By now International Women's Day tributes are flowing in from far and wide, showering women "at the top of their game" in applause and affection. It's a worthy cause, and we should be carving out space to celebrate the successes of women — of which there are many. But every year when this day rolls around, it seems as though it's reserved solely for the Girl Boss types, those for whom the final, and oftentimes only, societal frontier left to overcome is their gender.
On days like these, what tends to happen is we overlook women on the margins, those whose triumphs and struggles are less visible. As much as International Women's Day is about spotlighting women's achievements, it's also about bringing attention to the work still left to be done. It's a workload often carried by those still battling to have their experience of womanhood seen and heard; like queer folks, the working class, women with disabilities, trans women, Indigenous, Black and women of colour.
If we are truly committed to intersectional feminism in action, then we know that trickle down theory in all its forms simply does not work. Whether its food insecurity, access to healthcare and the legal system, or prioritising safety, meeting the basic needs and rights of women should be our first priority. That's why we're platforming the organisations and charities dedicated to improving the livelihood of all kinds of women.
Be it through reparations, by paying the rent, or by fortifying essential women's health services, here's a list of places to donate to if you are in a position to do so this International Women's Day.
Grandmothers Against Removals is a grassroots network spearheaded by Aboriginal matriarchs, mothers, activists and Elders like Wiradjuri Elder Aunty Jenny Munro. It is a resistance against the systemic removal of Aboriginal children from their immediate and extended families, communities and kinship groups by the Department of Family and Community Services.
Scarlett Alliance is the national peak body for sex workers in Australia. It endeavours to advance the rights of sex workers, advocate for the agency of sex workers, while also providing legal, health and safety, political, cultural and economic information and justice for its members.
Family Planning is the leading organisation for reproductive and sexual health in New South Wales, Australia and the Pacific. It provides essential health services, information, and education, while safeguarding the rights of communities to have autonomy over their sexual and reproductive health.
Established in 1992, Sisters Inside is an independent community organisation based in Queensland. It advocates for the intrinsic human rights of women and girls in prison, and their families. It also provides services to address their individual needs. At the heart of Sisters Inside is the belief that "criminalisation is usually the outcome of repeated and intergenerational experiences of violence, poverty, homelessness, child removal and unemployment, resulting in complex health issues and substance use".
The Sex Workers Outreach Program is a community-based network that provides a range of services to people engaging in sex work in NSW. Some of the services include confidential counselling and support, safer sex supplies, and free legal advice.
Chloe is a proud transgender woman, community organiser, promoter and performer based in Warrang, Sydney. She is seeking financial assistance so that she can move "towards living in a body I feel more comfortable and at home within". Not all trans and non-binary folk seek out Gender Affirmation Surgeries, but for those who do, accessing this essential healthcare can be extremely cost prohibitive, or "financially suffocating" in the words of Chloe, as well as it being inconsistently covered by Medicare. You can support Chloe at the GoFundMe page at the link where her goal is to raise $20,000.
Existing services cannot match the demand for crisis accommodation by women. Enter Women's Community Shelters. At a range of locations across Sydney, WCS provide short term emergency accommodation and support in a safe environment that enables homeless women to rebuild self-esteem and achieve control and fulfilment of their lives. Donate for International Women's Day or set up regular payments on the WCS site.
Share the Dignity partners with over 3000 charities Australia-wide to distribute sanitary items. Oftentimes those who are in need of this service are contending with myriad other issues in their life, and worrying about their period is the last thing on their mind.
Lou's Place is the only daytime refuge for women in Sydney. It's community run and provides a variety of services from the most basic like home cooked meals, shower and laundry facilities, emergency clothing and toiletries, to free legal advice, medical appointments, and healing activities like yoga, art workshops, sewing and creative writing. There are no caveats to showing up at Lou's Place; no time restrictions and those working through addiction do not need to be clean to access the services.
Based in Marrickville on Gadigal land, Wirringa Baiya's mission statement is to "provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in NSW with a gender-specific service sensitive to their culturally diverse needs; and to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women victims-survivors of violence with access to appropriate legal representation, advocacy, advice, and referral."
In June 2015, Two Good Co. launched its ‘Eat one, treat one’ model. For every meal purchased, it gives an identical one to a local women’s refuge for domestic violence survivors. As of 2017, Two Good Co. has served over 195,154 meals to women in refuges across Sydney and Melbourne.
Based across three locations in NSW, Dress For Success endeavours to provide free professional attire to women, including non-binary folk comfortable in women’s spaces. As well as this, the organisation runs free resume writing and interview skills workshops. This International Women's Day, or any day for that matter, you can donate money or gently used, nearly-new professional attire. Otherwise, Dress For Success also take on volunteers.
Black Rainbow is a non-profit national grassroots organisation owned and operated by Aboriginal folk. It originally began as a suicide prevention group but has since expanded to support the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI+SB individuals and communities.