Friday, March 31, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Together Women Rise

Let’s close out Women’s History Month with “a powerful community of women and allies dedicated to achieving global gender equality”, Together Women Rise.

Founded in Greenville, South Carolina in 2003, the vision of Together Women Rise is “a world where every person has the same opportunities to thrive regardless of their gender or where they live.” They work towards this goal through three core action areas: learning, giving and community building.

The actions take place in hundreds of Together Women Rise chapters across the U.S. As explained on the website, in local chapter meetings “members learn about and advocate for gender equality issues, give grants to organizations that empower women and girls in low-income countries, and build community to forge meaningful connections that increase our strength and collective impact.”

Together Women Rise identifies and funds a monthly Featured Grantee organization, who has been carefully vetted. All grantees are locally-led, measuring impact and working in collaboration with the women they serve. Chapter members are provided with a wide range of learning materials on the featured country, issue, and project. This also includes recipe, book, film, and music recommendations from the grantees. 

Examples of organizations that have received $50,000 grants in 2023 include: The Pangea Network, providing life and business skills training to women in poverty in Kenya, in addition to small business funds; and Maya Midwifery International, preparing and sustaining midwives in Guatemala to improve maternal child health outcomes. Upcoming grants will fund projects supporting women and girls in Ethiopia, Honduras, India and many more countries.

As you can see from the examples above, Featured Grants focus on delivering direct services to women and girls. Together Women Rise also funds Transformation Partnerships, organizations whose work creates broader, systemic change in order to achieve global gender equality and Impact Partnerships, programs run by larger organizations such as Unicef and the Peace Corps.

If you’d like to become a part the global community of women and allies working towards the goal of gender equality for women and girls everywhere, there are many ways to get involved. Attend one of the Together Women Rise 20th anniversary events, join a chapter, or if there’s not one near you, start a chapter. Members can join trips to visit grantee organizations and everyone is welcome to join the book club

There are also more traditional ways to show your support such as volunteering, making a donation and amplifying their message on social media. Follow Together Women Rise on Facebook, on Twitter @TogetherWmnRise and on Instagram @togetherwomenriseorg.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Feel Good Friday - National Women's History Museum

Want to spend Women’s History Month increasing your knowledge of women’s history? A good place to start is the National Women’s History Museum.

Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is “an innovative online museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society” in order to “fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.”

More than four million people visit NWHM each year. A great place to start your tour of the museum is by exploring their virtual exhibits. Topics range from creating a female political culture, through the women of NASA and all four waves of feminism. This museum never closes so you can visit as many exhibits as you like at a pace that works for you.

Next, peruse biographies of inspirational women throughout history. While you’re likely familiar with people such as Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Malala Yousafzai, there are hundreds of stories of lesser known women to read. You can sort the biographies by topic, era and location or click on a picture of someone you don’t recognize. That’s how I learned about jazz musician Toshiko Akiyoshi, Zuni cultural ambassador and artist We’wha, and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” author Sarah Josepha Hale.

NWHM also provides educational programming for teachers, students, and parents. This includes digital classroom resources with lesson plans and virtual field trips covering topics such as “African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement” and “The Beginnings of the Women’s Suffrage Movement 1776-1872”.

Not everything produced and curated by NWHM is virtual. There is a shattered-glass portrait of Vice President Kamala Harris, titled Glass Ceiling Breaker, on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., and a new exhibit, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC, will open at this location on March 30th. You can check the website for other upcoming events, both in person and virtual.

If you’d like to help the National Women’s History Museum educate, inspire and empower their visitors there are many ways to do so. Make a donation or shop to show your support. You can also let other people know about this resource by amplifying them on social media. Follow NWHM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @womenshistory. #WomensHistory

Friday, March 17, 2023

Feel Good Friday - MADRE

The Women’s History Month theme continues and today we highlight the work of MADRE.

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in New York City, MADRE is “an international women's human rights organization and feminist fund” with a mission to “advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face.”

MADRE works with community partners in Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Kenya, Nicaragua and Palestine. They focus on three strategies: grant making, organizational strengthening, and legal advocacy.

