If giving or volunteering is part of your family's holiday traditions, consider adding one of these important organizations or ideas to your list, and help support women in your neighborhood and around the world.
Support the testing of backlogged rape kits: When tested, DNA evidence contained inside rape kits can be an incredibly powerful tool to solve and prevent crime. It can identify an unknown assailant and confirm the presence of a known suspect. It can affirm the survivor's account of the attack and discredit the suspect. It can connect the suspect to other crime scenes. It can exonerate innocent suspects. To accomplish these things, however, rape kits must be tested. The federal government estimates that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police and crime lab storage facilities across the country in what is known as the rape kit backlog.
ENDTHEBACKLOG focuses on shining a light on the rape kit backlog in the United States. The organization's goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it; expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials; and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. Make a donation to help support their crucial work.
Invest in a woman, invest in change: Make a $25 loan to a borrower through Kiva. Women around the world are looking for small loans to start businesses (like motorcycle taxi services, farms, and stores), go to school, switch to clean energy, and more. Women reinvest 80% of their income in the wellbeing and education of their families, and with the same amount of land, women can increase crop yields by 20%, reducing world hunger for 150 million people. You can filter by categories like Vulnerable Groups, Youth, Start-Up, Green, Conflict Zones, and Disaster Recovery. All the borrowers are fully vetted by Kiva's team, and you will receive updates on the borrower's progress as you're being repaid. When the loan has been completely repaid, that money is yours to keep, or reinvest in another borrower! It's incredible to be a part of the whole process, and to watch the ways in which women around the world are improving their lives, their families' lives, and their communities.
Give someone the tools they need take care of themselves. Women who are homeless or live in shelters often don't have access to the hygienic products some of us take for granted. Put together individual kits, and donate them to your local homeless shelter.
In each kit, include products like:
- Hand sanitizer
- Reusable menstrual pads or cups
- Moist towelettes
Consider also including a bus pass, a first aid kit, a phone card, a small pack of Advil or another OTC pain reliever, a new pair of socks, a copy of your favorite book, snacks, hand warmers, or any other small items that bring you comfort.
Similarly, can you imagine growing up in poverty and knowing you could change your life through education, but being forbidden to go to school because you have your period? Girls and young women across the world are facing that challenge every day because they don't have the hygiene supplies they need. Days for Girls expands access to quality, sustainable feminine hygiene in several countries in Africa, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Through education, girls discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change, and are given opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community's betterment. Support Days for Girls by sending reusable pads or drawstring bags, or making a monetary gift.
Build our museum. Women have been making history in this country and around the world for centuries, yet only 1 in 15 figures in history textbooks are women. Your help is needed to find and claim a permanent home for the National Museum of Women's History on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Women's contributions to science, art, literature, politics, and more have been ignored for too long. Spread the word or make a gift to support this important cause, and help educate and inspire future generations.
Support pregnant women in prison. Pregnancy and childbirth can be difficult and challenging no matter where you are. But for women who are incarcerated, those obstacles are compounded by so many different, additional factors. These mothers can be denied adequate prenatal care, nutrition, and reproductive choice. Certain laws exist that mean women can be shackled or restrained while they labor. There's little to no support or advocacy for them, or for their families, and a dearth of guidance following their release. The Prison Birth Project provides trauma-informed doula care, childbirth classes, family-centered advocacy, a peer support group, and a vehicle for member-led organizing. Make a monetary gift and help support the critical work these advocates are doing.