Women's March: What to Do Next
You marched, made a sign, used the hashtag ... now what? Speakers from the Auckland Women's March share things you can do to keep the momentum going
Following Women's Marches around the world on January 21, which saw more than 5 million people taking part, march organisers have created the 10 Actions for the first 100 Days campaign. Every 10 days they will share an action on an issue on their website, because, "now is not the time to hang up our marching shoes - it’s time to get our friends, family and community together and make history".
The first action is writing postcards to local senators on issues you care about - but what to do in New Zealand, from a local perspective? We asked some of the speakers at Auckland's sister march to share their actionable tips:
Jacinda Ardern, Labour MP and candidate for Mt Albert
My 'what's next' would be quite local. Write to your local MP - ask them what they're doing to close the gender pay gap. It's going to take leadership from the centre to make the changes we need. And on our terrible domestic violence rates, contact women's refuge or Shine. Ask what they need and how you can help. Join the white ribbon movement. Stand up whenever and wherever you see violence against women and kids. We have a long way to go, but I have hope that we can be world leaders on this stuff.
Dr Pani Farvid, senior psychology lecturer at AUT
Some of the next steps we can take after the fantastic march on Saturday is to stay informed about gender issues and get involved in speaking up against inequality or sexism.
These can be at an interpersonal level, like if someone tells a sexist (or racist) joke or says something that’s really drawing on outdated gender stereotypes, you should not feel afraid to call them out on it. If we can change the norms around sexism and sexist behaviour, this can help us curb what it leads to, the more acute expressions which are gender-based discrimination and violence.
I would then get active in any organisation you work in to make sure gender or ethnic-based discrimination is not tolerated. Then you can get involved out in the community with many organisations that work in the field of gender equality.
And lastly, I would get active even more politically! Make sure you vote and choose the party or people that best represent the tenets of equality and social justice. And of course, make sure you remain active in this global grassroots movement and get out there for future marches. Stay informed, speak up, organise and stay politically active!
Tracey Barnett, political commentator
Learn more, then teach others, even if you only start with a social media click first. If you feel uncomfortable that New Zealand still ranks 97th worst in the world for the number of refugees we host per capita or that misinformation is triggering dehumanising responses from friends, then start sharing some posts from WagePeaceNZ on Facebook, a site whose goal is to inform you about refugee issues.
Then, no matter what the issue is, stand up at every candidate’s meeting you attend at election time and ask a very specific question, i.e. “How many more refugees will you commit to taking in this country?” Whatever the issue, remember, frame your emails and questions to MPs so it triggers their public response to be a very specific commitment to your issue.
- Did you take part in NZ? The Auckland Museum is looking for signs, placards, banners, flyers and material from local marches, to "document and archive the protest, and the subsequent dialogue for the benefit of future generations". Find out how to contribute here.