Grants fund local, women-led organizations that are meeting immediate needs, such as shelters and health clinics, while also focusing on lasting change. MADRE targets groups that prioritize the leadership of young women and girls, Indigenous women, Afro-descendant women, LGBTIQ people, and people with disabilities.

Community-based partner organizations receive training, advice on funding models, and strategic exchange to strengthen their capabilities. MADRE also helps women leaders advocate for their communities in policymaking spaces by providing legal advocacy and training.

These strategies are applied across the following programs: ending gender violence by equipping women with tools to prevent abuse in war and building clinics and counseling centers;  advancing climate justice through grassroots solutions like building clean water systems and seed bank harvesting; building a just peace by bringing aid to communities, working to address root causes of conflict and involving women in the peace process; and a feminist policy jumpstart which advocates that U.S. policymakers champion gender justice and human rights.

In December, 2019, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind delivered a talk at TED Women encouraging people to think like a mother in order to not get overwhelmed by crises and be able to take action. It’s a philosophy that guides MADRE’s strategy today.  

If you’re interested in taking action to support women leaders around the world, a great way to do so is with a donation to MADRE. You can also help out by amplifying their work on social media. Follow MADRE on Facebook, Twitter @MADREspeaks, and Instagram @madrespeaks. #ThinkLikeAMother

Friday, March 10, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Feminist Network

International Women’s Day was March 8th and we’re going to continue the celebration by highlighting the international women of Feminist Network.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Lviv, Ukraine, the mission of Feminist Network is the “creation of space for the development of the feminist community in Lviv and Ukraine.”

The activists who started this organization originally wanted a space where they could discuss feminism with other women. Since those early days, Feminist Network has grown in both size and scope. Now, they do work focusing on gender and feminist education; creation, support and development of the feminist community; and building a network to unite different leaders and city institutions in order to bring feminist values to life.

Projects they run include public lectures and events, art exhibits, street protests, a club for teenage girls called Girls Can, events focused on LBGTQ rights, and online classes in medi, writing, and feminist theory.

Since the Russian invasion last year, Feminist Network responded by starting new activities to support the people of Ukraine. These include finding housing for refugees and activists from regions where active hostilities are taking place, providing free babysitting services for refugee’s children, holding free sessions with psychologists for people in the community, providing humanitarian support to elderly women in Lviv, and creating online content to address the needs of vulnerable groups during the war. You can see the volunteers behind these efforts in this short video and read these stories of how and why they got started. 

The best way to provide support to Feminist Network is with a donation. You can also help by amplifying their work on social media. Like the Feminist Network Facebook page, follow them on Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Win (Women in Need)

On this first Feel Good Friday of Women’s History Month, let’s get to know Win, an organization helping women and children across New York City.

Founded in 1983 as Women in Need, Win began as a shelter for four homeless women and their combined six children. Forty years later, Win is " the largest provider of family shelter and supportive housing in New York City.”

Statistics on their website state that approximately 60% of New Yorkers in shelters are families with children and every night nearly 52,660 people in New York City, including over 17,000 children, go to bed in a homeless shelter. That’s why the vision of Win is “to break the cycle of homelessness by being the premier leader and trusted partner in innovative solutions for families in need.”

Win takes a comprehensive approach to break the cycle of homelessness which they call The Way to Win. It includes over 1,700 units of transitional housing where families stay for an average of 14 months. There are also 330 permanent supportive apartment units that include continued counseling for families with special needs, such as mothers who have aged out of foster care or who are in recovery.

In addition to housing assistance, Win provides childcare; education on life skills such as parenting, financial literacy, healthcare, employment counseling, and interview preparation; and counselors who can address issues such as mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse.

Last year Win served nearly 8,700 homeless people, including 4,700 children, and helped more than 730 families transition from shelters to their own homes. You can read some of their stories at this link. More recently, the New York City Council just passed Win-authored legislation which “requires the city to fund mental health clinicians at every shelter for homeless families with children, providing the support parents and children need and deserve, directly where they live.”

If you’d like to support the women and children Win serves you can attend an event, volunteer your time or donate your money. As always, I encourage you to amplify their work on social media. Follow Win on Facebook, on Twitter @WINNYC_ORG and on Instagram @winnyc_org.