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Anita: Speaking Truth to Power


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Connect with CHAMPS

Hello Fellow Women Fund of Central Ohio Supporters!

At CHAMPS (College and High School Aspiring Mothers Partnership for Success) we’ve been busy preparing for the kickoff of The Ohio State University’s 2014 CHAMPS Program. We recently visited Radio One to promote the upcoming kickoff. One of our Moms, Janel read a script to inform pregnant or parenting teenagers to the program that starts on October 21st. As we look ahead to the start of our program, we know none of this was possible without the funding and support of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. A Big Shout Out to YOU for the CHAMPS Program!

Janel’s radio script went like this:

“’I want to go to college…But, you have a baby.’

When I was in high school, this is pretty much what I was told every time I mentioned that I planned to go to college; As if having a baby automatically disqualified me from earning a degree. Does this sound familiar? Are you tired of being discouraged from taking your education to the next level just because you have a baby? Are you interested in a $25 Wal-Mart Gift Card?

The OSU CHAMPS Mentoring Program helps high school teen moms make their dreams of going to college a reality. So, if you have a GPA of a 2.5 or better and you want to receive a $25 Wal-Mart Gift Card, then CHAMPS is the program for you!

Call the OSU ACCESS Collaborative Program at 614-247-7092 for more information.”

Let us know if you would like to learn more or provide support for this project.

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Written by Dr. Paula H. Smith, LSMW 

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Change Starts with YOU

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.

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s dedication to social change is important to me as a young female philanthropist. My passion for gender equality and women empowerment affects every aspect of my life and interning at this wonderful organization only strengthens my values. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that when I walk through the doors and sit down at the intern pod I am a part of something bigger. I am surrounded by positive, strong, courageous, smart women who devote their time to ensuring a better future for girls in Central Ohio. The Women’s Fund allows young girls and women to have access to the potential of change, and that is why your money is so important.

Your money is more than a donation, it’s an investment.  You’re investing in social change, political justice, equality, and understanding.  The money you give will affect women and girls individually and collectively. Your money that goes to grants, research projects, education, and advocacy act as a catalyst for social change: these proactive measures ensure women are acknowledged globally as equals.  Donate for yourself, your sister, your mother, you wife, your daughter, your aunt. Giving money  benefits The Women’s Fund, and also benefits you.

Now that our 2014-2015 Annual Campaign has officially launched, we thought it was important to share how your donations impact our community.

When you donate to The Women’s Fund you are stepping into your role as a philanthropist and advocating for women and girls. From $1 to $1,000, every dollar invested in The Women’s Fund helps us to create change. We also believe in the democratization of philanthropy, which means we truly celebrate every gift. Instead of listing donors by level or amount we list everyone alphabetically because we know all combined gifts make the greatest impact. No dollar stands alone in affecting change.

From our grants to our research our team invests in the potential of the community, creating a better world for all women and girls. We want to invest in eliminating violence, eradicating inequality, diminishing the wage gap, and fighting injustices. We also want to invest in empowerment, collaboration, education, knowledge, awareness, and growth. We are investing in social change. When you invest in the Women’s Fund, you are investing in the opportunity to create lasting change. Through your philanthropic donation, you enable us to advocate, build capacity, collaborate, make grants, educate and engage the community for social change.

Change does start with me, with you, and with The Women’s Fund.

Share how change starts with YOU & invest in our Annual Campaign today:  

Written by Becca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern 

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#HeForShe Promotes Solidarity

With Emma Watson’s #HeForShe United Nations speech and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s video on feminism, celebrities are taking to social media to promote gender equality. Emma Watson, Simon Pegg , Russell Crowe, Tom Hiddleston, and Forest Whitaker are just some of the actors and actresses who’ve stepped forward in support of the#HeForShe movement. Joseph Gordon-Levitt even launched a project on his collaborative production company, hitRECord, to initiate a creative conversation on feminism and the connotations associated with it. It’s wonderful to see these celebrities using their fame and following of fans to promote social change.

It’s refreshing to see celebrities stand behind and advocate for what they believe in. We have seen celebrities in the past claim they are not feminists for the simple fact that they don’t want to attach themselves to a ‘negative’ idea or receive the negative connotations that often accompany the label. As a society, we need to realize that when we don’t want to call ourselves feminists we’re only perpetuating the stereotype. If you tell someone proudly that you’re a feminist and show through your actions and conversations that you don’t fit the mold of a man-hating victim you are redefining what others view as a feminist. A feminist is not a single mold or definition, it encompasses different lifestyles, cultures, political views, and economic situations; but the theme that unites all feminists is the desire for change and equality.

