100 Day Plan for Women

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Overview

SuitUp is a grassroots organization of diverse women and men formed to identify solutions to
issues women confront in their communities. Between November 9, 2016 and January 20,
2017, over 25,000 people participated in local gatherings, online discussions and Facebook
groups to identify issues and propose solutions. These discussions covered a range of topics
from issues women face at work, in society, in education, with their families, in politics and in
society as a whole. Interestingly, many of the same themes were present in SuitUps across the
country and are reflected below.


This 100 Day Plan for Women is the culmination of the ideas and actions from SuitUp groups
across the country. We believe change will come about through action, and the cumulative
affect of many actions and the actions of many, so each solution is designed to be something
that can be acted upon, and implemented, in 100 days.


The 100 Day Plan is organized into the following sections:
           • Women at work
           • Women's health and safety
           • Women and society
           • Women and families
           • Women at school
           • Women in politics


Women at Work

PROBLEM: Young women need strong women mentors to help them achieve their personal
and professional goals.

SOLUTION: Create a mentor network with the women from your city. Remember to include
women who were raised in your city or somehow connected to the community but may live
elsewhere. Create a Facebook group for these women to help one another and an email list
where, if a woman reaches out for a mentor, you can match her with someone from the
community. Look to models like Boston Business Women as an example.


 

PROBLEM: Women still make up a small fraction of executive roles. Women represent 46% of
entry-level professionals, 29% of vice presidents and only 19% of c-suite executives.

SOLUTION: On a personal level, find a woman to mentor. On an organizational level, get
involved with organizations doing work to eliminate the gender gap and promote these within
your company. A great starting point is Paradigm for Parity, which has developed a specific
action plan for companies to adopt and implement.


 

PROBLEM: Money is power and there aren’t enough women in finance and investing career
tracks. For example, as of March 2015, only 9.4% of portfolio managers of U.S. open-ended
Mutual Funds are women.

SOLUTION: Partner with your local high school or local colleges to create a women’s
investment club. Fundraise a small amount of money for the club to manage and partner with a
local investment advisor to guide them through the process of buying and selling stocks and
managing a portfolio. Check out the program at Greenhill High School in Texas for inspiration.


 

PROBLEM: Women founders and business owners find it more difficult to access capital to
grow their companies. For example, women only receive 12% of overall venture capital funding
dollars, making it more difficult for women to build and grow large companies.

SOLUTION: Create a women’s capital network in your community for women to invest in other
women. Look to Female Founders Fund for inspiration. If starting a capital network is
unrealistic in your community, get a group of women together to back female-led projects on
crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter or iFundWomen.


 

PROBLEM: Women still face sexual harassment issues in the workplace, including
inappropriate comments, unequal work assignments, unequal pay, and more. However, going
to HR is challenging due to the risk of retaliation or a lack of action.

SOLUTION: Create a Glassdoor-type website for gender equality where women can report
gender bias anonymously and the complaint can be verified by an over-arching organization. If
a complaint is filed against an individual, they will receive an email from the organization putting
them on watch. As examples, see Glassdoor for reviews and ratings.


Women's Health and Safety

PROBLEM: As more states are passing tougher laws around women’s health, it becomes
progressively more difficult for women without significant financial resources to get the care they
need.

SOLUTION: Create a website that women can sign up to host other women in their homes (or
help pay for a hotel), and help with transportation if a women needs to travel away from home to
get care.

SOLUTION: work with your local city officials to set up a “sister city” program. If you live in a
city that has open access to women’s healthcare, find a city somewhere else that is struggling
with this issue and set up programs to help. Ideas include fundraising events to help pay for
travel, hosting women in need while they get healthcare, sponsor a clinic.


 

PROBLEM: Sexual harassment and assault against women continues to be a problem in high
schools, colleges, and the workplace. 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted, with an even
higher number facing harassment.

SOLUTION: Education needs to start early. Petition your local school board to create a sexual
assault and harassment training program that can be integrated into the sexual education class
curriculum in middle school and high school.


 

PROBLEM: Women in certain states are lacking easy access to birth control and preventive
care.

SOLUTION: Lobby your state officials to expand access to care by quantifying the cost to raise
a child in the welfare system versus providing free birth control to women who qualify.


 

PROBLEM: The Violence Against Women Act grants are at risk of losing funding with the new
administration.

