7 Inspiring Women Leading Grassroots Movements
The Women’s March on Washington recently made history as the largest protest the U.S. has every seen. Not only did the 2.9 million people around the world follow in the footsteps of major Civil Rights and women’s liberation demonstrations, but the march for intersectional equality is yet another reminder of the legacy we owe to Black Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the everyday people who practiced his principles of non-violence to change the world.
This latest mass mobilization of activists and protestors is an epic feat, one that any organizer, activist, or marketer can admire. And like many movements in the age of social media, this large-scale, global event started with a simple Facebook update. The origin of the march is credited to a Hawaiian grandmother who on the night of the election made a Facebook page suggesting a women’s protest during inauguration weekend. That same night across the country, a Brooklyn fashion designer suggested a similar protest to her politically minded followers who purchased shirts that said “Nasty Woman” during the election campaign. By the time the two women woke up on November 9, more than 10,000 people had RSVPd, shared, or confirmed support for the idea. The women combined their events, more women and women-led organizations joined the cause, and in just over two months the demonstration amassed overwhelming support, controversy, and impassioned online conversations under the hashtags #WhyIMarch, #WomensMarch, and #IMarchFor. It’s also seen its share of ire as opposers to the rally took protestors to task under the hashtag #RenameMillionWomenMarch.
The lesson anyone, regardless of political views, can take away from the Women’s March is that huge buzz and great impact often starts in a simple way: with a message that spreads because it resonates.
While demonstrations are integral to democracy, those who participate in the fight for equality know change doesn’t happen all at once on the steps of the Washington Monument on a Saturday. Real change occurs in the everyday, by individuals organizing and inspiring on a local level, nurturing their communities and giving voice to oppressed people and untold stories. In the spirit of those women doing their part everyday, here are some of the women-led movements in the Adobe Spark community that have inspired us recently from a marathon runner trekking across Nepal to women of color reframing oppressive cultural narratives.
Stand in Our Power’s Support for Activists
Artist, activist and social entrepreneur Taij K. Moteelall built a network of “women of color leading transformational change.” Acting as a sort of support group for change-agents, Standing in Our Power provides retreats, workshops, trainings, coaching, and community aimed at helping activists be more successful in their work by prioritizing wellness and healing within oppressed communities. “During times of economic, ecological and social upheaval, we are faced with a fundamental choice: to contract or connect,” writes Taij in an open letter to supporters.” Relationship and community building serve as central components to our work, leading to a thriving and interdependent network.”
Learn more about SiOP’s philosophy and get connected to a network of inspiring women:
Rebellious Magazine’s Feminist News Coverage
This Chicago-based online magazine provides a feminist perspective on Chicago news events, politics, and culture. Every month it names a feminist a “Rebelle of the Month” and frequently supports women-owned businesses and organizations in editorial coverage and partnerships. Take a look at some of the important stories Rebellious Magazine covered in 2016 by scrolling through this round-up.
Spark Note: This Spark Page looks slick, but the creators simply added images and a couple sentences to entice readers to click through to read the whole story on magazine’s site. The main takeaway: Find opportunities to repackage your best content on social media to get a greater return on your content investment. Spark Page makes collecting and repackaging content easy!
While their mission is serious, we love the mag’s winky approach on social media, which makes the brand fun to follow, no matter what gender you identify as.
The Blackout’s Hashtag Movement
Social activist Marissa Rei is the co-founder of The Blackout and creator of the popular hashtag #BlackoutDay, a “tri-monthly call to action that celebrates all black people.” The movement aims to create a positive space for black people to reframe and express their identities on their terms, by inviting people to show what “blackness” means to them by sharing content with the hashtag #BlackoutDay.
Learn about the movement in this mission statement video made with Spark:
Spark Note: The creators pinned this tweet to the page so that visitors can immediately get oriented to the movement’s mission. Pinned tweets help content gain more visibility and engagement. The video also lives on the group’s unfinished website so that the movement can grow even as marketing collateral is developed.
Ultra Marathon Runner’s Epic Trek Across Nepal for Female Athletes
Ultra Marathon Runner Lizzy Hawker has found personal empowerment through running, amassing more Ultra Marathon Wins than any other marathoner. And now the athlete is adding a charitable component to her athletic feats. She took Nepal on by foot in order to raise money for female Nepali athletes. Donations to Lizzy’s campaign on Generosity go to Girls Run Nepal via US NGO Athletes for Athletes. See her incredible journey in photos, video, and journal entries in this gorgeous Spark Page.
Empower Women’s Community Storytelling
Empower Women is UN Women’s global movement for women’s economic empowerment. Recently the organization asked its community to tell their empowerment stories with video as part of its ongoing effort to elevate voices in the community and to build buzz for an offline event, the #Empowerwomenrally. Leveraging popular, relevant hashtags, such as #breaktheglass, #empowerwomen, and #herstory, this is an excellent example of a campaign that encourages user-generated content to spread the message. When you empower your followers to have a voice in your brand, it inspires a ripple effect—your followers share with their network for organic social lift.
Here’s a video explaining the call for video submissions, which influencers and members of the Empower Women community shared to their network.
And it worked! Here are just some of the submissions that the call generated, showcasing more women and their own grassroots movements:
Curls on the Block’s Redefinition of Beauty Standards
Dismantling beauty standards and creating a more inclusive media landscape is heavily entrenched in the modern feminist movement. Analise Harris’s youth program “Curls on the Block” is aimed at increasing girls’ self-esteem and providing resources for curly haired girls who are underrepresented in the media. Learn why beauty representation is important in fostering the next generation of female thinkers in another excellent example of a mission video:
An Artist’s Powerful Exhibition During #16DaysofActivism
South African artists Nondumiso Msimanga and Jenny Nijenhueis worked with artists to line the streets of Maboneng, Johannesburg with 3,600 pairs of underwear to represent the estimated 3,600 daily rapes that occur in South Africa. The exhibition was part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based violence and aimed at creating a public and open dialogue on a very taboo subject. Digital storyteller Danayi Musamirapamwe covered the exhibition with video that put the work in greater context and gave the art project a broader online audience.
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