As Joseph Gordon-Levitt reminds us, feminism is not a social, economic, or political exclusion. Stay at home moms and female neuro surgeons can both be feminists and both are powerful, important people in our society. But what makes feminism so great is that a stay at home mom chooses to stay home with her children, she doesn’t feel pressured by society’s gender norms to stay at home with her children. And that feminist neuro surgeon pursued her dreams not to spite anyone, but because she truly wanted to help make the world a healthier, better place.

And as these actors have shown, feminism is not just about women. Feminism includes eliminating gender stereotypes and norms for both men and women. Women should be able to pursue degrees in the STEM field and men should be able to desire domestic duties without backlash. Women should exude power and men should be able to freely express their emotions. In all aspects of culture, men and women should not be limited to their roles and contributions because of what their biological sex is.

As the #HeForShe movement intends, when men and women work together, feminism doesn’t exclude half of our population, it includes everyone and works with both men and women for an equal future.

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Change Starts with Me

As a full-time working mother of three, my time is limited. However, I believe, giving back to my community is an obligation of my success and is therefore a priority. As such, I want to be certain my hard earned dollars are going to charities that are not only in-line with my personal beliefs and values but are also well run, financially responsible and impactful in a measureable way. So, how do I accomplish all this on my schedule with limited research capabilities? I’ll share my secret…because that’s what we girlfriends do. I accomplish all this by donating directly to The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. The Women’s Fund does all of the work for me by vetting and researching each of the charities that become their grant partners. So, I can feel confident that my dollars are going organizations that meet all of my criteria. Additionally, The Women’s Fund takes my donation, which may not seem like enough of an impact on its own and combines it with donations from other, like-minded, donors and, voila, the impact is felt immediately. Much sooner than if I’d just written a smaller check of my own, each year, for multiple years.

This type of collective giving reminds me of the old saying, “Alone we can say… but together we can shout.” And, to be honest, that’s the giving message I want my children to understand, my daughter especially. Because, while one day I hope it not to be true, the fact is, today, as women, we have to work together, we have to be creative and we have to “shout” to be heard. So, since many of my girlfriends aren’t comfortable with the “shouting” part, myself excluded, what better way to assure our voices are heard than through the power of collective giving! We all know money talks… but when our money is combined via The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, it Shouts! And when The Women’s Fund shouts, Central Ohio hears a rally cry reminding us all of the importance of investing in the potential of women and girls.”


Share how change starts with YOU & invest in our Annual Campaign today:  



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Written by Kelli Gargasz, SVP Fifth Third Bank & Women’s Fund of Central Ohio Board Member 

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How We View Violence

With Ray Rice’s recent firing from the Baltimore Ravens and an outcry across college campuses for a better handling of sexual assault, I can’t help but think that our society as a whole is not aware of how present violence against women in our culture is.  Further, not only is violence against women in our culture present, but it is also prevalent. The pervasiveness of domestic violence throughout our culture, whether that is in the media, sports, or politics, alarms me. The apathetic nature we take to this widespread problem can’t continue as we move forward in society. As a woman on a college campus plagued by their own difficulty combating sexual assault and violence against women, I know that something has to change. Why do we have to continue living in a culture that perpetuates gender roles that accept domestic violence and female complacency?

Unfortunately Ray Rice’s firing is the first of its kind for the NFL; countless players in the past have committed violence and/or sexual assault against women and continued to play for their respective teams. Why has it taken the NFL so long to finally acknowledge the blatant violence that their culture breeds for their players? Of course we need to hold the NFL accountable for the culture and attitudes they instill in their players, but we also need to look at our culture in general.

When considering how we react to these events in our culture, there’s an obvious victim-blaming and lack of empathy towards these women. Two Fox News correspondents responded to Ray Rice’s actions by saying the lesson learned in light of this event and others in the past is to “take the stairs” and avoid elevators because “they have cameras.”  This response is exactly what is wrong with our culture, not only do they blame the victim for being in the elevator, they offer advice on how to get away with abuse, by going to a secluded, non-recorded area. As a society we have to change our views on violence against women, when our culture is saturated by movies, shows, video games, sports, and porn that all say “women are less than men and abusing them is okay” we have to challenge these accepted views.

Another issue that we face as a culture is a lack of understanding for victims of domestic violence. states on their website that statistics show that women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. Often times you hear from people when hearing about a domestic violence case that they don’t understand why the woman just can’t leave. It seems simple for an outsider to rationalize such an irrational circumstance, but we have to change our outlook on victims in domestic abuse situations. When a woman experiences verbal, emotional, or physical abuse by her partner the lesser of two evils is to stay and that is why women don’t leave their abusers. It’s not money or religion or dependency that keeps them there, it is the control and power of their abuser and the fear of death.

