We are living in challenging times. We’re all staying at home more than we normally would, and rightly so. But physical distancing shouldn’t mean social distancing, and it certainly doesn’t mean that our feminist activities stop altogether. Here are some tips on how you can isolate like a feminist!
Be an ally from your living room.
Don’t just flatten the curve, smash it and the patriarchy! Advocacy and allyship doesn’t stop during a pandemic. In fact, our efforts and energy are needed now more than ever. While in-person advocacy is on pause and public spaces are closed, as feminists we need to get creative about different ways we can push issues forward.
“We need to make the most of our current time and continue to fight for the changes the world needs. It’s time to be innovative and look for different routes to reform.”Zahra Al-Hilaly, Young Women’s Councillor
- join social media chats and attend virtual meetings of feminist organisations?
- share your experiences and insights and start writing?*
- share feminist advocacy messaging on your own social media channels?
*Want to write for YWCA? We’re on the lookout for young feminist thought leaders – if you want to write an article about something you’re passionate about, we’re keen to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your article idea, and we’ll have a chat about how we can publish your article on our website!
We can also be advocates in our personal lives by starting important conversations with our family and friends about sharing the labour at home. Women do on average three times more unpaid care work than men and during the COVID-19 crisis, care responsibilities are at an all-time high. Have conversations with your partner, parents, siblings, colleagues and friends and encourage them to equally distribute responsibilities around the home. For conversation starter ideas, check out UN Women’s #HeForSheAtHome campaign.
Challenge the narrative.
Use this time to seek out and learn from people who are not often given a platform.
For lots of people, self-isolating or working from home is not a new thing. Many people who live with disabilities or health conditions experience restricted freedom of movement and may work remotely either for health reasons or because traditional work environments are not accommodating.
Similarly, women and girls in rural and regional areas may not have the luxury of accessing online classes or working from home. Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds may face other challenges as well. Whatever it is, it’s important to remember that your situation is different from everyone else’s.
This COVID-19 period is an opportunity to think intersectionally and listen to, learn from and amplify the voices of people with disabilities. Follow the hashtags #NoBodyIsDisposable, #DisabledNotDisposable and #WeAreEssential to learn more.
Understand the gendered impacts of COVID-19.
A gendered analysis of COVID-19 has been largely missing from public debate and official planning, and women (and young people) are again being excluded from decision-making spaces. Only two of the named seven board members on the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission are women and national media announcements are consistently led by men.
To respond to a crisis effectively, the world must consider the experiences and expertise of a diverse range of people. Indeed we see that nations led by women have consistently been those that are innovating and leading the fight against COVID-19.
We can see that women are on the frontline of this crisis delivering essential services and caring for the most vulnerable in society. Women are also the most at risk due to high rates of casual employment, increased risk of violence and rising homelessness.
As feminists we must understand the gendered impacts of the pandemic and advocate for all women during this time. Here’s a great article from our friends at Equality Rights Alliance published on Broad Agenda.
Support local business and people.
Many local cafes, restaurants and grocers are now offering takeaway and delivery options. Many cafes also offer ‘pay it forward’ options where you can shout a coffee or lunch for someone in your neighbourhood. Where you can, shop and #SupportYourLocal through this challenging time – they will need the support more than a large supermarket chain!
“It has been incredible to see the ways that people and organisations have pivoted so quickly to working almost exclusively in online spaces. I love how initiatives like Bring a Plate (@bringaplatedance on Instagram) have been able to transition their practice in an online space.”Sharifah Emalia Al Gadrie, Young Women’s Councillor
There are Facebook groups sprouting up everywhere to help you stay connected to your local community. Find your community care group on #viralkindness, powered by the good folk at GetUp!
But remember, the best thing we can do to support each other is to stay home and respect distance when moving in public spaces.
Move your body.
Look, no one here is telling you to don the Lycra and start doing HIIT classes in your living room, because we certainly aren’t! But what we can recommend is moving your body in a way that feels good to you.
We all know that exercise releases endorphins and is good for strengthening your immune system and maintaining general health and wellbeing. But movement can be so many things. It can be going for a walk around your neighbourhood, taking the stairs in your building instead of the lift, doing some yoga or dancing around your living room.
Incorporating movement into your day may also be a great way to support local and female-owned businesses. Many online sessions are led by women trainers, and lots of local studios are now delivering online content for a small fee. Do some research and support a local studio and trainer through this difficult time.
“Lockdown has made me appreciate how much of a luxury going outside is and an evening walk is now so special. It doesn’t have to be a run, or even a quick walk, but I’m outside, moving and more grateful than ever.”Moana Prescott, Young Women’s Councillor
Move your mind.
Read, watch and listen to some of your favourite feminists.
Social distancing means we all have more time at home and this could be the perfect time to dive into a new feminist book, explore a new podcast and watch a female led documentary. Challenge yourself to listen to new female creators who might have a different background to you, be from a different country or represent the experiences of a different generation.
A good place to start:
- 10 feminist podcasts to stay social in isolation
- Get educated with some great online courses from UN Women
- Check out the Stella Prize 2020 shortlist and longlist for some reading inspiration from Australian authors
Tackle some life admin.
If you’re feeling brave and energetic, you may want to use this time to chip away at some life admin tasks. Why not think about:
- Consolidating your superannuation and investigating where your superannuation provider invests its money? Do their investments align with your values?
- Doing your bit for the environment (and all women affected by climate change) and go paperless with your bills?
- Reviewing your expenses and create a new budget or savings plan?
Of course, all this stuff is really important for us to be on top of as women. Women will earn on average 16% less than men, we will retire with 37% less superannuation and undertake most of the unpaid labour in the home. If anything, the COVID-19 crisis has emphasised and exacerbated these inequalities.
Use this time to boost your financial know-how and support women-led businesses in the process. Here’s the women money experts we partnered with for our Money Money Money series, to get you started: Verve Super, Women with Cents and Fox & Hare Wealth Management.
“Along with investigating your super, I’d recommend looking about your bank too. Changing your bank can be really daunting (I put it off for ages) but if you’ve got a bit of spare time, look into where your bank is investing money and whether it is doing it ethically. You can literally put your money where your mouth is!”Sharifah Emalia Al Gadrie, Young Women’s Councillor
We also have a bunch of videos on our Money Money Money YouTube playlist and you might be interested in this free online program that tackles women’s relationship with money.
Remember to take care of yourself and your mental health during this time! You are not alone in feeling isolated or anxious. Take a break from the news, connect with people and find those moments of quiet and happiness amongst the chaos.
If you can, initiate those phone and video calls with friends, colleagues and family. Lots of people will be struggling with their mental health and experiencing decision fatigue right now. Taking the first step to reach out may help a friend in need.
“Create group chats where people are welcome to tap in or out, have regular chatter and feel like they are part of a wider community. Lots of people will be struggling with their mental health and decision fatigue right now.”Shaylee Leach, Young Women’s Councillor
Have you found these Tips to Isolate like a Feminist helpful? Why not share the link with your friends and colleagues?
If you have any other ideas for ‘feminist guides to…’, get in touch with us at email@example.com. We’d love to chat about your idea!