Want to Be an Advocate for Equity? Here’s How!

If you’re like us, gender and racial equity really matter to you, and waiting on the sidelines isn’t enough. In Illinois, we now have a No Salary History law to help advance pay equity — learn all about it and your rights here! — and that’s a great first step, but we know there’s more to do. There are so many injustices in the world and in the workplace, and you want to take action and make a difference. You want to be on the right side of history.

That’s awesome! We can help you do that! Here are some ways you can raise your voice effectively for change. Because together, we are stronger.

1. Advocate For Yourself and Others at Work.

Know your Rights.

Advocate for Yourself.

Is your employer meeting their legal requirement, but you feel they could be doing more? Talk to your boss or your HR department about ways they can advance gender and racial equity at work — from implementing anti-harassment policies, to conducting annual pay audits to identifying wage gaps, to implementing forward-thinking supports like paid family and medical leave or subsidized child care, there is so much employers can do above and beyond the basics of the law.

And don’t forget to share our resource with practical actions employers can take to advance pay equity.

Advocate for Others.

2. Advocate With Your Elected Officials. Here’s How.

Don’t Just Email. Call Your Elected Officials.

And when a lot of people call? Well, that’s a lot of time your elected officials and their staffers have to spend listening. It’s enough to change hearts and minds. It’s enough to get things done.

Here Are Some Tips to Make Your Calls Effective:

  1. Know that your elected official will not be the person on the phone. You will most likely talk to one of their aides or staffers, and that’s ok. They will register your opinion and convey it to your elected official.
  2. Let them know you are a constituent. Elected officials will pay most attention to people living in their districts. Make sure to give your city and state, and even your street address if you live in a large city.
  3. Be clear about what issue you’re calling about. If you are calling in support or opposition to a bill, it helps to know, and provide, the bill number and name. If you’re calling about an issue, be able to specifically describe the topic. State your opinion clearly.
  4. Be brief. You will probably be more effective if you keep your call short.
  5. It’s ok to leave a message, either on a voicemail or with a receptionist. Just state the information you prepared, including that you’re a constituent.
  6. If calling gives you anxiety, here’s a “shy person’s step-by-step guide” for calling your elected officials.

Don’t Forget Your Local Officials!

Need to Find Your Officials?

p.s. Do you have a great congressperson who always does the right thing? Take time to call them too! Share your concerns. Tell them what they’re getting right. Thank them and ask them to keep fighting the good fight. Even the ones you agree with need to hear from you!

3. Advocate With Your Friends and In Your Community.

Make Noise on Social Media.

If you care about an issue, post about it on your social networks. Share posts from your favorite organizations. (*ahem* Women Employed is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.) Find and share articles from quality sources (watch out for and avoid untrustworthy content). Tell people why it matters to you.

Even better? Tweet at your elected officials, or post on their Facebook pages. (Live in Illinois? Here is a list of Illinois state legislators on Twitter.) Social media is a big megaphone and a way to make your communication with an elected official public. Use it.

Make Noise in Real Life, Too!

There are always opportunities to turn up and make your voice heard, through events like protests against the detainment of immigrant families, and rallies to raise the minimum wage. There will undoubtedly be plenty more chances to march, rally, and make noise about the issues that matter to you. Watch for them and join with other advocates when you can!

Get Your Friends Involved.

Have a book club, church group, or other crowd that you want to mobilize? We can help! Just email mdevine@womenemployed.org or call 312–782–3902 x224.

BONUS: Share these tips and visit womenemployed.org/act for more!

See more of our No Salary History and Pay Equity Toolkit »

Written by Judy Miyashita, Director of Marketing and Engagement

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.