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How to champion women’s rights in your community

Politics is personal and policies affect our lives every single day. Take menstrual equity for example. Did you know that because menstrual products aren’t always accessible, young menstruators have to skip school and miss out on education? 

In this blog post, we’ll be covering how you can champion women’s rights in a few different ways, including from home, to make changes in your community. 

What does it mean to champion women’s rights? 

At IGNITE, we champion women’s rights through the policymaking process by supporting different bills that positively affect the daily lives of women across the country, such as: 

  • The Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 (H.R.1467) would provide funding to make menstrual provides more affordable, even free, in order to end “period poverty”.
  • The CROWN Act would make it illegal to discriminate against a person in the workplace or in schools because of their hairstyle    
  • Equality Act (H.R.5) would expand federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQIA+ people.
  • The For the People Act of 2021 (S.1) would expand voting rights, automatically register voters, allow 16 & 17 year-olds to pre-register, make Election Day a national holiday and more 
  • The Campus Accountability and Safety Act would protect students by making the sexual assault reporting process easier and make getting support more readily accessible. 

And much more! 

When we say “champion,” we mean that IGNITE and young women in our community advocate for and spread awareness about the important policies and bills, all while encouraging others to learn about why these policies and bills are important and join in the efforts to see these passed into law. When people come together to advocate for something they’re passionate about, real change happens. 

How can I champion a bill? 

It’s easier than you think! Championing a bill can be done by: 

  • Using your social media to raise awareness about the issue 
  • Contacting your legislators (by email, mail, or phone call) 
  • Creating an advocacy group online (all you have to do is create a group on social media and invite people to join you! That way, you can bring people together who are passionate about the same issue and you can advocate together) 

IGNITE’s digital tools make advocacy a lot faster, too! If you text IGNITEtheCapitol to 25994, you can access our Advocacy page through your phone to get started. In three easy steps, you can advocate for a bill you care about today: 

Advocacy terms to know (source): 

  • Policy: A plan of action or a set of rules agreed by a business, a political group or a government, saying what they will do in a particular situation.
  • Legislator: A member of a group of people who together have the power to make laws.
  • Bill: A formal statement of a planned new law that is discussed before being voted on. 

What bill should I champion? 

Advocating for a bill is made easier when you choose one that you’re passionate about or have identified a problem in your city or state that you want to solve. For example, are you interested in helping young menstruators get access to free menstruation products in schools? Or are you passionate about protecting voter rights and ending voter suppression? Maybe you want to help make campuses safer.

Once you find a bill that you’re excited about, take some time to research the issue to learn more about what you’d be advocating for. It’s important that you feel strongly about what the bill looks to achieve. Also, make sure to understand how the bill would impact the community.

When you’re advocating for bills, there are times when you’ll have to explain the bill to others, and people don’t always want to hear the technical aspects but they do want to know how the bill would affect them. Use this time to help people understand what’s at stake. How would this piece of legislation impact their daily lives? 

Does advocacy really make a difference? 

It sure does! Yes, advocacy can take time and effort, but together we can make a real and lasting impact on our community. Policy change is all about long-term, sustainable change. For example, take our Skyline High School program led by facilitator Brooke López. Because of their hard work and dedication to advocating for menstrual equity and ending period poverty, every Dallas ISD high school and middle school built after 2020 will have a free dispenser with menstrual hygiene products in every single bathroom.

Want to learn more about advocacy? Check out IGNITE’s blog posts below, go to our calendar to find an upcoming advocacy-related event or reach out to our Policy Manager, Jocelyn Yow (jocelyn@ignitenational.org), to see how you can get involved.  

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