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AC campaign

 

Change Starts With Me.

Me, myself and I.

That’s who.

I will take a stand.

I am a force, strong and capable.

I can make a difference. I know I will.

I am the Women’s Fund. Change starts with me.

 

When you invest in the Women’s Fund, you are investing in the opportunity to create lasting change. http://bit.ly/WFCOchange

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NEW Leadership Engages & Inspires Potential

This summer I attended the NEW Leadership Ohio conference, a week-long seminar hosted by Ohio State’s Glenn School of Public Affairs with support from the university’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. NEW Leadership targets college women of any major who have interest but not necessarily experience in politics. The program, designed to educate women about the political process and teach them to become effective leaders, is a product of Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). CAWP, recognized as the leading source of research and data about American women’s political participation, aims to increase understanding about women’s participation in politics and government as well as women’s influence and leadership in public life.

Throughout the week, speakers ranging from state congresswomen to political organizers emphasized that the reason women are grossly underrepresented in public office—women hold just under 20% of seats in the 115th (current) Congress and just over 20% of statewide executive positions—is simply that women do not run for public office. In a 2013 study published by American University’s School of Public Affairs entitled “Girls Just Wanna Not Run,” Jennifer L. Lawless of American University and Richard L. Fox of Loyola Marymount University explore the tendency of women, in comparison to their male counterparts, to avoid running for office.

While Lawless and Fox’s sample of 1,020 male and 1,097 female college students were equally likely to grow up in politically conscious homes, the data collected indicate that parents of male students and parents of female students differed in encouraging their children to pursue politics as a career. The connection between parental encouragement and individual motivation is significant: 50% of individuals whose mothers encouraged them to run for office said that they definitely planned to run for office, in comparison to only 3% of respondents whose mothers did not encourage them to run. The effects of paternal encouragement are similar.

The most troubling element of Lawless and Fox’s findings, however, is that young women are less likely than young men to judge themselves to be qualified for a future career in politics. Men in Lawless and Fox’s study were 60% more likely to view themselves as “very qualified” to run for office while women were more than twice as likely to view themselves as “not at all qualified,” despite comparable educational backgrounds and professional successes.

NEW Leadership takes an important step towards empowering women and changing their perceptions of their abilities. Hearing the perspectives of successful women and watching them in action on the Ohio Statehouse floor provided college-age women, like myself, with assured, confident role models. Prior to NEW Leadership, I had no conception of politicians other than the older white men who constitute an overwhelming majority of our nation’s government. But the many women we met involved with state and local politics, from those just beginning a race to well-respected state representatives, fulfilled roles in which I could see myself excelling. Women who lead, and lead well, exist. We should celebrate them, and we—young girls and young women—should aspire to be like them.

Written by Shannon Fillingim, New Leadership 2014 Graduate 

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140825 womens equailty

In 2014, as a 21 year old woman, I often take for granted the privileges the women who came before me made possible. Each year, or actually multiple times a year, I am able to drive to the polls and cast my opinion by voting. More importantly, I have the power to choose if I even want to vote. If I had been born 100 years earlier, I would be struggling for this privilege. My voice would be diminished or nonexistent because I would not have the choice to vote. But today, in America, it’s not a struggle- it’s an option.

August 26th marks Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the date in 1920 that women’s right to vote officially became a part of our constitution as the 19th Amendment. Women worked for over 72 years to make the right to vote a possibility for all women. Iconic women, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, worked together as change agents in the women’s suffrage movement to make this difference.

As I reflect on this day, I think about part of the mission of The Women’s Fund – to “amplify the voices of women and girls.” Since I wasn’t born 100 years ago, there are many other ways to amplify my voice. I can be an advocate or donate; however, the women in 1848 understood the importance to secure the fundamental right to vote as a citizen and a woman. It is a foundational aspect of our country, and without it, women’s voices would be devalued overall. In 1920, women’s voices were validated and were finally represented as equal. They helped amplify my voice now.

