’s trying to do her job. Let’s keep things professional.”

Be aware of safety. If the person seems volatile, don’t confront them. Your safety is the most important thing.

Use social media as your platform. You can use your social media accounts to promote gender equality. One way is to share information about upcoming events. You could post a link to a women’s march in your area and say, “I’ll be there! Who wants to join me?”
You can also support large social media campaigns such as #MeToo. If someone you know shares their story, offer a supportive statement.[4]

Educate yourself about intersectionality. Intersectionality means that all aspects of identity must be considered, especially when examining oppression. For example, a Latina women cannot separate her ethnicity from her gender identity. Both must be considered when looking at the specific challenges she faces. These pieces of identify intersect.[5]
Avoid making feminism about groups of people in power. If you are a white cis person, make sure to include other groups in your discussions so that you can understand different perspectives and experiences.

Promote the rights of trans and nonbinary people, in addition to women. Remember that not everyone fits into the traditional categories of male and female. When promoting gender equality, support trans and binary people in the following ways:
Don’t assume someone’s gender

If you’re not sure of pronouns, listen or ask

Respect the person’s terminology

Support gender neutral restrooms

EditPromoting Gender Equality in the Workplace
Listen to women. Sometimes women struggle to be heard in the workplace. They are more likely to be interrupted or dismissed. Be an advocate for the women in your workplace.[6]
If you see a woman trying to break into the conversation, say, “I’d like to hear additional thoughts on the issue. Julie, what do you think?”

Make sure women receive credit for their ideas and work. Women often are not given enough credit for what they do in the workplace. If your female colleague comes up with an innovative way to streamline office communication, take some time at the next team meeting to say, “Let’s all thank Kate for her great ideas about implementing this new system.”[7]

Give women constructive feedback. People tend to give women vague feedback, such as simply saying “good job” or “you need to improve.” Men typically receive much more specific feedback, which helps them to improve. Make it a point to give the women you work with helpful feedback.[8]
If you’re a manager, you might say, “I really liked your ideas about how to improve productivity. Next time the subject comes up, I’d like you to volunteer to take the lead on implementing changes.”

Challenge gender expectations. Women are much more likely than men to receive negative comments about their personality. For example, a strong woman might be labeled “bossy” or “shrill”. The next time you hear someone make comments like this about a woman, ask them for a specific example. You can also say, “Would you have the same reaction if a man had acted the same way?” [9]

Celebrate and encourage women. Women often don’t get enough credit for their accomplishments in the workplace. Make sure to acknowledge their contributions. You could say, “Julie brought in the most new accounts this year. Let’s all give her a round of applause.” [10]
Help increase female confidence by encouraging them to go for promotions or new positions. You could say, “You definitely have what it takes to be the team lead. You should apply!”

EditBecoming Politically and Socially Active
Use your vote to support female and feminist candidates. Do your research on candidates and find out where they stand on women’s rights. Support those candidates by voting for them. One of the best ways to implement change is to get more people into office who are willing to fight for gender equality. [11]
Remember to vote in local, state, and national elections. They’re all important!

Contact your representatives about important policies and legislation. Let your representatives know that gender equality is an important issue to you. Reach out to them and ask them to stand up for gender equality. You can call or email your representatives. You can also make an appointment to visit them in person at their office.[12]
For example, you can call your Senator to voice your views on funding for Planned Parenthood. You can say, “I am your constituent and I want you to work to make sure Planned Parenthood receives more funding.”

Attend marches or rallies. Look for events that are being held near you. There might be a rally about women’s healthcare or about equal pay. Go to a march or rally and take some friends with you! This is a great way to show your support for gender equality. [13]

Join an organization that promotes gender equality. Many workplaces have groups for females. These groups can be for women to talk about issues that they are dealing with and also a time for women to support each other. Ask around to see if your office has a group like this. If not, ask if you can start one. [14]
Most colleges and universities will also have these types of groups. Many even have a women’s center, which will sponsor events that promote gender equality.

Run for office. If you want to enact change, holding office is a great way get started. You can start by running for city council or the school board. Or shoot for the stars and run for a state or national office. There are lots of resources out there to help you with your first campaign. Check out Emily’s List and Run for Something for help. [15]

EditFinding Causes to Support
Research different organizations that focus on supporting gender equality. There are many ways that you can make a difference in your community, but don’t forget that this is a global issue. Take some time to look for organizations whose mission you agree with before supporting them.[16]
You can start with a simple Google search. Read the “About” section on websites, and take a look at what the organization stands for.

Maybe you’ve heard about the Time’s Up movement. Check out their website to see exactly how their legal defense fund will help people dealing with sexual harassment, abuse, or inequality in the workplace.[17]
You can broaden your search to look for organizations that work on more specific issues. You could look for an organization that helps victims of domestic violence, for example.

Donate money to a cause by making an online donation or writing a check. Once you’ve found an organization you’d like to support, you can make a difference by donating money. You can make a one time donation or set up a recurring option.[18]
For example, if you are interested in supporting women’s healthcare, make a donation to Planned Parenthood. You can simply click on the “Donate” button on their website.

