6 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Protect Women's Rights
Well, it's official: Donald Trump is our next president.
It's easy, today, for women to feel like we don't matter. The country we love so deeply has just elected someone who has proven time and time again that he will not support or fight for us. In fact, he will do the opposite.
It's almost insulting that we're expected to continue living our lives like nothing catastrophic has just happened to us.
We're ashamed, demoralized and devastated. We're at a loss — for words, for rational thoughts and for our place in this country.
But, like Hillary Clinton said in her moving concession speech this morning, we must do what we can to advance the causes and values we hold dear.
We can't let a Trump victory control all the activism we've participated in and the discrimination we've fought against all of our lives.
There are still important, crucial things you can do to help women right now. Here are 6 of them:
1. Allow space for emotions.
Acknowledge your feelings about this election. If you're angry, upset, confused, devastated, nauseous — anything, let yourself process your emotions.
Take a walk. Go in the bathroom at work and cry. Stay home this weekend. Get drunk with your best friends. Vent to people who love you.
Have intense conversations about how frustrated you are. Scream. Run.
You need to be heard today. And by giving yourself a voice, you reinforce your value.
You need to be heard today. And by giving yourself a voice, you reinforce your value and importance as a citizen of this country — something we all so badly need right now.
We fought hard, and this loss is undoubtedly heartbreaking. Don't deny yourself — or anybody else, for that matter — the right to feel.
2. Donate to Planned Parenthood, The Center for Reproductive Rights and The National Network of Abortion Funds.
The Center for Reproductive Rights uses legal means to protect women's reproductive rights globally and in the U.S. They employ lawyers who are experts in U.S. constitutional and international human rights law to bring groundbreaking cases to courts across the world. Donate.
The National Network of Abortion Funds literally pays for women to have abortions, whether it's by giving money directly to clinics or by offering women who want an abortion a place to stay if they're traveling to get one, transportation to the clinic, and more. Donate.
3. Sign up to volunteer.
If you can't afford to donate to any of the aforementioned organizations, offer your time by volunteering for them. You could also use VolunteerMatch.org to find another women's rights organization you feel passionately about.
Or, you could reach out to your elected officials for opportunities to volunteer at the local political level.
Go to county political meetings to get to know both the officials and fellow activists. Even call a local candidate running for office and offer to volunteer on his or her campaign.
4. Consider getting an IUD, and encourage your friends to do the same.
Under the Trump administration, having risk-free sex is going to become a massive pain in the ass.
Trump and Pence have also been aggressively pro-life throughout their campaign.
So if you don't plan on getting pregnant soon but want to continue exercising your right to have sex with whomever you want, get an IUD before January (and tell your friends to do it, too).
The birth control method will protect you from pregnancy for at least three to five years — aka, the entire Trump presidency (assuming he isn't elected again).
And if you encourage your friends to get one too, so many of us will have IUDs that we'll be able to withstand any legislation that takes our reproductive rights away over the next four years.
5. Mark your calendar for the next elections.
The midterm election is November 8, 2018. Write it down. And make sure you know when your next local and state elections are happening.
Vote in them. Make your voice heard.
6. Don't stop engaging in everyday dialogue.
Continue questioning the guy at the bar who called a woman a "slut" for wearing a short skirt.
Continue reassuring women in your life that they are beautiful, no matter their size, shape or skin color.
Continue debating your aunt at Thanksgiving who tells you you'll go to hell for having an abortion.
Continue responding to women who are outspoken and independent with words of affirmation and praise.
Your small scale, day-to-day interactions are going to be more important than they've ever been in helping this country shift its way of thinking.
Don't stop standing up for women just because Trump isn't going to. If our government won't support us, we will. It's our only hope.