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8 charities that deserve your attention on International Women’s Day

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Megan Murray
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Want to do your bit for the women in need all over the world? Let us direct your attention to some incredible and inspiring causes that will help you do just that. 

This year, International Women’s Day comes at a monumental moment for women.

The fourth wave of feminism, and astoundingly brave actions of those who have spoken out about the oppression of women, has powered movements that have made us all take stock of what it really means to be female.

The coverage of awards season has been captivating. Stirring symbols of solidarity and speeches have taken centre stage. We’ve watched some of the women we most admire announcing defiantly that our time of being silenced and sexually assaulted is most certainly up. But we need to remember what reality looks like for most women, away from the glittering black gowns and television screens.

All over the UK and around the world, women are living in poverty, being subjected to sexual violence, and denied access to education.

Although the headlines tell a story of progression, women in disadvantaged communities rely heavily on the inspirational work of charities that provide invaluable services, support and education.

If you feel inspired to pledge your support to your sisters in need, whether it be through a one-off donation, a regular payment or some volunteer work, we’ve picked some great charities that support women. 

The Fawcett Society 

Having impressively deep roots in suffragette history is not the only thing that makes this pioneering women’s charity special.

Established in 1866 by Millicent Fawcett, the charity has been advancing women’s equality since the young suffragette set out to collect signatures supporting votes for women at just 19 years old.

This groundwork went on to support the campaign that eventually secured the vote for most women in 1918.

These days, The Fawcett Society is set on furthering its founder’s calling. It creates national campaigns to challenge attitudes and change minds, particularly driven by findings that 20% of men aged 25-34 would say that women’s equality has ‘gone too far’.

The charity has already achieved some huge milestones. Not only did it persuade the Government to require large employers to report on their gender pay gap, but it was a large influence in the lobby for the Equal Pay Act.

However, The Fawcett Society is by no means content with sitting on its laurels in the wake of these accomplishments. At current rates of progress, it will take 100 years to close the gender pay gap, a goal that the society is passionate about reaching much sooner.

You can support their work in defending women’s rights, closing the gender pay gap and securing gender equality in parliament by becoming a member of the society for as little as £8 a month.

If you’re looking to help in a way that feels a little less committed, you can make singular (or regular, if you’re so inclined) donations, too. 

Care International 

Care International works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice, and they put women and girls at the centre of everything they do. 

Working across 79 poor and developing countries, they have helped millions of people find routes out of poverty since being founded in 1945. Now, the charity’s aim is to support 150 million people from the most vulnerable communities in the world by 2020.

To do this they plan to invest in education for girls, end child marriage and enable women to earn their own incomes. Their work is dependent on donations, which can be done on a regular or one-off basis. Currently every donation to the Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign will be doubled by the UK government, which is an unmissable opportunity to aid those who really need it. 

Young Women’s Trust

If you’re interested in supporting women under 30 in the UK, who are struggling to survive with a low income, this trust specialises in giving those battling poverty and unemployment the tools to succeed.

Young Women’s Trust works with females between 16-30 to provide advice and support to assist with personal and career development. Using their expert knowledge, HR professionals work closely with young women to improve their CVs, cover letters and job applications.

But the charity understands that when someone is in a vulnerable place, emotional and mental support is just as important as practical skills. This is why they also offer life coaching, to prepare young women for job interviews by boosting their confidence and helping them to recognise their best skills and stay motivated.

For £3 a month you can be a ‘Champion’, which gives you access to insider updates about the young women you’re helping, as well as opportunities to volunteer at promotional events, and tips to help you plan fundraising events throughout the year. 

Woman Kind

At least one in every three women around the world has experienced violence in her lifetime. This is a shocking, sobering and harrowing fact that highlights the breadth of oppression women face globally.

Woman Kind’s number one priority is to end violence against women and girls for good; a goal which they recognise feels overwhelming. To tackle this issue effectively the charity has refined its approach to work with women’s movements in Africa and Asia in three main ways.

Not only are they pushing for policies and laws to be put in place to protect women, they are also continuing to drive social change to ensure that women’s rights are supported.

Woman Kind are open to regular or one-off donations. They also suggest women who are passionate about start-up projects become part of their Giving Circle. Members can join together to create their own circle and back a project, country or area of work that inspires them and club together to make it happen.

Savera UK 

This charity focuses on shining a light on subjects surrounding ‘honour’-based violence, including FGM, forced marriages and domestic abuse, specifically within Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in the UK.

Savera works to raise awareness in schools and educate young people in the communities most affected by these practices. It does this by developing and delivering training through conferences and events, and expanding the knowledge and skills of professionals working with survivors of domestic abuse and harmful practices.

The charity also provides a helpline and one-to-one support for women who are under threat, to try and help them out of dangerous situations.

Savera mostly depends on donations to continue its work and is currently setting up an online portal where people can pledge financial aid. 

Imkaan  

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This black, feminist organisation works at local, national and international levels to address violence specifically affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) women and girls.

By partnering with a range of organisations, the group works to improve policy and practice responses to women of colour, around issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage and ‘honour’-based violence.

Imkaan specialises in supporting these sectors by carrying out crucial research, improving strategy around service delivery and providing training for those offering support to the women facing violence.

Imkaan does not have a stereotypical donation function but if you’re interested in supporting the work of this organisation, you can look at its membership page which outlines how and why you might want to become a member. 

Women for Refugee Women 

This charity aims to break down the social exclusion and injustices felt by women entering the UK, looking for asylum. It does this by using the incredible stories of the women it’s trying to help, empowering them to speak out and shine a light on the heartbreaking journeys they’ve been through.

By highlighting these narratives to the media and policy-makers, Women for Refugee Women aims to give a voice to women, who are all too often unheard and unseen, and ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect.

Practically, the charity also puts on free events such as yoga, English lessons and mums and children’s groups to offer safe spaces that provide education and support. They have also set up a number of groups for asylum seekers to join. This includes the London Refugee Women’s Forum, which specialises in campaigning to change attitudes towards refugees, and the Rainbow Sisters, for lesbian and bisexual women.

One of Women for Refugee Women’s regular events is a weekly lunch for 100 women who have experienced sexual violence, rape or sex trafficking. It costs the charity £10 per woman per week and is just one of the events that the organisation puts on to create a safe environment to help women rebuild their lives in this country. 

You can donate to help with the expenses of this event, or in many other ways, here

Bloody Good Period 

As this charity rightfully explains, period supplies may not be cheap, but they are essential. But for many women and girls, especially those seeking refuge in this country who have no income, the simple cost of dignity and hygiene while menstruating is too high for them to afford.

Bloody Good Period aims to end the period poverty felt by asylum seekers by distributing donations to asylum seeker drop-in centres and food banks in London and the UK. It also provides long-term menstrual education to those who need it to promote menstrual health from the ground up.

You can either donate money or items such as period supplies, toothbrushes or baby wipes to Bloody Good Period and the team will make sure they reach the people that need them the most. 

Images: iStock

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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