Your monetary donation will help ensure that women can receive affordable health care for things like pap smears and breast exams.

If you can’t afford to give money, give your time. Contact the organization and ask how you can volunteer.

Raise money for an organization by fundraising. There are many ways to raise money. You could collect donations and organize a silent auction, or you could try posting about an organization on social media. Raising funds will allow you to donate more money so that the organization you’ve chosen can continue it’s work. It will also help bring more awareness to the cause.[19]
Try making a post on social media saying, “To celebrate my birthday this year, I’d love it if my friends and family can support the cause that is important to me.” Add a link where they can simply click to donate.

Remember that everyone can promote gender equality, not just women.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you notice discrimination.

Find a support system if you are personally dealing with inequality.

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Today in History for 8th March 2019

Historical Events

1722 – Afghan monarch Mir Mahmud occupies Persia
1942 – Japanese forces capture Rangoon, Burma
1949 – WAGA TV channel 5 in Atlanta, GA (CBS) begins broadcasting
1973 – US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1979 – Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) transported 38 miles overland from Palmdale
1998 – The Screen Actors Guild award Gloria Stuart (Old Rose in “Titanic”) with their Founders Award

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Famous Birthdays

1804 – Alvan Clark, American astronomer and maker of the Dearborn Observatory telescope, the largest telescope in the world at the time, born in Ashfield, Massachusetts (d. 1887)
1912 – Preston Smith, 40th Governor of Texas, born in Williamson County, Texas (d. 2003)
1953 – Bob Brozman, American musician
1972 – Georgios Georgiadis, Greek footballer
1975 – Fardeen Khan, Indian actor
1982 – Craig Stansberry, American baseball player

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Famous Deaths

1716 – Harald Vallerius, composer, dies at 69
1932 – Jan de Louter, Dutch lawyer and tutor of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, dies at 84
1958 – Josephina OFF “Frieda” Herberich, actress (Salontiroler), dies at 85
1988 – Werner Hartmann, German physicist (b. 1912)
1993 – Wells Root, US screenwriter (Prisoner of Zenda), dies at 92
2015 – Lew Soloff, American jazz trumpeter (Blood, Sweat and Tears), dies at 71

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How to Steam Dresses

Instead of ironing a wrinkled dress, try steaming it! The steam makes the fibers relax, which gets rid of the wrinkles, and the heat kills odor-causing bacteria. Steaming is also a great way to refresh dresses that can’t be laundered frequently. If you have a steamer, you’ll need just a few minutes of time to get your dress ready-to-wear. If you don’t have a steamer, try placing your dress in the bathroom while you run a hot shower—the heat can release wrinkles while you’re getting ready.

EditFollowing Best Practices
Use your steamer on cotton, silk, wool, and polyester dresses. Most blended fabrics can be steamed, as can most finer materials like cashmere, silk, satin, and lace, but those materials should always be tested beforehand if they haven’t been steamed before.[1]
If you have a dress that is pleated or has creases, you’ll want to use an iron rather than a steamer. A steamer can’t create or reinforce creases.[2]

Avoid steaming dresses that have leather or suede materials. These materials are more likely to melt or warp if you apply steam to them. If the leather or suede doesn’t cover a large part of the dress, you could always try covering that section with a clean towel and steaming around it. Just use caution and don’t hold the steamer over the edge between leather and fabric for too long.[3]
Similarly, any kind of plastic or waxy material shouldn’t be steamed.

Test delicate materials before starting the steaming process. Steam can discolor, warp, and even shrink certain kinds of fabrics. Run the steamer along the inside of the dress in the back. Choose a small section, just square. Steam that section as you normally would, and then let it dry and cool down. Check the section afterwards for signs of discoloration or shrinkage. If there aren’t any, then you’re good to go![4]
If you don’t think the dress should be steamed, you may want to take it to a professional cleaner.

Steam expensive garments through a white cloth to protect them. If you’re steaming wrinkles out of a wedding dress or any other expensive garment, avoid getting steam directly onto the dress itself. Instead, use a white cloth as a barrier between the steamer and your dress. A clean white towel or handkerchief would work well for this process. Simply hold it against the dress as you steam it, moving it along with you as you go from section to section.[5]
Store your more expensive dresses, like a wedding dress or gown, on padded hangers to protect the shoulders from getting misshapen (since a steamer can’t reshape fabric).

EditUsing a Handheld Steamer
Hang your dress on a hook in a non-cramped space. Choose a location where you’ll have ample room to maneuver the steaming wand and where you’ll be able to move the dress around easily. A hook on the back of a door would work well, or you could even hang it off of the shower rod in your bathroom. Always hang the dress from a hanger, and then hang the hanger from a hook (don’t hang the dress directly on a hook).[6]
Some steamers come equipped with stands. If yours does, feel free to use it!

