The Top 10 Questions to Ask About Your Title IX Rights on a College Visit

By Michaela Olson
Intern, NWLC

‘Tis the season for college visiting. As campuses across America are flooded with high school students this summer, there are some hard-hitting, crucial questions to keep in mind—and they may help to give you better perspective on where you could spend some of the most formative years of your life. Although it might not occur to many prospective students and their parents, one of those questions is how a school responds to reports of sexual harassment and assault. While it’s been in the news a lot lately, campus sexual assault isn’t just a hot topic or fodder for politicians and pundits, but rather a harsh reality for far too many. The more you know about how each school responds to it, the better.

Video Gaming and Tropes Against Women

By Monét Muñoz
Generation YW Youth Specialist, YWCA Greater Austin 

Monét Muñoz

Monét Muñoz

Video gaming has often been seen as a world dominated by a male audience, viewership, and consumership. However, more recently there has been a surge of women who are consuming this form of media at a rapid rate. In the late 2000s, Anita Serkeesian came onto the scene and changed the way we look at video gaming today. Sarkeesian is a media critic whose work focuses on “deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.” In 2009, Sarkeesian began a video web series titled Feminist Frequency as a thesis for her Masters Degree at York University, in which she discusses how women are sidelined in the realm of video games.

YWCA of Queens Attends UN Women Global Launch of Beijing+20

By Jane Lee
Communications & Outreach Associate, YWCA of Queens

From left: YWCA Queens HSE Students Umme Sheuli, Moises Churio, Adrian Lezcano, Director of Center for Education & Career Services Stacy Mckelvey, Communications & Outreach Associate Jane Lee, and HSE Student Erick Menendez at the Apollo Theatre in New York

From left: YWCA Queens HSE Students Umme Sheuli, Moises Churio, Adrian Lezcano, Director of Center for Education & Career Services Stacy Mckelvey, Communications & Outreach Associate Jane Lee, and HSE Student Erick Menendez at the Apollo Theatre in New York

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women launched its year-long Beijing+20 Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it! campaign on Thursday, June 26, 2014. The campaign is a year-long movement with the mission of cultivating global dialogue and actions on women’s rights and gender equality. Several staff and students from the YWCA of Queens attended the Beijing+20 launch event at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. Our High School Equivalency (HSE/GED) students were eager to listen to the amazing line-up of speakers and performers, ranging from the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to noted feminist leader and activist Gloria Steinem.

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

by Danielle Desrosiers
Direct Care Supervisor, Survivor Outreach and Advocacy Services, YWCA Western Massachusetts

Danielle Desrosiers

An open letter to the YWCA community and beyond:

I am writing to you as a member of our community and as someone who has had the privilege of working with survivors of sexual assault for the past five years. In those five years, I have experienced heartbreak, unbelievable pain and trauma beyond words, but most importantly I have experienced an unwavering strength that tethers it all together.

Potential to Power Girls Symposium Kicks Off NYC’s Girl Agenda

by Heather Nannery
Communications Manager, YWCA New York City

Who is the 21st Century Girl? How can we support her aspirations? What happens when 200 girls and women unite to find out?

The YWCA of the City of New York (YW) took on these questions and more on June 2 at the First Annual Potential to Power Girls Symposium. The YW convened over 200 girls and 50 influential women to engage in important discussions about racial and gender equity in New York City.

Our #BringBackOurGirls Rally Demands Action

By Laura Speer
Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator, YWCA Rockford

As I rushed to prepare myself for work and my kids, ages one to seven, for daycare and school on Tuesday morning, the morning news played mostly unnoticed in the background. An update on the Nigerian girls abducted by the anti-Western Boko Haram terrorist group cycled in and I paused to ask my husband, “Have you heard about this… the 300 girls taken from their school in Nigeria?” He hadn’t.

I had, but just a mention of it weeks before as a flabbergasted media panelist asked, “What about the 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped from their school?” I hadn’t heard anything since; I assumed this meant they had been rescued.

The STEM Promise: Opportunities for Economic Empowerment

By Katie Stanton
Social Media and Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA

equal pay WH graphicNext week, the national conversation will turn to income inequality as we mark Equal Pay Day. This marks the day on which women must continue to work in 2014, in order to earn as much as men did in the previous year.

According to 2012 numbers from the Census Bureau, the wage gap is still 23 cents, with women earning around 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by white men. The wage gap for women of color is worse: in 2012, the earnings of African American women were $33,885, or 68.6 percent of all men’s earnings and Latinas’ earnings were $28,424, 57.5 percent of all men’s earnings.

Creative Solutions to Difficult Issues: Working Around the System

By Danielle Marse-Kapr
Senior Advocacy and Policy Associate

This week, I had the honor of attending the 58th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). While the CSW occurs over the course of two weeks, NGOs from around the world lobby their representatives in support of the issues most impacting the women they represent. And, while the CSW debates these points, NGOs plan “side events” where they gather to discuss women’s issues from every perspective – safety, poverty, health, political rights, etc.

Danielle (third from right), with panelists from YWCAs in Australia, New Zealand, Malawi, and Palestine, discussing young women's leadership.

Danielle (third from right), with panelists from YWCAs in Australia, New Zealand, Malawi, and Palestine, discussing young women’s leadership.

Helen Claytor: A YWCA Leader and Inspiration

By Heather Colletto 
Development and Communications Coordinator
YWCA West Central Michigan

Heather Colletto

Heather Colletto

It was a bit of a scandal, to say the least. When Helen Claytor was elected as the YWCA West Central Michigan’s (then the Grand Rapids YWCA) first African American board president in 1949, three board members resigned in protest. Thankfully, the remaining members reflected the YW’s forward thinking on civil rights. Even then, Helen was more than qualified to lead the association on a mission to empower women of all races.

Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail: National Girls & Women in Sports Day 2014

By Shellie Pfohl
Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition

Today, people from all 50 states will celebrate the 28th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year’s theme, “Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail,” is particularly pertinent because we are two days away from the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics. More than 100 of our 230 winter Olympians traveling to Sochi are females; in London in 2012, the U.S. sent more female than male athletes to participate in the Games. In fact, many referred to London 2012 as “the Women’s Olympics,” because it was the first time that women competed in all of the same sports as men, for 302 total medal events.