SOLUTION: Sign the petition found here and then share on social media outlets to encourage
others. 100,000 signatures are needed in 30 days (February 22, 2017) in order to receive a
response from the White House.


 

PROBLEM: Many of the products women use on a daily basis are poorly regulated, specifically
with respect to chemicals found in feminine care products and cosmetics. The risk of many of
these products continual use over a woman’s lifetime has raised questions linked to health
issues and cancers.

SOLUTION: Lobby your congressman to require tighter regulation on feminine products and
cosmetics and more significant testing. Specifically, requiring companies to list the ingredients
of feminine products on the packaging. On a local level, spread awareness with your social
network and look to support companies creating non-toxic products, such as LOLA or THINX.


Women in Society

PROBLEM: Women continue to be portrayed in a stereotypical fashion in advertisements
related to home products, sending a message that the woman is the only parent responsible for
cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

SOLUTION: Create a local organization that works with the businesses in your community to
create more gender-neutral advertising on the local level. Additionally, pay attention to the
advertisements running on national television and call/write to those companies and the media
who still portray women in a stereotypical way and let them know that you stand for
inclusiveness.


 

PROBLEM: At major toy retailers, girls toys are almost exclusively focused on stereotypical
gender roles and involve pink, pretend play items of vacuum cleaners, kitchen sets, and beauty
products, and princesses. They lack inspirational toys to challenge girls to dream big in math,
science, medicine or other fields. See ToysRus for examples.

SOLUTION: Call and email major toy retailers to create a gender-neutral toy catalogue and
change their labels online similar to Sweden’s largest toy retailer, TopToy, has done. In the
meantime, shop on sites like A Mighty Girl that specifically curate unique and powerful toys,
books, and games for girls instead of big box toy retailers.


 

PROBLEM: Media directly influences the perception of women, yet strong female characters
are still the minority.

SOLUTION: Create a website with a ranking system, similar to Rotten Tomatoes, that ranks
films based on the role of women and the message the movie portrays. Check out Polygraph for
some great data as a starting point.


 

PROBLEM: Historically, mainstream feminism has focused on the more privileged and mainly
white women.

SOLUTION: Make a conscious effort to fight for an intersectional and inclusive feminine
movement and bridge the divide between women of different classes and colors.


 

PROBLEM: Creating a productive dialogue with people who have strongly-held views that are
different from our own can be difficult and frustrating, especially if they are close friends or
relatives.

SOLUTION: Organize a small coffee event in your community to bring differing opinions
together in conversation within a safe space with the goal of understanding and listening to each
other. Work with organizations across the aisle or with opposing views on certain issues to
create a diverse audience. By first talking with and listening to individuals on the opposing side
of an issue in a format that fosters productive dialogue, you’ll be better able to understand the
motivations and emotions that have informed the views of close friends or relatives on different
sides of an issue. Use the strategies and tactics you learn in the event to then diffuse the
emotion and engage in productive conversations- difficult conversations will become slightly
easier and more to persuade with practice.


 

PROBLEM: How to find like-minded thinkers who want to put words into actions?

SOLUTION: Check out Indivisible Guide to see if there are groups near you; Check out
Women’s March for ideas as well and, of course, continue to engage with SuitUp in our
Facebook group.


Women and Families

PROBLEM: The lack of paid family leave for both parents places a hardship on families and
takes women out of the workforce.

SOLUTION: Organize a group to lobby businesses in your community to provide paid family
leave for both parents. Talk with your local and state officials to emphasize the importance of
the issue. Create networks of women who are also pushing their employers to do the same. At
a Federal level, support The Family Medical Leave and Insurance Act (Family Act).


 

PROBLEM: Childcare is extremely expensive, which puts a burden on single moms and
pressure on dual income families often resulting in the mother taking reduced work hours to
care for the child, or having to pick up more hours and work multiple jobs to pay for care.

SOLUTION: Create a policy similar to nursing home insurance, where future parents,
grandparents, etc. could pay into a pool to cover childcare costs if a family subsequently has
children. This allows the cost of childcare to be paid for over a period of time prior to the child
entering daycare.

SOLUTION: Lobby your employer for “employer matching” as a perk into a tax-free childcare
savings account, similar to 401k matching.


 

PROBLEM: Ensuring equal rights for women and children in family court and tackling
corruption in state and federal Child Protective Services branches.

