By Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA
Generations of women began their paths to empowerment, safety, and economic security by entering the doors of the YWCA, because for over 160 years, YWCA USA has continued to #PressForProgress. From voting rights to civil rights; from affordable housing to equal pay; from ending gender-based discrimination to helping young girls realize their full potential – YWCA has been on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women for women and girls throughout the United States and around the world. Truly, our work at home is connected to the work happening to advance women and girls everywhere.
Little girls with dreams become women with vision. Women with vision lead our communities, and someday our nation, towards progress that will empower us all. Whether we lead as scientists, judges, teachers, or soldiers, the fact remains that women with vision build a better tomorrow. Our courageous women leaders – both past and present – call not only on the end to inequality but on widening the circle of opportunity for women and girls across our country, especially women of color. In recent years, women have marched for justice with purpose and a path towards action. They have marched for their voices to be heard, and to provide a platform for other women to seek the level of change needed in their respective communities. They have protested to end abuse and discrimination, but they have also marched for access. Access to jobs, to housing, to America’s promise for full and equal participation.
Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. Women are nearly half of our nation’s workers. Their increased participation in our workforce not only benefits our economy, it benefits our families. Yet, not all of our policies have caught up to this reality. Today, too many of the opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers fought for are still going unrealized. That is why YWCA is on a mission to tear down the barriers that still exist for too many women, especially women of color. YWCA USA represents 213 associations in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and is part of a global movement with World YWCA which unites 109 countries under the YWCA tradition.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we also prepare to join our YWCA sisters from around the world to harness our power as change agents at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women next week. The time is ours to ensure that we remain focused on the opportunities to drive meaningful and measurable change that delivers social impact to drive safety and progress for women around the globe.
We are on a mission to #PressForProgress!
**Photos are of YWCA representatives from all over the world at the 2017 and 2016 YWCA USA and World Service Council welcome receptions during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.