Our inherent nature to overlook violence against anyone, but especially women can and has to change. The NFL has finally acknowledged their lack of action in the past, and is beginning to take appropriate actions against players who commit violence against women, but it can’t stop with them. There has to be a universal shift in how we view and handle violence against women. We have to change our idle nature to an active nature, teaching our sons and daughters alternatives to violence, educating adults on these issues, implementing policies within our government and workplace can all reduce this vicious cycle. But it has to start with you. Next time you hear your friend says they “raped that test” or jokingly threaten to hit someone, tell them to stop. Equating rape and violence to nonchalant activities only minimizes the actual crimes.

If we can acknowledge how we perceive violence within our culture and then actively alter this outlook, I am hopeful that in the future, violence against women and violence in general will be reduced.


Written by Becca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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Mind, Body, Health Empowerment with Annette Franks & The Human Form

This Saturday, September 20th, The Human Form will be hosting a workshop featuring Annette Franks, on Integrating Mind, Body, Health and Success.  All proceeds will benefit The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio!

Michelle Ladd, owner of the Human Form, shares more about the event:

Who Is Annette Franks?

Annette Franks, M.Ed., LPC, CWC is a Corporate Wellness Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor. She has over 30 years of counseling and consulting experience working with individuals, couples, families and corporations. Annette’s background in Integrative Medicine and Holistic Health Practices combined with her counseling and consulting experience make her uniquely equipped to help us balance our lifestyle, become aware of our behavior patterns and decipher the signals our bodies are sending us.   Her utilization of both eastern and western health philosophies incorporates the best of both worlds.

How does The Human Form connect to The Women’s Fund?

We stand behind the Women’s Funds belief that empowering women and girls impacts entire families and uplifts entire communities.  They may focus on enhancing economic self sufficiency for women, leadership for women and lifestyle skills for girls; while we empower them by building strong, confident bodies, inside and out.  But the result – transforming lives – is the same.

The Human Form is built on the power of community – we strive to create a culture based on support and guidance that challenges our members to bring their best every day.  We are proud to combine forces with The Women’s Fund, to create social change throughout central Ohio.

Is this event beneficial for men and women?

While men and women alike may feel the stressors of their daily lives, they may experience them differently, and for different reasons.  Coming to this realization while listening to Annette over the years has changed the way I communicate in my relationship, with my family, with my friends and with my co-workers.  Relationships is one of Annette’s specialties, and “ah-ha” moments in this department are common in her audience.  While the seminar is absolutely beneficial for both men and women, it would be a great experience for those in relationships to attend together, to both be a part of building their healthier, more balance lifestyle.

How does what Annette is speaking about relate to what you do at Human Form?

At The Human Form, we consider ourselves a “holistic health and fitness studio”.  While the word “holistic” has been thrown around a lot lately, to us it relates to the way in which we encourage our clients to become healthier – taking the whole body, inside and out, into account. While exercise and nutrition are certainly important factors in weight loss, increased energy, athletic performance, injury prevention, etc., we find that it is the lifestyle as a whole that allows people to achieve the greatest amount of success in improving their overall health.

Topics like optimal sleeping patterns, relationships, living in the present moment, listening to your body and having a personal vision can all be road blocks along the path to optimal health and vitality.  Annette does a great job of explaining the importance of each of these areas and many more, helping to create more balance in our lives.

What is your connection to Annette?

Annette runs a week-long life enrichment retreat in Costa Rica each year.  Looking ways to enhance our members’ lives beyond exercise and nutrition, and for my own personal growth, I attended in February 2013.  Separated from work and family obligations, without technology, on top of a mountain in Costa Rica, we listened to Annette talk about “Balancing Mind, Body and Spirit” by day and did yoga, tai chi and salsa danced by night.

The experience was just the piece I’d been missing.  We coach our members on improving their posture, effective workouts for improving body composition, executing movements with perfect form, injury prevention, eating high quality foods, hydrating well, etc.; but the passion and practical application Annette brought to the lifestyle portion of our holistic model was something I could not wait to share.


To learn more about Annette,

please visit her website:


For more information on registration, location and details on the workshop, visit: 


Hope to see you Saturday!


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Emily Johnson, Pure Change Agent

Emily Johnson is a Change Agent – encouraging and motivating an entire community to find their strength. With 3 Pure Barre locations she is spreading inspiration throughout Columbus, and building a network of support for all women.

