A New Perspective on Bathrooms

by Miriam Barnett
CEO of the YWCA Pierce County

No big deal. It’s just a bathroom.


That is exactly how I would have responded if someone asked me about our bathrooms at the YWCA. Then I attended a workshop at the YWCA USA Annual Conference called “Addressing Issues of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.”

As I sat in the audience listening intently to panel member Kylar Broadus, I heard his personal stories of violence for being a female-to-male (FTM) transsexual. I never thought about what it would feel like to have to decide which bathroom to use. And I certainly never thought of the humiliation and violence that trans people endure as a result.

White House Summit Highlights Issues Facing Working Families

By Danielle Marse-Kapr
Senior Advocacy and Policy Associate, Economic Empowerment, YWCA USA


Danielle Marse-Kapr

Earlier this week, 10 representatives from the YWCA joined over 1,000 attendees at the White House Summit on Working Families. As anticipated, the summit highlighted issues facing working parents – particularly mothers who do paid work. There was no shortage of clout in the room as President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden all delivered remarks. They were joined by House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and the First Lady’s Chief Of Staff Tina Tchen, both of The White House Council on Women and Girls. Prominent business leaders and celebrities also attended to show their support for an agenda of public policy and cultural change that helps working families.

Take a Stand Against Racism on April 25!

By Katie Stanton
YWCA USA Social Media Manager

Eliminating racism is at the center of the YWCA’s mission. That’s why each year local associations participate in Stand Against Racism, a campaign and ongoing public conversation about race and equality. On April 25, the YWCA USA will support our local associations and their activities to unite to Stand Against Racism.

Get involved! Participate in YWCA USA’s Stand Against Racism blog carnival.
This year, we want to know: How are the lives of women impacted by racism?

Join the YWCA Rochester & Monroe County to Stand Against Racism

By Jean Carroll, President & CEO
YWCA Rochester & Monroe County

Jean Carroll

Jean Carroll

This is the fourth year the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County has participated in the Stand Against Racism and we’ve got some pretty big plans this year. As you know, the Stand is an annual community-wide event to build awareness about racism. We reach out to businesses, higher education, houses of worship and government agencies to create greater awareness and to encourage conversations about race.

We Did It! More than 96,000 Purple Purses Passed to Help Domestic Violence Survivors

By Vicky Dinges
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Allstate

Vicky Dinges

Vicky Dinges

As I reflect on the tireless work of domestic violence advocates across the country, I’m especially proud of our partnership with the YWCA and the growing success of this year’s Purple Purse campaign. Your commitment to making a difference inspired more than 96,000 passes of our real and virtual purple purses and raised $350,000 for YWCA domestic violence services across the country. Even more important, you helped increase public awareness of domestic violence and made a difficult topic easier to talk about. Because of you, more victims have the information they need to break free and stay free from abuse.

It’s Here! Pass the Purse and Join our Week Without Violence

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

October 1 marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – an important time for the YWCA, as two impactful campaigns take place this month to raise awareness of violence of all forms, and bring communities together to find solutions.

Check out this welcome greeting from YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron:

YWCA Missoula Staff Inspired at YWCA USA Annual Conference in D.C.

By Erin Barstow,
YWCA Missoula GUTS! Program Coordinator

Originally published on 6/14/13

The YWCA USA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., encompassed four days of women speakers, presenters and voices. Whether participating in one-on-one networking opportunities or listening to the inspiring speakers, the message was strong and clear: women of the YWCA speak with conviction. Women are daring, dreaming and achieving on such an impressive scale.

I was moved to tears by Ayanna Pressley’s address on “What Women Want: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Violence.” Pressley is a member of the Boston City Council At-Large and is the first woman of color ever elected to the Council. She spoke fervently about how broken girls become broken women, and then the cycle repeats. She encouraged the 400 attendees to embody the word “entitlement,” because “It means I’m strong enough to know what I deserve,” and talked about daring to be herself. I witnessed stories of survival, hope and progress. After her daughter was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Sharon Love started the One Love Foundation to end relationship violence. Commander Zoe Dunning made history fighting for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which excluded gay people from serving openly in armed forces. And Eva Longoria, whose philanthropy and advocacy in the field of racial justice is truly commendable.

Capitol Hill Day 2013: A National Day of Action on Immigration Reform

By Desiree Hoffman
Director of Advocacy, YWCA USA

YWCA Executive Directors, CEOs, Board Members and staff were on Capitol Hill today, advocating for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) that protects the safety, security, and opportunity of immigrant women, girls and their families.

It was a historic year for Capitol Hill Day. This was the highest attendance ever recorded since Hill Day started in 2006, with 288 attendees making their rounds with Senators and Representatives, and a total of 291 visits with Republicans and Democrats alike.  It is truly impressive to have had so many waves of persimmon walking through the halls of Congress, bringing with them a unified message about CIR. Kendra Woodall, Board Member of YWCA Lorain, said: “”I have always wanted to help people and get rid of the injustices in America. Being at the YWCA USA Annual Conference has elevated my interest in immigration reform and politics.”

Welcome, from the 2013 YWCA USA Annual Conference!

By Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Today, we welcome nearly 400 YWCA leaders, advocates, staff and volunteers to Washington, D.C. for our 2013 What Women Want Annual Conference.

For 155 years, the YWCA has literally transformed this nation. The women of the YWCA have been at the forefront of many life-changing social movements in the United States—from the abolition of slavery to voting rights, from civil rights to pay equity, and today, from fair immigration reform to the prevention of violence. On all of these issues, the YWCA influenced outcomes that are a part of the foundation of who we are as a nation.

Why has the YWCA been such a transformative force in the lives of millions of women, girls and families for well over a century? Simply put: We know What Women Want and we do what is needed to get it done! The leaders of the YWCA are among the most talented, passionate and dedicated advocates this country has ever known. The theme of this year’s conference, What Women Want, is truly a testament to the accomplishments of our past, a mantra for the life-changing work we carry out in communities each day and a vision for our future.

What Women Want: A Blog Carnival for Immigration Reform

On June 6, 2013, we’re convening YWCA local associations, immigration reform activists and our national partners to call on Capitol Hill for the passage of comprehensive, common-sense reform with a focus on women, girls and immigrant communities. We’re calling it: “What Women Want: A National Day of Action for Immigration Reform.”

To get ready, read our What Women Want blog carnival, which focused on this question:

What do immigrant women need the most from comprehensive reform?

Check out the posts below, and if you have a post that you’d like to include, email Katie Stanton at kstanton@ywca.org or link to it in the comments below.