By Faith Macanas
As a feminist, I am always on the lookout for ways to effectively support other women. Luckily, technology has made it easier than ever to share information and resources to support women both locally and globally. We have access to almost unlimited information right at our fingertips, which allows us to get a glimpse into the worlds of women we might not otherwise have ever seen. Better yet, we can use that information to make a difference.
Here are some of my favorite ways you can use technology to support women around the world.
Kiva is a microlending site that connects people around the world with resources. Potential borrowers can submit loan requests, outlining how they plan to use the money. The requests come from all over the globe and can be for anything from educational expenses to small business costs and more. Lenders then contribute to loans in $25 increments.
On the Kiva.org site, you can review profiles and choose to support women requesting money in categories such as agriculture, retail businesses and even those trying to make a better life in conflict zones. Since the money is a loan, you receive updates as it is repaid. You can then choose to reinvest in another loan and help more women.
For example, you could choose to support the loan requested by Sherife in Kosovo to purchase more sewing materials for her tailoring business. Or, maybe you’ll want to contribute to Mercy’s loan in Kenya to help her purchase additional fish for her business. No matter which loans you support, you’ll know you’re making a difference in these women’s lives.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology fields. Since the 1980s, the gender gap in computer technologies has been growing, and this organization is working to change that. Girls Who Code has given more than 40,000 girls and teens a fun and supportive environment to explore their interest in technology.
If you want to support girls interested in technology, you can do so in several ways. The organization is always looking for volunteers to facilitate local clubs, and you don’t have to be a computer genius yourself to do so; many volunteers learn the material alongside their participants. You can also donate money or encourage your company to become a corporate partner and commit to hiring more women in technology roles.
Between cyberstalking, bullying and revenge porn (to name a few), the internet can be a scary place for anyone. Women, however, are targets of online abuse far more often than anyone else, with 76 percent of women under the age of 30 reportedly experiencing some form of abuse or harassment online.
Standing up to online bullies and reporting their offensive behavior is one way to let perpetrators know such behavior isn’t tolerated. Organizations such as Hollaback! are also encouraging all people to call out any harassment they see occurring in public places, whether it’s online or in real life and no matter who is the target of the harassment. Their goal is to create a world free from harassment, where everyone can feel safe.
Bullies don’t like to be called out, and with the anonymity of the internet, they are often emboldened to up the stakes on anyone who stands up to them. If you are concerned about cyberstalking or other forms of online harassment, you should consider using a proxy software service to protect your private information from additional threats when dealing with bullies. It’s important you feel safe online to be able to offer support to others.
She Should Run
She Should Run is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in politics. The group works to create a culture that supports and inspires women to engage in public leadership opportunities and run for public office.
Though the She Should Run website, people can encourage women to run for specific local, state and national elected offices. The group provides training and support for new candidates about everything from campaigning to fundraising and more.
One in 10 people in the world lack access to clean water for drinking. In places where water has to be carried daily from the source, it is generally the responsibility of women and girls to carry the water, sometimes for miles, back to their homes each day. Spending hours per day carrying water limits the opportunities for these women and girls to gain an education and engage in entrepreneurship opportunities to better their lives. Carrying water for long distances can also put their health and safety at risk.
The mission of Charity: Water is to end the water crisis in our lifetime by bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Since 2006, Charity: Water has funded more than 22,000 water projects around the world, which has brought clean water to more than 7 million people.
Having reliable access to clean water has improved the lives and health of people in incredible ways. You can fund a water project on Charity: Water’s website and watch as the project you helped to fund becomes a reality.
As women of privilege, there are a lot of ways we can support other women in the world, both at home and abroad. From something as simple as standing up to an online bully to saving lives by bringing clean water to villages around the world, there are plenty of women who need our help. Choose your favorite cause, ladies. It’s time to help a sister out!
About the Author
Faith is a writer and women’s health expert. She uses her platform to dispel myths about women’s health online, and she is a fierce advocate for laws against cyberbullying and cyberstalking.