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Program Bank: Supporting Women's Rights

Program Ideas for Individuals and Families

Donate your Old Cell Phone to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence  
The NCADP collects deactivated cell phones (which still allow for 911 calls) to distribute to victims of domestic violence so that they can call for emergency help. Visit their website for more information. 
 
Distribute Information about Help for Victims of Domestic Violence 
Place informational material about a local shelter for victims of spousal abuse in the women's rooms at your synagogue, place of employment, hair salon, and clothing stores—anywhere you can think of. If you need such material, contact any of the groups listed on this page or the RAC. 
 
Advocate for Women’s Reproductive Rights 

Join Amnesty International’s Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women  
By joining AI’s Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women, you will receive information about current women’s rights issues around the globe and about local efforts to combat discrimination and violence. You can also donate to the campaign to ensure its success. Visit www.amnesty.org/actforwomen for more information on how to join. 
 
Urge African Governments to Ratify the Women’s Rights Protocol  
African women made history in 2003 through the adoption of a protocol that specifically protects women’s human rights and breaks new ground in international law. But before the protocol has the force of law, fifteen African governments must ratify it. As of early March 2005, ten countries had ratified the Protocol (Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Senegal). African women’s rights organizations are leading an innovative and energetic campaign to get more countries to ratify the protocol. Show your solidarity with them by writing to African heads of state to urge them to ratify the protocol. Visit Human Rights Watch's website for more information. 

 
Program Ideas for Groups: Religious School Classes, Youth Groups, and Congregations
 
Organize a Mock Beauty Pageant 
(Adapted from loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/pageant.html)  
In the megillah , the king is advised to find a replacement for Queen Vashti by holding a beauty pageant in which all the young women of the kingdom would come and be dressed up and adorned. Esther “won his grace and favor more than all the virgins” (2:17), so she was crowned queen. Traditional beauty pageants value women solely by how well they fit into conventional beauty standards. In the spirit of Purim, subvert this institution by staging a mock beauty pageant. Rather than award women for the way they look, give out “Esther prizes” to women who make a difference in the world. 
 
Hold a Workshop at Your Synagogue on Violence Against Women  
(Adapted by Hillel from a program at the University of Miami) 
Beginning with a negative interaction between Queen Vashti and King Ahasuerus, the story of Purim provides an opportunity to look more closely at relationship abuse and ways to combat it emotionally and physically. Invite a speaker, have an interactive discussion, or hold a mini self-defense class at your synagogue. Provide information for the women to take home about relationship abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Faith Trust Institute offer a wide range of services and resources to provide communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to domestic and sexual abuse, may be helpful in planning your program.