In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug of New York pushed Congress to pass a Joint Resolution of Congress to make today Women’s Equality Day. She wanted to remember the efforts of the women suffrage movement, but also to draw attention to the ongoing efforts towards complete equality each year. Bell Abzug recognized that women took a huge step toward equality with the 19th Amendment; nonetheless, she realized there is more work to do. 43 years later, Women’s Equality Day brings attention to the current efforts to bring equality.  An important effort in the past few months and year is the awareness of smaller gender equalities that still exist in our daily lives. This includes how we speak about or to women, how others portray them, and more. It is important to bring awareness to people for change to start occurring.

Recently The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Womenomics Report brought awareness to an issue I had never truly thought about. It informed me that women who work a full-time job earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.  This research causes me to think about how in a year, I will graduate, find a job, and need to pay bills as well as my college loans. I wonder how I will be able to succeed financially compared to a male in a similar position. With this difference, I might not be able to prosper as quickly without the financial security that my male counterpart is given. It also leads me to wonder if my potential negotiation capacity will be stunted as a result of being a woman. Because I am now actively thinking about these inequalities, I am able to ponder what actual change can be made.  What can we do to create this change? How can we all continue to use our voices to keep the momentum going?

So, today is the day to bring women together to work towards this goal. Now that many men and women are aware of the inequalities that women still face on a daily basis, I believe there is a call to action to come together and solve these issues. I celebrate Women’s Equality Day by looking back to the strides that have been made, looking around me now at the inequalities we still face, and looking toward a future where women celebrate true equality. I am not only gracious for the equality previous women have given me, but also I feel challenged to give complete equality to the generations after me. I feel empowered by my voice, and I want all women to feel that way whether that is through equal pay or the right to voice their opinion. The women before us have given us a voice, and we should give the women after us the chance to reflect on our efforts and push women’s equality even further.

Susan B. Anthony once said, “Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”

This must still be our war cry for all women need to educate others on the inequalities that still exist, agitate passion in both men and women, and organize true change. All women must work together to make real change happen.

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Written by Meredith Priess, Women’s Fund Intern

Womenomics & Paternity Leave

 “While an ever-rising share of men say they want to have this kind of time with a new child, Chandran is among a lucky few who actually do. In the U.S., paternity leave is a luxury. It’s the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee paid time off, even for new mothers.”

#WomenomicsReport

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter. Read more here: http://goo.gl/sK3fXH

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Raising Voices, Raising Awareness

Femme Fest

 

August 29th through the 31st be a part of a local music event to highlight women’s voices and talents. FeMMeFest’s tagline is a “loose collection of musically themed events” and it will be taking place around the bars and music venues of central Columbus including Kafe Kerouac, Seventh Son Brewing Co., and Ace of Cups.

FeMMeFest is making a name for itself by bringing local and nationally-acclaimed musical acts such as: Saintseneca, Sarah Cooperider, Dead Set Ready, The Girls!, and The Ferals. This event not only seeks to fight the negative and violent views associated with women in today’s society, but also wishes to replace these views with a more positive and productive image. Organizers of this brand new event, Raeghan Savage, Ryan Vile, Sarah Moglia, and Laddan S, want to provide Columbus with a weekend-long event aimed at empowering and uplifting women in our community.  FeMMeFest originated July of this year in response to the booking of the controversial singer R. Kelly by the Fashion Meets Music Festival. Outraged by R. Kelly’s booking and the singer’s troubled background, local Columbus organizers started a festival honoring women’s integral part within a city’s community.

One of the band members of The Girls!, Raeghan Buchanan, spoke with Columbus Monthly about her enthusiasm for the upcoming festival: “We wanted to use it to talk about issues that we care about and want everyone to know about.” The efforts of the community to support this event speak volumes of Columbus citizens and their support of positive change. This event will also be raising funds and awareness for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, “a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.”

