TOOLKIT



The Women, Power and Politics global online exhibition (WPP) showcases women from all walks of life claiming and exercising their power. How can you exercise power in your life and work to better your community and the planet? Here are ten actions you can take!

This companion toolkit brings exhibition stories together with Web resources and how-to guides developed by leading women's organizations such as The White House Project, iKNOW Politics, Global Fund for Women, Women's Learning Partnership, and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, to name just a few.

Get inspired and make a difference! Be sure to check out our list of over 100 take actions featured during the Women, Power and Politics exhibition. 

1. MAKE POLITICAL ART

Art is not only a universal language, it can be a powerful tool for raising awareness, shaping attitudes, and inspiring change.

WPP features a number of artists who wear their politics on their sleeve: The brazen, witty cartoons of Catherine Beaunez skewer male-dominated French politics. The vivid poster portraits of I.M.O.W. community member María María Acha Rodríguez celebrate transformative women leaders from the Global South through images and words.

To create a political poster, look for inspiration from Favianna Rodriguez Giannoni, a renowned printmaker and digital artist. Make your own poster or use hers for free. (Web site in English)

Design a political cartoon using the Comic Creator by Read Write Think. Choose your protagonist, select your scenery, write a caption and view the results! (Web site in English)

Learn how to make a documentary using Videomaker. Follow this step-by-step guide to video production and use pure:dyne to edit and process your audio and video for free. (Web site in English)

2. RUN FOR OFFICE

Worldwide, when it comes to equal representation in government, women lag far behind men. Only a handful of countries--Rwanda, Norway, Chile and New Zealand--can rightfully claim to have made significant advances towards gender equity.

WPP highlights many women who have led the way: Victoria Woodhull was the first woman and Shirley Chisholm the first African-American woman to run for president of the United States. In 1981, Gro Harlem Brundtland became the first--and, to date, only--female prime minister of Norway. In the aftermath of a conflict that ravaged her country, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Liberia’s first female president in 2006.

Design a winning campaign strategy. National Democratic Institute (NDI) has created a comprehensive how-to-guide for building and executing a successful campaign. (Web site in English)

Launch your fundraising campaign with the help of the International Republican Institute (IRI). Their PowerPoint presentation explains how to craft a successful fundraising message, solicit funds and recruit competent volunteers. (Web site in English)

Get sound advice from an experienced woman leader. Honorable Dr. Miria Matembe, former member of the Pan-African Parliament in Uganda, offers indispensable advice and shares her experiences as a parliamentarian. (Web site in English)

Learn what it takes to win.  The Barbara Lee Family Foundation offers four extensively researched guides to aid those seeking higher office: “Positioning Women to Win,” “Speaking with Authority,” “Keys to the Governor’s Office,” and “Cracking the Code.”

3. SPEAK YOUR MIND

Your voice is the most powerful tool you have, but how effective you are depends on good communication skills. Learn how to express yourself and press for change with eloquence and precision.

WPP features women who are not afraid to speak out and stand behind their beliefs. Carla del Ponte, dogged war crimes prosecutor from Switzerland, is one such person. Ingrid Betancourt, the Columbian presidential candidate who was kidnapped in 2002 and rescued six years later, is another. Malalai Joya, the “bravest woman in Afghanistan,” learned the cost of having strong opinions when she was suspended from the Afghan parliament for her outspokenness. 

Learn how to engage your audience. National Democratic Institute (NDI) created this seven-step manual that suggests you “keep it simple,” “know your subject” and “involve your audience.” (Web site in English)

Write an op-ed that can't be ignored. Most published op-ed pieces are penned by men. The Op-Ed Project created this short guide to enable women to better express their opinions in a public forum. (Web site in English)

Produce a radio show to report on local issues. Learn how to cover elections, write for radio, and conduct compelling interviews with this handbook developed by the Uganda Radio Network Advanced Radio Journalism Course. (Web site in English)

Train to be a freelance journalist with the News University. Sign up for free online courses in print and broadcast reporting, the ethics of journalism, and editing. (Web site in English)

4. LEARN TO LEAD

What does it take to be a good leader? Is being an effective leader an innate skill or one that can be learned? Find out about different leadership styles and which one may work best for your situation.

WPP showcases many women leaders, each with her own way of taking charge. Britain's Margaret Thatcher ruled with a firm hand, earning the moniker iron lady. Others, like nonagenarian Granny D. Haddock of New Hampshire and the women leaders of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, embrace a more populist approach.

Stand out in the crowd. The White House Project, known internationally for its bipartisan politics and training program, offers 18 ways to attract attention and rise to the top. (Web site in English)

Practice inclusive, participatory leadership. The Women's Learning Partnership has created a must-read leadership training handbook for women, which is available in 16 languages. (Web site in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and others)

Learn to listen. Being a respectful and attentive listener is a mandatory skill for every good leader. Take this quiz created by Plymouth State University and see how well you fare. (Web site in English)

5. EMPOWER YOUNG WOMEN

The best way to empower a nation is to empower its girls, says Sejal Hathi, teen founder of Girls Helping Girls, an international non-profit organization. Young people are eager to contribute to the world, she explains, but they need to be inspired, mentored and supported. Share these resources with the young people in your life.

WPP includes many inspiring stories of young women taking charge, including Anya Kandel, founder of Momentus International, a non-profit organization that builds dialogue among youth around the world through art. (Web site in English) Our film review of What’s Your Point, Honey? explores the hopes and ambitions of girls who dream of running for office.

