Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? I did not know this until today! And did you know that March 8th is International Women’s Day? I knew that much, at least. I think that observing Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day remains extremely important – even though we’ve made great strides towards gender equality, we aren’t there yet by any means, and these kinds of observances acknowledge the really great, important
work that has been done, but also reminds us of how much is left to do. Luckily, Los Angeles is home to a number of really great organizations that are doing amazing work for women and girls, and since it’s Women’s History Month, it strikes me that now might be a good time to think about donating some money or time to help out. Here’s a very short little list of some of my favorite, local, lady-related organizations. This list is obviously by no means comprehensive, so please comment and let me know about any other worthy groups!
WriteGirl – WriteGirl pairs high-school-aged girls with mentors who are professional women writers, helping them to develop both their writing skills and their self-confidence. I think this is all kinds of awesome! Their students also contribute to a group blog, and they regularly publish anthologies of their work. So cool. I wish I’d had this when I was in high school.
Downtown Women’s Center – The Downtown Women’s Center provides supportive housing, meals, healthcare, and other services to homeless and low-income women in Skid Row. They’ve been in operation since 1978, and they’re one of the city’s longest-running resource centers for homeless women, a population with very specific needs that often go unmet. They’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a benefit performance called “Male Call” – male actors reading works by women – at West Hollywood’s Coast Playhouse, at 7pm on March 8.
UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women – While the Center for the Study of Women is mostly academic in focus, they bring in a lot of wonderful speakers and host events that are open to the local community. Just last week, I attended a (totally amazing) talk that they hosted by body image activist Marilyn Wann, and they’re hosting a documentary screening for International Women’s Day on March 8, at 6pm, at UCLA’s James Bridges Theatre. (Full disclosure: I work at UCLA, but I don’t have any formal affiliation with the CSW.)
East LA Women’s Center – The East LA Women’s Center provides support for women in abusive situations, and places a particular emphasis on helping Latina women. They provide counselling and support in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence, and also do a lot of educational work to help prevent violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS. They’ve been active in the community since 1975.
And, of course, there’s also Planned Parenthood LA, who provide vital health services at low costs (to women and men); the Hollywood Branch of the National Organization for Women, who run numerous local events and do a lot of grassroots activist work; and Women in Film Los Angeles, who provide support and community for women in the industry.