What better way to advocate for a safer, better portrayal of women in today’s culture than with a music festival? FeMMeFest is a great example of how a community can ban together in the face of adversity to empower and strengthen women.  Our events will raise funds for Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.To learn more about this event and all of the musical guests and venues, make sure to like FeMMeFest on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FemmeFestColumbus or, visit their website, femmefest.org.  We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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What is the impact of gender on society?

Register today and join us on September 10th at Columbus Metropolitan Club for an engaging conversation with Riki Wilchins, one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Civic Innovators for the 21′st Century” hosted in partnership with The Columbus Foundation.

http://bit.ly/XuMbNB
Use code word: WFCO for guest rate

 

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Feminism & Advertising: Ploy or Productive?

You always remember your first sexist commercial. I was 13 when I first faced an advertisement for Axe Body Spray. In the short commercial, a young average-looking man applied Axe and was suddenly flanked by dozens of rapturous and beautiful women, dressed like young schoolgirls in tiny plaid skirts and tight fitting button down shirts. In less than half a minute, I got the message: Sexism sells and empowering women is not good advertising.

Unfortunately, this trend is not specific to products targeted at men. Even those targeted to women often rely on sexist tropes and negative body imagery to sell their products. When was the last time you saw a commercial for house cleaning products that didn’t feature a mother cleaning up after children? It is a realistic scenario, to be sure. But as far as I know, men need paper towels too. We all could probably do with a few more paper towels.

The beauty industry may be the guiltiest of all as cosmetics commercials often prey directly on women’s insecurities to market their products. Commercials won’t say “Use this cream because it will keep your skin hydrated and healthy.” Instead, they say, “This will reduce unsightly wrinkles and make you look younger.” Rather than encouraging its consumers to feel beautiful in their own skin, these advertisements usually capitalize on the fear of not being beautiful enough.

However, a recent shift in advertising has defied the usual, hackneyed advertising ploys. Companies like Pantene, Verizon, CoverGirl, and Always are starting to use feminist ideas to market their products. These commercials are built on the foundation of self-empowerment and motivate women to stand up for themselves, defy old-fashioned gender roles, and reclaim femininity as something powerful.

Pantene’s most recent contribution explores the idea that women say “sorry” more than men do. The commercial shows a multicultural group of women apologizing in different situations. In a business meeting, one woman says, “Sorry I have a question.” In another, a man sirs next to a woman and bumps her arm and she apologizes. The advertisement urges women to stop apologizing for not knowing something or for needing help or for simply just existing.

But controversy has sprung with the final image of this commercial. It ends with a close up of the Pantene logo because, after all, it is a commercial for haircare products. The fact that the advertisements with feminist messages are marketing ploys raises many questions on the quality and intention of the commercials’ messages. Verizon may be encouraging women to pursue STEM careers, but this message flashes on our TV screens to convince us to use Verizon. CoverGirl’s #GirlsCan campaign also comes from a makeup company that is part of an industry that tells women that they need mascara and lipstick to be beautiful.

The big question remains: Can a haircare company tell women to stop apologizing while also telling them to buy their products?

I think so.

These messages of empowerment are incredibly important, but so rarely are they explored on a large scale. Women who wouldn’t search out articles about feminism Jezebel or the Huffington Post now have the chance to see female empowerment as something important. In many ways, it is another step to stop promoting sexism and make feminism the new normal.

I want more empowering commercials.  Show women of all races, ages, and sizes succeeding in business, in the arts, and in engineering. Encourage us to reveal double standards in society and make us rethink the gender roles that limit our passions and us.

Yes, it is true that these are marketing campaigns with the ultimate goal of getting us to buy things. But they could just stick to old advertisement strategies. These campaigns engage consumers and encourage every woman who watches to be the happiest and best she can be. You don’t need to switch to Verizon to see that one of the country’s largest telecommunications companies is concerned about the low numbers of women in STEM fields.