Read why she was inspired to start her own business, how she is a leader, and what makes her a Change Agent:

1. What inspired you to open Pure Barre?

Everything! The technique, the workout, the music and most importantly the camaraderie created amongst women. It’s so empowering!

Pure Barre had me at my very first “tuck”. (Well, maybe the second, because let’s face it… that first class is brutal!) But after I left class, I immediately knew I found exactly what I was looking for… a chance to be a part of something bigger. And although I was on a completely different career path at the time, the chance to change lives for the better drew me in, and I couldn’t resist an incredible opportunity to be part of an amazing network of strong, smart and fun women!

So after I decided to open a studio (or three), I’ve never looked back. I couldn’t be happier I took a leap of faith and brought Pure Barre to Columbus. Not only has it created a way to connect women while becoming a little better and a little stronger than they were the day before, but it’s also helped me become a little better every day too… Pure Barre truly does changes lives!

2. Why do you feel this Pure Give challenge is important to the community?

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and Pure Barre are the perfect fit! Our studios are filled with strong, beautiful, smart and thriving women all bonded together by a common goal. It’s all about self-improvement and motivating one another to stick with it, and stay strong. This is our chance to help women and girls unleash their full potential within the central Ohio community by educating them on the ways they can take action and promote change.

3. As a woman business owner, what has been a pivotal moment for you?

I have pivotal moments every single day. But a recent moment that stands out was when a client recently got diagnosed with breast cancer. Even after her diagnosis, she continues to come to Pure Barre because it helps her stay strong both mentally and physically while she undergoes the long treatment process. She has a wonderful support system of fellow clients and staff all cheering her on while she battles her illness with a positive attitude and determination to beat it. She’s a truly amazing and brave woman, and an inspiration to all of us who are lucky enough to be around her. And to me, that’s what it’s all about… supporting one another through the good times and the bad to be stronger.

4. Who has been a change agent woman in your life and why?

There are so many who have been change agents in my life! First and foremost, my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom until my brother and I reached high school, and then at nearly 50 years old, she decided to follow her passion and open a greenhouse. She showed me anything was possible.

My grandma also played an important role in my life. She has always been so compassionate and caring; she literally wouldn’t even kill an ant! She taught me to appreciate all walks of life and celebrate the differences in all of us.

The last woman who really stands out is Wendy Gomez. She was my mentor in college, and owned a gymnastics and fitness gym for children. She showed me you can do it all; she has 5 children and runs a successful, fun business and still supports her community. Talk about superwomen!

5. What advice would you give to women and girls in our community?

YOU tell people what your worth is.

Don’t ever cut yourself short… or let anyone else try to! Continue to learn, grow and better yourself each and every day to create the best and most meaningful life. If you do this, you’ll not only find self-satisfaction, but you’ll inspire others to be the best they can be as well.

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Through September 22nd stop by Pure Barre and support The Women’s Fund, learn more here:

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Written by Emily Johnson, Pure Barre owner 

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Life Is What You Make It

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Mark your calendars for September 24th for a night of great music and conversation focused on empowerment with Peter Buffett. The Emmy Award-winning musician, philanthropist, social activist, and author is visiting Columbus next week and promises a wonderful and insightful evening.

Peter’s performance is a live, multimedia event with music, audience interaction, personal anecdotes, and video clips of philanthropic work. The multi-faceted performer has had his music featured in the Oscar winning film, Dances with Wolves, as well as 500 Nations, and has collaborated with esteemed artists such as Akon. Peter’s philanthropic accomplishments span across several different creative outlets, from songs to a New York Times Best-Selling Book, Life is What You Make of It. Peter’s desire and activism for social change resonates with each project the artist pours himself into.

We are looking forward to a discussion on women’s philanthropy and Peter’s foundation, NoVo: a non-profit organization dedicated to giving young women and girls around the world more possibilities and opportunities. Peter co-chairs the organization with his wife, and the couple believes that when girls are supported, educated, and shown their own innate power, everyone benefits. NoVo is dedicated to empowering adolescent girls, ending violence against girls and women, advancing social and emotional learning, and promoting local living economies. NoVo reaches across the globe, advocating for women and girls domestically and internationally.

Peter’s advocacy for gender equality along with his creative talents makes for an exciting night and we hope to see you there!

What: Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett

When: Wed, Sept 24, 2014 at 7:30pm

Where: Weigel Hall & Auditorium, Building 355, 1866 College Rd


Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

Tickets: Free

Learn more about Peter here:

Learn more about Peter’s foundation here:

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30 Years of Saving & Changing Lives

Amethyst is Celebrating 30 Years of Saving Lives, Changing Lives and Reuniting Families!

