Our world is led by men, whether it’s within the government, environmental sector, STEM fields or as the head of the household. NationSwell rounded up eight groups fighting for women’s equality.
She Should Run
It’s 2019, yet only a third of elected officials at the local, state and federal level are women. Twenty-two states have never had a woman for governor. The nonprofit She Should Run was founded in 2011 by Erin Loos Cutraro after she noticed a lack of support for women interested in running for government roles. To date, the group has empowered tens of thousands of women to consider running for office, and it has the ambitious goal of raising that number to 250,000 by 2030. The organization hosts an incubator program, which is an online set of courses and mentors. It also has an astonishingly high success rate: Eighty percent of women reported feeling more confident about their path to run for office after completing the training.
Many organizations have a variety of ways of tackling gender inequity. However, UN Women takes a more focused approach by working directly with governments to tackle the issue. The United Nations formed UN Women in 2010 after leaders realized there wasn’t a centralized way to tackle gender equality and women’s empowerment. The group works with government officials worldwide to create laws and legislation that support equal rights for women and girls.
In many countries, the conversation around women’s health still isn’t happening … period. Enter PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement, a nonprofit working to provide education and menstrual supplies to women in the U.S. while breaking down taboos that still exist around monthly cycles. The founder, Nadya Okamoto, drew from her own experience as a homeless teen to start the company after finding there was an unmet need for feminine hygiene products in the homeless community. Though its primary focus is low-income women, her group supplies menstrual products to all women who need them, regardless of economic status.
Girls Who Code
In the battle to close the technology gender gap, Girls Who Code is one of its leaders. Through after-school programs and summer training camps, the nonprofit empowers middle, high school and college girls to pursue degrees in computer science. Since its founding in 2012, Girls Who Code has taught basic coding to 185,000 budding computer scientists. And its impact is making a difference. The enrollment rate for Girls Who Code alumnae who choose to major in a computer-related field is 15 times the national average.
Women’s Environment and Development Organization
The world is entering a climate crisis, and women are going to be some of the populations hardest hit — particularly rural and indigenous women. The Women’s Environment and Development Organization exists to empower women in the fight against climate change through a variety of training sessions and workshops. While specific topics range from fighting climate change to achieving sustainable development, the organization also advocates for gender equality in climate change policies and planning.
Girls Not Brides
Every year, over 8 million girls marry before they turn 18, robbing many of the opportunity to choose their own path to womanhood while perpetuating a system where women are inferior to men. Girls Not Brides is a worldwide partnership of over 1,200 organizations working to end this harmful tradition. “It’s happening everywhere,” Lakshmi Sundaram, the global coordinator of Girls Not Brides, told Voices of America. “It may look a bit different in different places, but it is a universal issue.” Using data and personal accounts of girls who have experienced it, the organization works with government and communities in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe to ensure gender equality gets the attention it deserves.
International Planned Parenthood Federation
International Planned Parenthood Federation has volunteers and workers in over 145 countries helping to ensure that everyone is free to make their own decisions about sexual and reproductive healthcare. While they target marginalized populations and locations around the world, 84 percent of services were specifically aimed at helping women and girls. In 2018, the federation delivered 223.2 million sexual and health services in support of reproductive rights.
National Organization for Women
Started by a grassroots group of feminists in 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has hundreds of affiliate offices in all 50 states and is comprised of over 500,000 members. The group works with policymakers via conferences and seminars to ensure women receive equal treatment in every aspect of their lives. Reproductive rights and family law are priorities, as well as civil rights and voter empowerment.
This list provides only a glimpse of the hard work happening around the world to level the playing field for women and girls. Click on any of the organizations above and find out how you can get involved.
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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 10 groups were included. This list features eight organizations. NationSwell apologizes for the errors.