We feminists certainly have our work cut out for us. From sexual health to reproductive rights to ending violence and establishing equal opportunities in the workplace and in education, there’s a lot to be done. The speed of the Internet can make us almost instantly aware of problems and injustices, but it also gives us the opportunity to be part of the solution.
Here are five easy actions you can take in the next five minutes for women’s rights. All you need is a computer and a full name (or pseudonym—no judgement)!
1. Tell the SCOTUS: #MyBodyMyBC!
The Supreme Court recently took up two cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control guarantee. Under Obamacare, employers must cover contraceptive costs in their employee health insurance plans—a landmark victory for women’s health. But some for-profit corporations are attempting to exempt themselves from the regulation by claiming a religious prerogative—including Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores around the country.
Tell the SCOTUS that the guarantee matters and that you want them to uphold the decision when they finally rule on the case. Even better, tell them why it matters to you when you sign the Feminist Majority Foundation’s open letter on Change.org.
2. Tell Your Senator to Pass MJIA
The Military Justice Improvement Act would take prosecution for sexual assault and rape in the military out of the chain-of-command. That will lower the risk survivors face retaliation for reporting assault, as well as increasing the chances that perpetrators will be held liable for sexually violent crimes. But Congress has been slow to act. Tell your Senator you want them to pass the MJIA!
3. Keep Women’s Progress Intact in Afghanistan
The recently agreed-upon Bilateral Security Agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan lays out a plan for ending military force in the region while preserving the gains of human rights advocates there—including opportunities and protections for women and girls. The agreement has been approved by John Kerry and Afghanistan’s grand council, the Loya Jirga, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he doesn’t plan to sign it until after the April 2014 elections. If he doesn’t sign it before the end of the year, women’s progress in Afghanistan will be in jeopardy. Stand with Afghan women and girls and urge him to sign it sooner!
4. Encourage Decision-Makers to Make Reproductive and Sexual Health a Part of HIV/AIDS Prevention
PEPFAR is an unprecedented and much appreciated effort to curb HIV/AIDS infections around the world. But without a sexual and reproductive health component, those efforts will all eventually fail, with women disproportionately impacted. Integrating HIV/AIDS programs with family planning makes sense. Remind decision-makers of that today.
5. Help the GOP Learn What to Say
The GOP has hired tutors to help stop male politicians in the party from putting their feet in their mouths, with topics ranging from how to discuss social issues to how to gracefully run against women candidates. If we can’t listen in on these tutorials, at least we can suggest curriculum! Do so on Twitter by using the hashtag #Women101.
Carmen Rios splits her time disparately between feminist rabble-rousing, writing, public speaking, and flower-picking. You can read more of her work at Autostraddle, PolicyMic, SPARK, and THE LINE Campaign blog (where she also serves as Managing Editor).