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What Women Want 2012: Cincinnati Town Meeting

Participants in their discussion groups at the Town Meeting.

YWCA USA, along with AmericaSpeaks and a host committee of several organizations and individuals, convened an interactive, non-partisan Town Meeting of women in Cincinnati, Ohio – a critical swing state for the 2012 election – at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on September 29. Our Meeting focused on the key advocacy areas of the YWCA: Economic Empowerment, Health and Safety and Racial Justice and Civil Rights, and used AmericaSpeaks’ 21st Century Town Meeting® tools to engage participants in active discussions about their priorities for this election year. 

Some highlights from the day’s discussion and polls include: 

  • 50% of participants think that passing the American Jobs Act in Congress to stimulate job creation will have the greatest potential to positively impact the jobs crisis
  • 57% would like to improve the education curriculum and ensure that quality public schools have adequate funding
  • 47% like that the Affordable Care Act ensures coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • 36% wish that the Affordable Care Act included comprehensive programs for addiction and mental healthcare
  • 52% would like to reform the tax code, so there are not so many loopholes (like oversees sheltering) and to limit tax credits
  • Many participants would like to see federal legislation passed to specifically address hate crimes, and to expand the definition to include bullying

From left: Francie Garber Pepper, interim YWCA USA CEO Gloria Lau, new YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., and Connie Schultz.

The results of our day-long discussion were similar to the results of our What Women Want 2012 Survey, which found that women are deeply concerned about the jobs crisis and health care.

Participants also had the opportunity to engage directly with Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Conway, two respected and well-known pollsters who conducted our What Women Want 2012 National Survey, and with Beth Reinhard of the National Journal. The Meeting was also joined by Connie Schultz, wife of Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Nicole Sizemore, Press Secretary for Secretary-Treasurer and Senate-hopeful Josh Mandel, as well as Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, The Honorable Judge Sandra S. Beckwith, and Charlene Ventura, President and CEO of YWCA Greater Cincinnati.

Read the press release about the Cincinnati Town Meeting (PDF)

See the Participant Guide from the meeting, with detailed information about each advocacy area (PDF)

Read the What Women Want 2012 Town Meeting Final Report (PDF)

See more coverage of the Town Meeting:


Thanks to our host committee for all of their support:

Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation
Caroline Clarke, Executive Editor/Host of Black Enterprise Business Report and Editorial Director Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D., Political Analyst and Scholar
Rebecca Hall, Chair of the YWCA National Coordinating Board and CEO of YWCA of Greater Lawrence, MA
Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., Executive Director National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona
Susan Packard Orr, President, Telosa Software, Inc.
Francie Garber Pepper
Alice Rivlin, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and member of the President’s Debt Commission
Stacey Tisdale, Journalist, President of Winning Play$ and author of The True Cost of Happiness
Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project and Take Our Daughters to Work Day, retired president of the Ms Foundation for Women
Tiffany Dufu, President of The White House Project

Honorary Chair: Gabrielle Giffords, Former Congresswoman from Arizona

League of Women Voters
National Institute for Civil Discourse
The White House Project
United Nations Foundation
Young Invincibles