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This Saturday, September 13, from 8:00am-10:00am, please join us at Wolfe Park in Columbus, Ohio for our 4th Annual 5K walk/run for recovery, “A Step in the Right Direction.” This event  is to raise awareness and support for the women and children of Amethyst, who were once homeless or at risk and now live each day choosing a life of recovery.  These women have faced many challenges, when the disease of addiction is coupled with homelessness; it is even more difficult for a woman to locate treatment, family services and housing. Amethyst provides safe and sober housing, for approximately 150 women and 60 children each year, along with long-term, family-focused and gender-specific treatment to homeless women in Central Ohio.

Rally your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers for a morning of healthy fun! There will be music refreshments and a small awards ceremony for runner’s fastest time and highest fundraising efforts. Register for $25 to walk or $30 to run (with timing chip) and get a FREE event t-Shirt. Awards will be presented to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place runners in both the male and female categories and for the top individual fundraiser and the largest team. Sign Up Today!

Please visit to register and to find sponsorship opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact Nanon Morrison at 614.221.7293 or

Thank you for your support!


Written by Nanon Morrison, Amethyst’s Development Director

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Supporting instead of struggling in the workplace

What does it feel like to be a woman in a powerful position?

Is it rewarding? Difficult? Challenging? What about threatening?

Our society breeds a culture of competition between females, regardless of the task: personally, socially, professionally, and everything in between. With all the pressure it would seem that it’s engrained in us to feel threatened, whether we are in positions of power or not. Moreover, women in power feel an even more heightened threat, because women are taught that attaining such a position in a career is unlikely and when they do attain this position they should view others as rivalry, rather than as a resource.

The term “Queen Bee” typically refers to a positive female role: a strong, powerful woman who, through hard work and dedication, achieves an esteemed position. But what we seem to ignore when attributing the title to a woman is the negative connotations associated with the term. Queen Bee also implies competition and supremacy; it lacks other ‘bees,’ suggesting there can only be one powerful woman within a certain field or job title.

So let’s change this outlook. Let’s eliminate the term Queen Bee and start advocating for more women in powerful positions and destroy the archetype that powerful women can’t collaborate with one another to produce an even better outcome.  Celebrating, enriching, and empowering women in the workforce will improve the overall performance and functionality of a company. Queen Bees, as Sallie K. said, are a thing of the past: “But the days of the Queen Bee are ending. And that’s great news. It’s great news because business does not have to be a zero-sum game, resulting in “winners” and “losers.” The economic pie can grow by further engaging women in business.” Powerful women need to celebrate and support other women in the workforce, capitalizing on the enriching quality of strong female employees in a professional setting.  In the past, as women began to enter powerful positions, a Queen Bee attitude must have been a necessity. With such little room for women’s professional success earlier in history, it makes sense for the woman who worked and devoted her life to a title such as CEO safeguards her position. But with every year and every political, economic, and social advancement for women’s philanthropy, women should recognize the potential with their colleagues.

I find myself asking; why not eradicate the term Queen Bee completely?

When women work together and support each other something far greater is produced than a Queen Bee. Celebrating and challenging the women you work with involves something more encompassing, something that resonates with every single woman: growth, productivity,  and efficiency. That can start with you. Whether you’re a CEO or a minimum-wage employee, as women we can all help the cause to empower working women. Show them compassion and strength, wisdom and courage, a leader and confidant. When women work together, great things are accomplished with purpose and energy that is unequivocally genuine.

Next time you are introduced to a woman of professional power use her as a resource, as a teacher who can show you the facets of a business and the hard work and determination it takes to achieve such a position. But also ask her how she came to that position: ask her who helped her, who gave her advice and wisdom, who made sure her efforts were celebrated? In those conversations we can see just how uplifting and influential one woman can be to the next.

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Read more about this subject here:

Written by Becca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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See you next Wednesday!

Register today and join us on September 10th at Columbus Metropolitan Club for an engaging conversation with Riki Wilchinsone of TIME Magazine’s “100 Civic Innovators for the 21′st Century” hosted in partnership with The Columbus Foundation.
Use code word: WFCO for guest rate

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Join us September 20

Join us Saturday, September 20th with Human Form Fitness LLC and Annette Franks for a morning focused on of Mind-Body-Health Education, Self-Exploration and Personal Empowerment. Funds raised will be going to The Women’s Fund!

Learn more here and register today:

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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.

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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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