A woman holds a flower, symbolizing hope

Providing Healing, Promoting Hope

Providing Healing, Promoting Hope

Every March, women from around the world unite to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” According to the National Women’s History Alliance, this theme is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history. 

Throughout the month of March, let’s ask ourselves: how can we celebrate this theme? Especially as the world begins to slowly transition out of the pandemic, we should reflect back on the last few years and think about how we can provide healing and hope to the women who worked tirelessly to get us through the pandemic. Here are a few ideas on how to start: 

Providing Healing 

One unintended, but very real, consequence of the pandemic was that many faced a decline in their mental health and well-being. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic, with women reporting these symptoms over twice as much than men. As COVID-19 restrictions ease and people begin to connect with each other as they did in the pre-covid world, it is important to remember that there are those who are still struggling with the aftermath of this devastating pandemic. Many people, particularly doctors, nurses, and others on the front lines of the pandemic, are still coping with the aftermath of the pandemic and it is important that we acknowledge them even as the world begins to heal and move forward. Here are some ways to support those who are struggling with mental health: 

● Allow them to talk about their feelings and experiences without judgment

● Ask, “how can I help?” 

● Connect them to resources and support 

● Remind them that they are not alone 

Another way to provide healing is to support those that provided healing to all of us during the pandemic - our healthcare heroes. Even as numbers dwindle and vaccinations rise, hospitals around the world are still overwhelmed - with many not having enough resources to treat patients to the best of their ability. Additionally, 77% of healthcare and long-term care workers are women, and they continue to put their health and safety at risk every single today to take care of others. Below are some ways we can support them: 

● Get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 

● Wear a mask and get a COVID-19 test when feeling sick, even if not required.

● Follow all local, state, and federal protocols 

● Arrange a meal, coffee, or snack delivery 

● Volunteer at a local hospital 

● Donate PPE 

While shutdowns were necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many small businesses suffered tremendously as a result. Since the beginning of the pandemic, approximately one-third of small businesses in the United States have closed. With businesses opening back up in full-force, here are some women-owned small businesses near the Los Angeles area that we can support this Women’s History Month: 

Bell Jar: clothing & jewelry 

Pauline Wolstencroft: hand-painted ceramics 

Nico & Bullitt: 60s and 70s inspired home decor, jewelry, and clothing

Playa: hair care products 

Wanderlust Creamery: ice cream shop 

Promoting Hope 

Another group of people, comprised predominantly of women, that got us through the pandemic were teachers. Forced to shift to an online learning model and completely reinvent the way students learn, teachers were essential for keeping our brains active and stimulated throughout the pandemic. Additionally, once schools began to reopen, teachers put their health at risk in order to continue educating the next generation. Below are a few ways to give back to them:

● Buy items off a teacher’s wishlist on Amazon 

Buy a computer for a student in an underserved community 

Adopt a classroom 

● Donate classroom supplies such as notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, rulers, and folders to your local public school 

● Donate cleaning and disinfecting supplies that most schools run short of, such as tissues, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and paper towels! 

Throughout the pandemic, Black, Hispanic, and AAPI people were infected with and died from COVID-19 at disproportionate rates compared to other groups. While we celebrate women during Women’s History Month, it is important that we keep intersectionality at the forefront and recognize how misogyny and racism overlap and intersect. It is our responsibility as women to help those among us who are marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented. Here are some causes that address just that: 

● Spend your money wisely: buy from POC and LGBTQ+ businesses and boycott corporations that do not share your values 

● Donate to a non-profit 

● Write to your senators and representatives about issues important to you

● Educate, educate, educate! Read books written by POC and LGBTQ+ about their experiences 

● Participate in protests and sign petitions regarding social justice issues 

While there are many ways to provide healing and promote hope during this year’s women’s history month, I hope this list inspires you to make a difference and give back to the women who have tirelessly served us throughout the pandemic. As the world slowly transitions to normal, we should never forget those who sacrificed so much to keep us healthy, safe, and happy during the pandemic. As the National Women’s History Alliance says, “our history is our strength.”