Not only does Donald Trump’s policy plan for his first 100 days mention nothing about supporting women’s rights, but Trump has flaunted his misogyny, making disparaging comments about women’s looks and bragging about sexual assault. So it’s unlikely that the 20 percent wage gap between women and men will be addressed soon. Nor will Trump rush to guarantee paid family or medical leave to help care for newborn children or ill family members, responsibilities that disproportionately fall upon women.
The day after the inauguration, millions of women marched in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country to send a message to the new administration that women demand better treatment. This is what we have to do—this having each other’s back—join together to insist on a way forward even in a Trump world. Here are five actions women can take to build sisterhood.
1. Escort other women to the abortion clinic
Despite Roe v. Wade, abortion rights are being eroded in state after state. The dismantling disproportionately affects rural women, poor women, and women of color. Donate to organizations that provide reproductive health care and sex education, but also consider volunteering at a family planning clinic like Planned Parenthood. You can escort patients outside of the clinics, where women are often harassed by picketers. They could use someone to join them walking to and from the clinic.
2. “Lean In” with other women
When women help each other, we can accomplish great things. A “Lean In Circle,” inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, is a small group in which women regularly meet to discuss their ambitions and help each other accomplish their goals. A circle can be an online meetup with other women around the world or a small local gathering.
3. Donate menstrual products
Periods are not only a health issue for some women living in poverty and homelessness—they can also break the bank. A year’s worth of feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads can cost more than $100. Disposable menstrual products are some of the most needed items at food pantries and homeless shelters, but donors often overlook them. Consider donating tampons and pads to your local food bank and homeless shelters to help make that time of the month easier.
4. Amplify other women’s ideas
Studies have shown that women are less likely to receive credit for their contributions in predominantly male settings. President Obama’s female staffers, who had to navigate meetings that were often two-thirds men, used a meeting technique they called “amplification,” according to the Washington Post. Here’s how it works: When a woman has an idea or makes a point, other women in the room support it and credit her, giving the contribution more weight in a room full of men who tend to hear mostly each other.
5. Step in and speak up
There are concerns that Trump’s election has publicly normalized misogyny and sexual assault. The Southern Poverty Law Center collected reports of 45 anti-woman incidents in the month following the election, and more than 80 percent of the assailants made reference to Trump during those incidents. How can women protect each other? Involve yourself. Step in when you see harassment. Speak directly to the assailant, stand beside the woman, offer to call the police. Alert a woman if you think she’s being followed, and walk with her.