If you aren’t ready to invest in a steamer yourself, try borrowing one from a friend first. That way you can try it out and make sure it’s an investment you want to make.

Fill up the steamer with distilled water. Non-distilled water has minerals in it, which can cause a hard, white deposit to appear in your steamer. Buy distilled water from the store, and put fresh water into your steamer every time you use it.[7]
If you notice a build-up of minerals in your steamer (if you’ve been using non-distilled water), fill up the reservoir 1/3 of the way with white vinegar and 2/3 of the way with distilled water. Run the steamer until most of the liquid is gone, and then dump out the liquid that remains. Fill up the reservoir again with distilled water only, and run the steamer again to make sure all the vinegar is gone.

Warm up the steamer and depress the main button for 1 minute. This gets rid of the old reservoir water and purifies the nozzle so that it doesn’t transmit any bacteria to your dress. Keep holding in the main button until there is a continuous stream of steam.[8]
If you use your steamer often, it might not take the full minute to get the steamer ready. Just make sure there are no more “coughs” or bursts coming from the steamer before you actually move on to the dress.

Pull the dress taut and steam it section by section to eliminate wrinkles. Hold the steamer about away from the dress in one hand. Use your other hand to pull the fabric of the dress taut. Work in sections from the top to bottom, and spend 1 to 2 minutes on each area, moving the steamer in long, slow, downward strokes until you see the fabric relaxing.[9]
For example, if you have a long-sleeved dress you could start by steaming each arm, then the front chest area, the midsection, and the bottom front section. Then turn the dress over and do the top of the back, the middle of the back, and the bottom of the back.

If you place the steamer too close to the dress, you’ll leave watermarks and the steam will get backed up, which could result in a burst of steam that damages the dress when you finally pull it back.[10]
For wedding dresses made of tulle, lace, and chiffon, work in small circles rather than long strokes. Wedding dresses made of other materials should be steamed by a professional.[11]

Tackle heavy wrinkles by applying steam directly to them. If there are areas that are heavily wrinkled, hold the steamer over them for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Keep pulling the fabric taut and watch to see when the wrinkles start relaxing. Once they’re gone, continue with steaming the rest of the dress.[12]
Remember to not press the steamer directly against the fabric, even when directly treating big wrinkles. It could burn or discolor the fabric.

Let the dress dry completely before you put it on. After you steam the dress, leave it alone for about 10 minutes so it has time to dry and cool off. While the dress won’t be wet, it will be a little damp from the steam. Putting it on right away could make the wrinkles set back in.[13]
A great way to keep your clothes in good shape is to take a few minutes to steam your garments after you’ve worn them. So when you get home, take some time to steam your dress before putting it back into the closet.

EditRunning a Hot Shower
Hang your dress from the shower rod. Put your dress onto a sturdy hanger, and then hang that off of a shower rod. Position the hanger so that the dress isn’t too close to the showerhead (you don’t want the dress to get wet). You can do this before you take your next shower, or anytime you need to steam your dress.[14]
This is a great way to steam dresses and other garments when you’ve been traveling and don’t have access to a steamer.

While using the shower is great for getting rid of minor wrinkles, it may not get out really large, heavy creases in the fabric.

Close any windows or doors. If the bathroom has windows or doors leading to other rooms, close as many of them as you can. This will keep the steam in the main area of the bathroom, which will help it permeate your dress a lot better.[15]
Don’t run the exhaust fan.

Run a hot shower for 10 minutes. Turn on the water as hot as it will go (unless you’re showering, in which case just turn it to whatever temperature you prefer), and then let the water run for 10 minutes. If you aren’t showering or using the bathroom, you can leave the room and do something else while your dress is getting steamed.[16]
The hotter the water, the steamier the room will get. And the steamier the room, the better your dress will turn out.

Pull the dress taut in sections to remove the wrinkles. After the 10 minutes are up, go ahead and turn off the shower. Leave your dress hanging and pull each section of the dress taut to erase the wrinkles. For example, if there were wrinkles running across the skirt of your dress, pull the bottom of the skirt down so that the fabric is stretched tight. This eliminates the wrinkles because the fabric was relaxed by the steam. Pull the bottom of the dress, the sleeves, and the midsection if the dress has a waist.[17]
You can also use your hands to smooth down the dress and look for other wrinkles you need to pull out.

Let the dress dry completely before you put it on. The dress may not be wet, exactly, but it might have some moisture from the steam clinging to it still. Leave it alone for 10 to 15 minutes to let it dry and cool off before you wear it.[18]
If there are wrinkles that didn’t come out, you may need to iron the material or use a steamer.

Take your time and steam slowly. You might think that waving the steamer around will make the process faster, but it won’t. Be methodical as you steam your dress.[19]
Always keep the steamer hose as straight as possible. Avoid bending over—that might cause the hose to bend. Instead, bring the fabric up to you.[20]
If you have a dress with lots of embroidery or embellishments on it, steam it inside out to protect the decorations.

Never steam a dress while you’re wearing it. You could burn yourself![21]
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