Ladies, It’s Time to Take Action—Here’s How to Get Involved and Make a Difference

Photo: Ashleigh Reddy

Welcome to Well+Good’s (Re)New Year—a five-week expert-led program that’s all about helping you have your best year yet. For Week Three, we’ve brought on Meena Harris—lawyer, tech policy adviser, feminist, and founder of I'm an Entrepreneur, Bitch. (Leadership runs in the family—her aunt is Kamala Harris, the just-elected US Senator from California.) Throughout the week, she'll be sharing her tips for feeling empowered, taking action, and getting ahead—at work and in life.

All week, you've focused on gaining confidence, investing in your passions, and refueling through self care—and now it's time to put your learnings into action.

Women are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and it’s on us to be the change we want to see in the world.

Women are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and it's on us to be the change we want to see in the world.

After the election, I felt distraught, but I knew I needed to do something. I decided to start a pantsuit clothing drive, which was a simple way for women to help other women in need, but it turned into a national effort that I was able to easily coordinate from my laptop and local post office.

It was obviously a modest act of giving back, but was also a way for people to stay engaged—and it has had real impact on the lives of women. Not only that, it’s proof that a simple idea can turn into something much bigger. So please don’t underestimate yourself!

Looking for ways take action? Here are three concrete things you can do, according to Meena Harris.

Photo: Adam Mason

1. Turn your idea into action

If you want to help but don't know where to turn, start local. Reach out to groups in your community and ask about how to get involved with local issues. (I'll tell you a secret: no one will ever turn you away for wanting to help.)

Or if your crew keeps talking about a particular issue, start your own group. Never assume that something’s too small to make a difference—we all have to do our part, both small and big, to make our voices heard.

Photo: Vivian Chen

2. Relentlessly call your local representatives

The presidential election may seem like the most important race, but there is real opportunity for change in the midterm elections. Relentlessly call your congressional representative, send letters to your state legislators, and organize or join local groups pushing for change.

Especially after the news that Republicans in Congress have made attacking Planned Parenthood a priority, it's more important than ever to remind your representatives that they need to fight for all women, or they'll lose your vote.

Photo: Meena with her aunt, Senator Kamala Harris, via Instagram/@meenaharris

3. Run for office—or support a woman who should

There were some positive outcomes from the 2016 election—namely six women who made history that night: Kamala Harris (my aunt!), Catherine Cortez Masto, and Tammy Duckworth in the Senate, Stephanie Murphy and Pramila Jayapal in the House of Representatives, and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota's State Legislature.

As exciting as this is, we need more women to run for office because we are still underrepresented in government. Women make up more than half of the population, but account for only about 20 percent of Congress. This disparity isn't because women can’t win—in fact, women are just as likely as men to win; the problem is getting women to run in the first place. 

So yes, you should definitely consider running for office. Or at least support women who are launching campaigns (or encourage women who are on the fence)! Us women can be good at convincing ourselves that we aren't ready to do something, but you don’t need a lifelong career devoted to politics to be qualified to make a difference. If you're thinking about taking the leap, here are some great organizations that support women wanting to run for office: Emily’s ListShe Should Run, and the Center for American Women and Politics

Feeling inspired by Meena Harris' words? Catch up on all of her goal-crushing tips and professional wisdom from the past week!

The (Re)New Year series is not a “New Year, New You” program. (We think you’re pretty great as is!) Instead, we tapped the biggest and best influencers across the wellness space to help kick off the New Year in the best possible way. Between heart-racing workouts, DIY beauty recipes, and killer confidence advice, get ready to have your happiest and healthiest year yet.

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