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Buffalo, N.Y.

YW’s Working Women Exhibition: A Look At The History of The YWCA Western New York’s  Support, Training, & Advocacy for Working Women

The YWCA Western New York has had a long standing history of helping Buffalo’s women gain employment during times of war.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the YWCA of Western New York will be hosting the YW’s Working Women exhibit featuring items from their 143 year old archives. The exhibition will focus on YWCA’s history of training, supporting and advocating for women in the workplace including the training of Western New York women who worked in Buffalo’s factories during World War II. The exhibit will also highlight the local history of the YWCA Western New York and the impact it has had on the Buffalo community.

The YWCA Western New York has had a long standing history of helping Buffalo’s women gain employment. They first focused on training women to sew, then during World War II they began training women to work in the Buffalo factories. Later, they established a secretarial school. In addition to training programs, the YWCA fought for safe conditions, equal pay and equal rights for domestic workers and immigrants.

 “The YWCA of Western New York has changed dramatically as an organization to meet the needs of each decade as the needs of women and families changed,” said Deborah Lynn Williams, CEO of the YWCA Western New York. “For example, during World War II the YWCA was busy training women to keep the factories going. YW’s Working Women Exhibition highlights that time and how the YWCA changed along with the times to accommodate the needs of women and families.” 

Although the workplace is very different from how it used to be, the YWCA Western New York is holding this exhibition to remind people that women played an important role in our nation’s economy and continue to do so today. The deep history of the YWCA and the Buffalo area has been packed away in a storage unit for years, but with this exhibition the legacy of the YWCA can be brought to light and shared with future generations.

 In addition to sharing the history of the YWCA Western New York, the exhibit will also benefit future generations by donating all the proceeds from the exhibition to the educational programming for at-risk youth and the Girls, Inc. program. “Last year's event was successful in raising money for the at-risk youth programs and hopefully this year's event will be even more successful so that we can continue this critical programming for our youth,” said Williams.

To learn more visit: http://www.ywca-wny.org/docs/2013-03-27-YW-Working-Women-Sponsor-Pack.pdf