We are inundated by advertisements, and that is unlikely to change. If we can’t change how many ads we see, let’s change the messages they are sending us. We need an advertising culture that promotes female empowerment, rather than relying on making us insecure or reducing us to objects in tiny plaid skirts. We need more commercials and more companies that aren’t afraid to stand up to old tropes.

I’ll take a commercial that empowers women over another Axe commercial any day.

Written by Victoria Ungvarsky, Women’s Fund guest blogger

 

Watch some of the ads and let us know what you think:

Verizon, Inspire Her Mind

CoverGirl. #GirlsCan

Pantene, #ShineStrong

 

likeagirl

 

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A College Feminist

Friday-Feminist-Quotes-

As a senior in college and a self-proclaimed feminist, feminism and gender equality have been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have gone as far as to plan and write (starting this fall) a thesis on feminism in 21st century popular culture. The idea behind my thesis came from a personal desire to achieve a more educated understanding on the importance for feminism in all facets of literature and the media. My thesis specifically focuses on female protagonists in young adult literature and movies, such as Bella Swan or Katniss Everdeen.

As I get closer to beginning my thesis I find myself asking, what does feminism mean to me? Recently the “f” word, feminism, has been receiving a lot of press and analysis. Celebrities and advocates alike are standing up or standing against the phrase. Personally, I have spent hours with friends discussing how integral gender equality is to our society. I have been in countless classrooms, and several arguments on the importance of feminism in the 21st century. Clearly, there are infinite facts on how women still face inequality today, reasons that inform and inspire the work of Women’s Funds globally, But, for the sake of this blog post and the reader’s time, I won’t list facts, but rather tell a story.

I have a very specific memory that comes to mind when considering the question of what feminism means to me. I was in an introductory biology lab a few years ago when my lab partner and I began to discuss my passion for all things feminist. Our opinions differed, but I kept an open mind and asked him to share his views on feminism, especially in today’s culture and society. He then told me that if women really wanted equality, we as a whole, should eliminate classes and organizations and other establishments built upon feminist teachings. He then proceeded to claim that these systems only perpetuated inequality and made us seem as if women were victims. I remember listening to him and feeling complete shock. How could he possibly say something so wrong? How could this college student who has a mother, perhaps a sister, or niece, a female cousin, or even a girlfriend say something that would directly affect each one of their lives?  But as he continued, I no longer felt surprised, I instead I became worried. My lab partner wasn’t saying these things in a malicious manner, but really because he had a misinformed view. He truly thought that if we didn’t raise awareness for gender equality it would work itself out.

Of course, if my unaware classmate was right, feminists across the world would rejoice. They would no longer have to inform their friends, family members, teachers, lab partners, or strangers on the inequalities women face on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, this is not the case and women across the globe have to speak up for feminism and inform people of its absolute necessity. So when I think of why feminism is so important to me it’s for every reason imaginable. But most importantly, feminism is important to me because it equates to a better understanding; a comprehensive outlook on how and why gender equality is essential.

The conversation with my lab partner concluded with each of us enlightening each other. He showed me how the stereotypes associated with feminism clouded the movement’s core values.  He merely saw feminists as victims, people who complained of their current outlook. I tried to change his views and open up a world to him that consisted of empowerment, positivity, and equality. Unfortunately, our 10 minute conversation didn’t change my peer’s mind, but I know I brought an awareness and curiosity that was not there before our conversation. We walked away more knowledgeable and with a better understanding of differing viewpoints. Feminism, to me, is not about being right or proving others wrong. It is a collaborative and inspiring effort that advocates for equality in every social, political, and economic aspect.

I hope that my lab partner, wherever he is today, views the feminist movement differently and hopefully with a more positive outlook. I think these conversations on an individual level can truly provide people a greater understanding of feminism and the positivity that surrounds this movement. I still disagree with my lab partner, women’s gender and sexuality studies classes, strong female leaders, social awareness, and political support for gender equality all help our society achieve a more balanced and accurate view on the world’s women. Feminism has never been about complaining or victimizing, it’s always been about instilling a celebration of strength, innovation, and authority within women and girls across the globe.