SOLUTION: Volunteer with your local Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children
organization which help to ensure every abused or neglected child in the United States can be
safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.


Women at School

PROBLEM: Sexual assault on college campuses is an ongoing problem in creating a safe
learning environment for young women.

SOLUTION: Lobby your local college to create sexual assault training programs, faster reviews,
and stricter policies for offenders. Specifically, lean on coaches and athletic teams as role
models for zero tolerance of sexual assault.

SOLUTION: Create an app where women can easily mark themselves “safe” or “in danger”
when at social events by hitting a button that alerts their friends to their location and helps their
social network come to their aid if necessary.


 

PROBLEM: Girls don’t have equal access to high-achieving role models. For instance, the
posters on the walls of most schools are of men (scientists, presidents, etc).

SOLUTION: Partner with local schools to fund a poster drive in your local community to raise
money to buy posters of inspiring and diverse women for your classrooms. If you need
inspiration, check out the amazing work being done by Marley Dias over at
#1000BlackGirlBooks.


 

PROBLEM: There are not enough women going into math and science related fields.

SOLUTION: Lobby your local school board and state officials to make STEM education
mandatory in K-12, specifically focusing on curriculum that is hands on and engaging at a young
age.

SOLUTION: Give talking point to teachers for parent/teacher conferences on the gender gap in
math and science and actively discuss the need for more women in STEM at PTA meetings to
get parents involved in encouraging their daughters to go into STEM fields.

SOLUTION: Start or support a local chapter of Destination Imagination (or other similar
international problem solving competitions) and encourage girls to get involved. https://
www.destinationimagination.org/


Women in Politics

PROBLEM: Women need to take bigger roles in both running for office and lobbying for
legislation to get their voices heard on the local, state, and national level, including with an
effective DNC chair.

SOLUTION: Research and connect with the local groups in your area who are already active on
policy issues related to women (National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, Black
Lives Matter
, etc.). Create and launch a legislative training session to teach women in your
community about the process and how their voices can be heard. See the Sarasota Community
Alliance as an example.

SOLUTION: Run a local training program in partnership with an organization like Emily’s List to
inform women in your community how to run for office, including city council and the school
board.


 

PROBLEM: Calling your member of Congress and/or letter writing may not be enough to garner
attention and change perspectives.

SOLUTION: Utilize time-tested campaign tactics to aggressively advocate for your positions.
An example game plan is as follows:

STEP 1: Call your member of Congress to find out when the next public in-district event is. If
the office won’t disclose his or her schedule, try calling local media outlets or the local political
organization for their party. Specifically look for events where the candidate will be in public, but
are considered non-campaign events, such as parades, ribbon cuttings, dedications, etc.

STEP 2: Get as many individuals as possible to commit to attend the event. The goal is
numbers- as many as possible.

STEP 3: In advance of the event create signs, t-shirts, buttons, and balloons supporting your
position (anything that is highly visible).

STEP 4: Meet in advance of the event to organize, pass out materials, and discuss strategy. If it
is an outdoor public event, discuss the chants beforehand (remember to be respectful when
choosing times for vocal protests), if a question and answer format, specifically plant questions
to further your cause. Importantly, make sure the individuals appointed to ask questions aren’t
identified with your group, otherwise they may not be called upon. They should have no visible
signs of dissent and should not enter or leave with your group

STEP 5: If at a parade, arrive early and start at the back of the parade route passing out signs,
balloons, and t-shirts with your message. By starting at the back of the parade route and
working your way forward, it ensures that by the time your elected official walks the route he or
she will see a significant amount of dissent. This strategy also works for any public event with a
large crowd of people with a mixed political persuasion.

STEP 6: Repeat the above process for every public event you can and draft a roster of different
people to cover events to ensure that you don’t burn out your group. It’s a long game that
requires repetition. If possible, engage your local political organizations and women’s
organizations to find more volunteers and support.


 

PROBLEM: Control of the House in 2018 will be decided by a handful of Swing Districts,
places where the last election was decided by a thin margin.

SOLUTION: Find your closest Swing District and join its team to learn about actionable
opportunities.


 

PROBLEM: Important bills in Congress are often hard to understand and therefore influence.

SOLUTION: Check out Countable for clear, concise summaries of bills going through Congress,
to see what others think, and to take action, telling your Representatives how you feel.