Women’s History Month: Celebrating neighbors uniting for gender justice

Women’s History Month is special to us here at ioby. For one thing, roughly two-thirds of ioby leaders and supporters, the folks who dream up big ideas and the neighbors who help bring them to life, are women! And for another, fighting against sexism is an important value to us, and it’s important to the many ioby leaders who are working to shape women’s history today. It’s a key part of the lens through which we see our work; a lens that looks keenly towards an expansive and intersectional vision of justice.

Honoring Women’s History Month to us is as much about celebrating the good as it is about continuing the struggle against sexism, so we wanted to share six ioby project leaders who are organizing their communities for gender justice. Many of them are still fundraising; we hope you’ll take the time to learn more about what these remarkable women are doing to get good done, and maybe consider donating to help them achieve their goals!

1. Girls Making Change Fellowship 2020, currently raising $18,593

It’s an alarming and disappointing fact: the percentage of elected offices held by women of color in the United States is disproportionately low. Girls Making Change wants to tackle that disparity head-on by inspiring young women of color to become civic and political leaders. Based in Detroit, their 16-week fellowship program wants to give high school girls of color the tools to be civically engaged and fight for change in city and state government. To do so, they’re offering social justice leadership training, opportunities to shadow elected officials who are women of color, and a chance to gain hands-on experience in community action. With organizations like Girls Making Change helping women learn to lead their communities, we can look forward to a brighter, more just future for everyone.

Girls at a Girls Rock Pine Ridge summer camp. 

2. Girls Rock Pine Ridge, currently raising $4,160

Girls rock—and we mean that in more ways than one! “Music is just the undercurrent of a movement at Girls Rock Pine Ridge,” says April, project leader for Girls Rock Pine Ridge, a summer camp at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. “The Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people of this area have cultivated the land and survived unspeakable acts of colonization, and our children are the celebration of the survival of our people.” The Girls Rock Pine Ridge project is working to create space for the voices of Indigenous youth and to lift up a new generation of “empowered, strong, and empathetic Indigenous leaders.” In addition to providing campers with five days of instrument instruction, social justice workshops, and creative collaboration, Girls Rock Pine Ridge is hoping to make 2020 their best year yet by including more access to interactions with indigenous artists. Their funds will also be used to help provide transportation to and from their campsites as well as purchase supplies and compensate their teachers. Rock on, sisters!

3. Six Months of Suffrage, currently raising $6,573

Did you know that the year 2020 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which formally granted women the right to vote? A century later, Ginny in Connecticut sees that there’s still work to be done to fight for gender equality. So she started Six Months of Suffrage, a project honoring the Amendment’s centennial anniversary with a series of educational events that pays homage to the relentless work of suffragettes and reminds us of the importance of participating in the political process. “We hope to illustrate that the struggle for full representation in American democracy is still ongoing,” she says. The program, which starts in May 2020, will feature a sash-and-button-making workshop, a parade, several performances, and a high tea with an accompanying lecture and discussion. “If we are able to make the connection between the programs on the stage and the exercise of the individual right to vote, then we will have accomplished not just our own goals, but the goals of those Sister Suffragettes as well.”

Marjana and Mharuya, participants in Young Women Who Crush, support each other and check their climbing knots.

4. Young Women Who Crush, currently raising $16,342

It’s hard to overstate the transformative power that regular physical activity can have on our lives. In addition to the benefits it brings to our physical health, exercise can help us become more confident as we learn to tackle new challenges. Young Women Who Crush, a youth outreach program of NYC climbing gym The Cliffs, helps girls see climbing gyms (and the outdoors) as spaces where they can thrive. They work to foster a community of young women, particularly young women of color and young immigrants, who learn to “recognize their own strength and realize their potential through a discipline they may not have experienced before: climbing.” We love how this organization encourages young women to take on new physical challenges while simultaneously teaching them to strengthen their cooperative and communicative skills. “The YWWC program empowers girls to become not just climbers, but leaders in their communities” and good stewards of the outdoors, their organizers say. We can’t think of a better way to learn the ropes of climbing—and life—than to be surrounded by a supportive and inclusive community like YWWC!

Women's History Month
A “This Girl’s Story 360” storytelling event in Detroit.

5. This Girl’s Story 360 Documentary, raised $4,125

One of the most powerful things we can do to uplift our neighbors is to give them a platform to tell their story, and then listen to them. This Girl’s Story 360 is a documentary that neighbor Minito, in Detroit, is working to create that will “illustrate two teenage girls’ quests to rewrite their skewed narrative.” The documentary will chronicle their journey towards improving self-esteem and will help them serve as an ambassador to their peers. By sharing their stories through this project, along with input from community partners, Minito wants to bring to light the barriers that girls face and the ways in which communities can better support young women in their emotional and behavioral health. We want to honor the work being done to support this important conversation. “This is a movement. I want us to remember these girls are representing…all of our voices,” Minito says.

6. Tabitha’s Daughters—Framing the Future, currently raising $4,114

When Angie read the City of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission Report of 2019 and discovered that Pittsburgh’s “women, and especially African-American women, are living with health, educational, housing, and economic disparities that are ‘the worst in the nation,’” she knew that women had to be part of the solution for change. So she and her community, through a project called Tabitha’s Daughters, turned their passion and love for the Steel City into action. They’re crowdfunding to fund a series of mini-symposiums for women of all ages and ethnicities to have honest discussions about the Gender Equity Commission report and then build a project together to improve the living standard of women in Pittsburgh. Tabitha’s Daughters reminds us that when women speak up, everyone benefits.

Are you interested in creating a project to help fight for women in your community? We’d love to help! Share your idea with us to start using our powerful crowdfunding tools and to get connected with a dedicated Success Strategist who can help you plan your crowdfunding campaign from start to finish. Or, watch our gender justice webinar to get ideas and inspiration for your own project.