 

Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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Change Agent: Becky Hammon

“As a 5-foot-6 point guard, decorated WNBA veteran Becky Hammon has never had the experience of shattering a backboard with a dunk.
She’s busting through the glass ceiling instead.”

http://www.nba.com/2014/news/08/05/spurs-becky-hammon.ap/

becky

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Change Agent: Gloria Steinem

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At The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, we recognize those change agents that came before us, and paved a way for growth. By doing so we hope to celebrate those who have inspired us, and encourage every woman to step into her role as a change agent. Today, we celebrate Gloria Steinem, who is, in many ways, the original change agent for women and girls’ gender equality.

Gloria Steinem holds many titles. She is a writer, an editor, an activist, and a trailblazer. All these titles together are what make Gloria such a powerful and impacting individual. Labeling her with only one of her many titles would limit the affect she has had and continues to have on our society. There is something even beyond her actions and accomplishments, a spirit that whispers from the past, dominates the present, and guides us toward a future of equality for all.

“We need to remember across generations,” Steinem said, “that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.”

An Ohio native, Gloria was born in Toledo in 1934, Steinem grew up there before leaving for Smith College in Massachusetts. Steinem’s roots inspire me, as I am a product of Northern Ohio. My grandparents live 30 minutes outside of Toledo, and every time I visit them I am overwhelmed with the sense of self-ownership of the region.  In the face of larger social forces or oppressions, lives are made and broken by hard-work and perseverance – the same kind of hard work and perseverance that Steinem exudes.

Identifying as a feminist and an active fighter for equality takes courage and the willingness to fight for a lifetime.

In an interview for the New York Daily News, Steinem explained that “women and girls no longer feel crazy, alone or flying in the face of nature if they have the outrageous idea that they should be treated as full human beings.” Simply knowing the accomplishments and struggle of Steinem is enough to feel part of a larger network of leaders, let alone the countless individuals I have met so far that understand the overwhelming feeling of denying what nature or society has deemed correct.  “Knowing that the system is crazy, not you is a huge leap forward.”

When Steinem spoke at Keyholder in 2007, The Women’s Fund focused on Tributes, our way of referring to the women who inspire us across generations. At the Women’s Fund we believe in paying tribute to the people in our lives who have invested in our potential. We do this by sending a letter in honor or memory of an individual when you make a donation on their behalf.  Steinem herself has roots in past generations of the women’s movement: her grandmother was the president of the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association. Whether you have a grandmother, mother, mentor, or teacher that has inspired you toward who you are today, there is no doubt that they have been influenced by Gloria Steinem.

“A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after,” Steinem famously said, a notion that was completely foreign to America less than 50 years ago. Today: a liberated woman can choose to not be married, or married with no kids, or not married with many kids. Same-sex marriage is a reality. The America we live in is much brighter than it was, but travesties against women, minorities, lower-wage works, etc. still must be fought for.

Steinem fueled the American second-wave of feminism, barreling the necessity for human rights and feminism through time by working on the ground at rallies and at her writer/editor position at New York magazine. Later, she began creating organizations that continue to support these goals.

In a TIME online article from 2010, “The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century,” writer Meredith Melnick correctly states “It would be hard to find an American women’s rights organization that does not owe its creation in part to Steinem.” From her own Ms. Foundation for Women, to her co-founder position at the Women’s Media Center, Voters for Choice, Choice USA.

She’s never stopped. Gloria is the epitome of onward movement. Instead of slowing down she continues to gather collective passion and move the needle forward for social change.

All of these organizations are thriving, and increasing their efforts each day. In 2008, an election notorious for its use of sexist claims against Hillary Clinton, Steinem publically pulled hard for Clinton, continuing the support that she has given to women in power for decades.

In an article for Ms. Magazine’s Winter/Spring 2014 issue, “Why the Revolution Has Just Begun,” Steinem states “At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I’m “passing the torch.” I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much—and I’m using it to light the torches of others.” She continues, “Only if each of us has a torch will there be enough light.”

