Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day gift suggestions, with a feminist twist

Tomorrow is Mother's Day in the United States, and even though we've gotten away from the original intent of Mother's Day a bit, a large number of people* still celebrate the day in some way. Past the traditional flowers, meals, candy, jewelry, etc., gifts, here are a couple ideas for what you can do for mothers in your life (your own, a partner's, relatives who are mothers, friends who are mothers, caregivers, etc.) that maybe go past the traditional "Hallmark" holiday aspect (and some of these benefit all women, not just mothers!):
  • Sign NOW's "Mothers Matter and Caregivers Count Petition" and send a NOW e-card.
  • Send a letter to your representatives asking them to ratify CEDAW, the the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that hasn't ratified it. NOW has a convenient form you can fill out and send.
  • Urge your representatives to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The National Women's Law Center has another convenient form to fill out and send.
  • Is there something the woman in question is passionate about? Donate to a charity that reflects her interest. V-Day, for example, has e-cards Mother's Day cards you can send when you make a donation.
  • Do something for the mother, instead of giving a gift. Offer to babysit, take her car for an oil change, mow the lawn, walk the dog, whatever you think would help make life the teeniest bit easier for the mom. Or arrange for someone else to do those things (hire a babysitter, dog walker, house cleaning service, etc) -- and then the two of you can do something together.
  • If you want to get a more traditional gift, consider buying it from a woman-owned shop or company. Or there is Thistle Farms, a company whose sales directly help women recovering from prostitution, violence and abuse. It's too late to get their products on time for Mother's Day, but it's a possible place to buy future gifts. You might want to check out One World's gift guide as well.
  • Our Bodies Ourselves is taking $5 donations in honor of Mother's Day, under the premise that many greeting cards cost $4 or $5 -- so why not donate that to a good cause instead, and forgo a card (which is better for the environment!) or make your own?
  • AAUW has a campaign going on worth checking out: Pearls of Wisdom, which is designed to prevent cervical cancer and get women to schedule testing.
I'm sure there are many, many other ideas and campaigns going on out there, so leave your suggestions in the comments! I'm sure there are other procrastinators out there like me, who would love a last-minute suggestion.

*I recognize Mother's Day is not a good day for everyone, and that for some people it's just another day.  

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