Be a confident leader. This YWCA manual helps girls build self-esteem and inspire others. It also educates about human rights, poverty, violence and environmental degradation. (Web site in English and Spanish)

Encourage connection and collaboration. Girls Helping Girls helps teens around the world connect with one another and develop social change projects in their communities. (Web site in English)

Give back to your community. Developed by the Civic Practices Network (CPN), this 93-page guidebook for youth comes equipped with a lesson plan, practice exercises and opportunities to take action. (Web site in English)

Fund Your Activism.  The Third Wave Foundation in the United States and the Young Feminist Fund of AWID provide dedicated resources for young women's activism. (Web sites in English)

6. ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY

Change begins at home. It takes skills to educate, inspire and mobilize people--at any level--to take action. Learn from those who have struggled and won.

WPP values the voices and stories of women who have protested, gone on strike, and used creative means to bring change to their communities. Women from Oaxaca, Mexico, took over the state television channel when it refused to cover a local teachers' strike. For over three decades, Argentina's Mothers of the Plaza del Mayo protested the state-sponsored "disappearances" of political dissenters. Women from Nigeria used their naked bodies as a threat to force reforms.

Be strategic. The Canada-based Citizen Handbook offers a quick Web guide on effective organizing methods. Learn how to throw block parties and organize cleanups, study circles, citizen juries and community gardens. (Web site in English)

Host a house party to raise awareness and funds for women's human rights worldwide. Global Fund for Women offers do-it-yourself guide on how to support women’s rights while having a grand time with your friends and family. (Web site in English)

Help pass CEDAW (the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women) in your city or country. Wild for Human Rights offers these detailed suggestions on how to make your campaign a success. Read “CEDAW Made Easy” at iknowpolitics.com. (Web site in English)

7. BECOME AN ADVOCATE

Put your talent, your energy and your skills to work! Lend your voice to someone who doesn’t have one. Find an issue that matters to you, then join an advocacy group or start your own. You’ll benefit as well.

WPP highlights the work of many women advocates. Navdanya, the seed-saving organization founded by renowned physicist Vandana Shiva, advocates for the rights of farmers in India. In Algeria, 20 women musicians use song as an advocacy tool to demand gender equity under law. In England, the women of Greenham Common waged a 20-year protest against nuclear proliferation in the British countryside.

Learn the ropes. This guide, developed by the Association of Women in Development (AWID), offers valuable tips and strategies that you can incorporate into your current and future projects. (Web site in English)

Blog for a cause. Armed with this Global Voices guide, use your blog to inform, inspire and fight against injustice around the world. (Web site in English, Spanish, French and Arabic)

Promote peace. With the help of this toolkit designed by The Hunt Alternative Fund, learn about conflict prevention, resolution and reconstruction and much more. (Web site in English, Spanish, French and Arabic)

8. EXERCISE DEMOCRACY

Democracy means “rule by the people.” By definition, then, it requires citizens to be involved in the decision-making process. Protests, vigils and election monitoring are just a few of the ways people ensure that their voices are included in the process.

WPP profiles women who are not afraid to exercise their democratic rights. Three fearless Egyptian women created an Internet-based watchdog organization called Shayfeen.com. Irom Sharmila is a young woman who has been fasting for seven years in protest of military violence in Manipur, India. The work of Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement proves that even a small idea can take hold and grow.

Organize a vigil with a little help from Women in Black, an international peace network.  Follow their guidelines to create non-violent demonstrations with an impact. (Web site in English and French)

Monitor voting. This National Democratic Institute (NDI) guide shows how to monitor voter registration and develop a strategy for testing the accuracy of voter lists. (Web site in English)

Protest, petition, march and canvas like a pro. Check out the Change the Rules Toolkit designed by Youth Noise before you organize your next peaceful protest.  (Web site in English)

9. START A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION

Founding and growing a non-profit organization is challenging, no matter how passionate you are. Most non-profits, however admirable, struggle with inadequate resources. Here are some helpful tips on how to survive.

WPP showcases many women who run their own successful non-profits. Genocide survivor Norah Bagirinka started Rwandan Women in Action to bring people together to help one another. In Nigeria, BOABAB is organizing leadership workshops and public awareness events for Nigerian women.

Avoid common pitfalls. The Foundation Center offers a wealth of resources for starting your own non-profit, including common mistakes to avoid. Be sure to check out the non-profit guide as well as the checklist. (Web site in English)

Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise. This indispensable guide by Global Fund for Women will help you master strategies for soliciting money from individuals, organizing fundraising events, writing grants, working with businesses and collecting membership dues. (Web site in English)

Keep steady to survive the hard times. This publication by the Environmental Support Center and The Institute for Conservation Leadership offers valuable suggestions for non-profit managers faced with a tight economic and shifting political situation. (Web site in English)

10. PROTECT THE EARTH

Environmental problems such as global warming, pollution, natural disasters and deforestation have unique effects on women’s lives. But women aren’t just victims; they’re taking a leadership role in protecting the planet and all its inhabitants.

WPP features four environmental warriors from Ukraine, Papua New Guinea, Kazakhstan and Colombia. We also profile Brazilian women who used their hair to prevent mercury contamination in the Amazon. Listen to an audio podcast of Sibongile Masuku, South African environmental activist, speaking about her country's environmental challenges.

Protect your own health. The Healthy Living Toolkit developed by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment presents simple actions for avoiding environmental contaminants in food and household products. (Web site in English)

Go green. The Environmental Working Group outlines ten guidelines to reduce everyday pollution. Did you know that leaving your shoes at the door will cut down significantly on dust-bound pollutants in your home? (Web site in English)

Teach your kids that nobody is too young to protect the earth. Start by giving them a copy of Pachamama: Our Earth, Our Future, an illustrated book that explains environmental challenges and solutions to middle-school children. Created by The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the book is a collaboration of young designers, editors and contributors from around the world. (Web site in English)