As a writer, Gloria inspires me to find passion in my subjects, look for the untold stories, and never take my voice for granted. As a feminist, I can only thank her for her work, for creating a better world in which I and my fellow feminists can light our torches with her strength and walk together, never disregarding the past but always looking forward, aiming for what she, and I, know is possible: equality for all.

The work of the women’s movement is still happening, and we look to Steinem as an example of a strong voice for human rights. To me, she is exactly what a change agent looks like.

 

Written by Hannah Ticoras, Women’s Fund Intern

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What are you saying when you say “sorry”?

When a woman says she is “sorry” for something that does not warrant an apology, does she seem polite or does it make her seem defensive and unsure?

Tell us what you think about saying “sorry.”

“The modern-day apology — at least when it comes to women at work — is rarely an apology at all. We’re not sorry to be asking a question, we’re simply trying to be polite. We’re trying to make a statement, a direct one, without being deemed “bossy” or “too aggressive.”

http://time.com/2895799/im-sorry-pantene-shinestrong/

 

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World Refugee Day

This blog was written in preparation for World Refugee Day.  

After it was written, the residents of Capital Park found themselves again in the midst of violence. This past weekend a 13 year old girl was the victim of a shooting and young mother was robbed by armed men while outside picking up her children’s toys. Our hearts go out to the community of Capital Park who came to our country and our city in hopes of a better, more peaceful life. Throughout these trials, they continue to persevere and to create positive social change within their community.
In honor of World Refugee Day June 20th

We express our deepest gratitude

to the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio

for their support of the

Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project.?

 

We are “HOROMARKA HAWEENKA SOOMALIYEED,”

SOMALI WOMEN MOVING FORWARD.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

Our homes, our families, our very lives

have been torn apart by war and violence.

 

Many of us have watched our husbands and sons die

murdered in front of our very eyes.

 

Many of us have been raped,

or have witnessed our daughters being raped.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

Many of us fled on foot with our children.

No food, no water, just the clothes on our backs.

We walked for countless days to find a safe place.

 

We raised our children in refugee camps.

We faced the daily challenge of feeding our families.

Some of us waited 15 years to “win the lottery”

and start a new life in America.

 

Now we are here.

Though we escaped the trauma of war

we now face new challenges.

 

We live in a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio

where many of us face crime and violence.

We need to learn a new language;

(We never went to school before.)

We need to learn how to help our kids

bridge two very different cultures.

We face so many challenges.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

And now,

thanks to our partnership with the Women’s Fund,

there is hope.

 

We are transforming ourselves and our community at Capital Park

from a culture of fear

into a culture of empowerment.

 

Every morning we gather for an hour of exercise.

Every day we study English, Math, Computer

and American History and Government.

We are becoming U.S. Citizens.

We are learning how to sew

and how to create a cooperative business.

We are organizing a community garden and homework help for our children.

 

And we are organizing our neighborhood,

all of us learning safety awareness

and leadership skills.

 

We are refugees of war

and we are truly moving forward.

 

We are HOROMARKA HAWEENKA SOOMALIYEED,

SOMALI WOMEN MOVING FORWARD!

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Written by Beth Stock and Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project

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US Together: Empowering Economic Self Sufficiency in Single Refugee Mothers

Our single women group here at US Together is a wonderful, beautiful group. We have started our use of grant funding to meet with Nepali-speaking refugee women from Bhutan. These great ladies are dealing with quite a few issues, especially financial ones.

We began our first meetings by introducing ourselves to each other. Many of these women had already met. Even those who did not know each other have already become friends. We talked about what issues they are dealing with in general. Many have serious health issues, and as do their children. I was somewhat surprised to find that every single woman that had a job disliked her job. Several had just been laid off, and two are unemployed. Approaching financial literacy is difficult if you have no financial resources to begin with.

Our primary discussion has been finding jobs and discussing their current financial situation. One woman put it quite well: “how am I supposed to save money when I cannot even pay my rent?” She’s absolutely right. Our focus has to be on getting them jobs that give them more hours per week, which is where we are right now. On Thursday, we will be meeting with a veteran banker to discuss all that banks have to offer in terms of checking, savings, and credit—all information they will be able to use now and in the future.

In addition to this, we have discussed several other issues during our meetings. All of the women have very heavy burdens to carry. One has a son that has recurring seizures, and another’s son had a botched surgery in Nepal that left him incontinent. One woman was laid off and has three teenage girls to care for. Another’s husband just died a few months ago. The struggles that they have shared with me have led me to start planning for a mental health professional to come in and talk with women. I want to ensure that these women are in emotionally and psychologically good place when they get to the point where they can save and use their money wisely.

I am optimistic that with all the help and support given to them, these women will flourish in their new home!

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Written by Rachel Zupan, US Together 

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#AllMenCan create gender equality and influence

allmencan

He is your father. Your uncle. Your Coach. Your best friend.  

He is the man who always supported you and encouraged you.   

Today we pay tribute to the remarkable men who share their voices 

and invest in the potential of all women and girls.

 

Make a donation in honor or memory of a man who impacted your life, 

click here to pay tribute and celebrate him.  

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Community Change Agent: Andie Boutelle

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My very first experience with The Women’s Fund was during my senior year of high school, back in 2009. I tagged along with my mom to a grant reader workshop, which at the time was held at the Limited Brands headquarters. Inspired by the mission of The Women’s Fund and the wonderful ladies that I met, that same year I created a video for the One Girl initiative and attended my first Keyholder. Fast forward three and a half years, I found myself heading to The Women’s Fund office to interview for an internship position. I was ecstatic to find out that same day that, despite my nerves during the interview, I was invited to join The Women’s Fund team.

My journey with The Women’s Fund began with a lot of firsts. We all know about the nature of “first experiences”, which consists of a little awkwardness, some fumbling, and occasional (okay, frequent) slip-ups. I’ve held various, service-y type jobs before, but this was my very first internship in an actual office. Not only did I have a lot to learn about the Women’s Fund, but also a lot to learn about the intricacies of working in an office environment.

I learned A LOT. I learned about how to create and format Excel spreadsheets, how to answer the phone, how to edit pieces of writing. But I also learned about more abstract concepts, for example how everything that I do, like smiling while greeting guests and being friendly and helpful over the phone, was a reflection of the Women’s Fund and its values. How every little interaction with a person matters, because our collective strength is comprised of individual women, and our relationship with each and every one of them is important.

I learned more about The Women’s Fund and what they do. I learned about the journey from donation dollars to tangible social change. I learned about the different challenges that are particularly unique to women, like wage disparities, teen pregnancy, and self-esteem. I learned that despite all of this, women and girls are incredibly resilient. I learned that anyone can be a philanthropist, and how empowering it is to be a part of the cycle of women helping other women.

During my time here, I’ve come to realize how The Women’s Fund is not just a brand or an office or a staff. We really are a community of strong, diverse women philanthropists invested in the potential of women and girls. I continue to be in awe of the altruism and selfless involvement of all of the women who come together and offer their talents, time, and treasure in the name of something much bigger than any of us: social change. We are truly an organization for women, by women. What we do is transformational.

I’m wrapping up my time at The Women’s Fund with only a few days left as an intern. All good things come to an end, and endings usually call for a bit of reflection. As I look back on these past few months, I realize all that I have gained from my experience here. I will go forth equipped with new, incredibly useful office skills. But more importantly, I will go forth with new outlook on what it means to be a woman, pressing gender issues in society, and the power of women supporting one another. Don’t get me wrong, office skills are nice to have, but my worldview after working with The Women’s Fund is something that will continue to shape my actions and myself as a person throughout my life.

14527 interns

Written by Andie Bouttelle, Women’s Fund Intern

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