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Marching Great Distances: My Family’s Past and Future, and the March on Washington

By Jessica Zetzman on August 29th, 2013

resized Jess Kim MaiI never forget my dad’s birthday; it’s December 31st, and every New Year’s Eve since I can remember we’ve gathered for dinner to celebrate the past year, the hope of the new year, and the accomplishment of my dad for making it to one year older (or one year younger as my dad likes to pretend).   But there is one New Year’s Eve in particular that has stuck with me all of these years: I was very young and my grandparents were in town to celebrate with us. My grandfather was telling stories of my dad as a youngster, and he began laughing that they used to call my dad “Deduct” since he had been born right before the stroke of midnight, giving my grandparents the child tax deduction for the year, just in the nick of time. He also mentioned that my dad was the last baby born that year in Abilene, Texas, and that he’d received gifts and congratulations from the hospital staff.

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We March On: Diversity, Unity & the March on Washington

By Nicole Cozier on August 27th, 2013

MarchOn Saturday morning, I joined a group of colleagues, our family members and friends to create a Washington Area Women’s Foundation contingent for the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. Despite the early hour (I am not a morning person), I was excited and enthusiastic about being able to participate in such an historic event. As we approached the National Mall, it was clear that the excitement and enthusiasm were shared by the many, many other activists who were also there. And as we convened around the reflecting pool to listen to the speakers lined up for the morning’s rally, and had the chance to look around at those with whom we were sharing space and purpose, I was struck by the diversity that surrounded me. Yet, the audience, issues and messages from the speakers created a bizarre contradiction. On many levels we were marching on this day for many of the same rights and issues that our foreparents marched for 50 years before us – equality, access to jobs, etc. Yet, it was apparent that this was not the same movement as it was then. The increased visibility and vocalization of issues affecting women, LGBTQ, Asian American, and Latina/o communities, etc. was a clear indicator that while we have not come as far as we would like, the past 50 years have been significant in creating the space and voice for people from so many different communities to come together to be recognized and heard.

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“I Still Have a Dream:” 50 Years Later, March on Washington Remains Relevant

By Mariah Craven on August 22nd, 2013

MarchonWashingtonAs we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I’ve been re-reading and thinking a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I’m simultaneously in awe of and distressed by the timelessness of the speech. It encompasses feelings and aspirations that far exceed the boundaries of race. But so many of the challenges outlined in the speech are applicable today. I don’t say that to minimize the impact that King or the March on Washington had – but I’m struck by the fact that if you replace the word “Negro” with words like “poor,” or “black,” or “Latino,” or “undocumented” in the text of the speech, it’s still so relevant.

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Why aren’t there more apprenticeships for women?

By Jessica Zetzman on August 13th, 2013

The following post by Zach McDade was originally posted on Metro Trends, a blog maintained by the Urban Institute, a Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner. We applaud the Urban Institute for looking at issues through a gender lens and encourage other organizations and researchers to do the same!

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New Documentary Takes on Women’s Work & Worth

By Mariah Craven on August 6th, 2013

="NYT

Twenty Feet from Stardom, the documentary currently playing in DC-area theaters about backup singers, is on its surface a stereotypical Hollywood tale: ingénue steps into the recording studio seeking fame and fortune, but comes up short – in this case, an achingly close 20 feet short.

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Changing GED Could Mean Greater Barriers for Area Women

By Jessica Zetzman on July 30th, 2013

GEDgirl_courtesyColumbusStateCommunityCollegeI’ve had the amazing opportunity to be a volunteer teacher at Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Grantee Partner, The Academy of Hope, and can speak to the hard work of the learners who step through their doors each day. This innovative organization provides basic education to adult learners. Though most learners have jobs, families and a myriad of other responsibilities that compete for their time, they still make their studies a priority. In spending time with the learners there, I’ve come to see that the value of a GED or high school equivalency diploma goes beyond the increased job opportunities and higher wages associated with obtaining that level of education (though these are extremely important). Their value is also in the confidence gained by the adults who walk across the stage at graduation, in a mother who is more equipped to help her children with their homework, in that member of society who is more prepared for civic engagement and in immeasurably more ways. In January of 2014, however, the GED is undergoing significant changes that will likely make it considerably more difficult to obtain.

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Miss Utah Equal Pay Flub Should Be a Call to Action

By Nicky Goren on June 24th, 2013

miss_utah_questionLast week, the media was buzzing following Miss Utah’s flubbed response at the Miss USA Pageant to a question about pay inequity and women’s rights. The question from judge NeNe Leakes was: “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does it say about society?” Miss Utah (aka Marissa Powell) for all intents and purposes could not answer the question, and under the pressure of the lights and the cameras, vaguely responded with allusions to increased education and job creation. I’ve been fascinated by the coverage of this issue as there appears to be some level of outrage, at least across the media, to the fact that Marissa botched the answer to this question, and of course the commentary about the relative intelligence of beauty pageant contestants has been part of the ribbing. ( I found this media reaction particularly interesting given the fact that, in general, mainstream media does not seem to be aware of or interested in women’s rights issues and reporting on the continued inequality in this country).

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No Joke: The Impact of the Sequester is Devastating Vulnerable Families

By Nicky Goren on June 13th, 2013

Capitol Bldg by Amanda Walker_CCSeems like the word “sequester” has become part of our everyday vernacular here in the DC metro region, so much so that not a day goes by without it coming up in some context. Yet, since its implementation, it feels like the sense of urgency to resolve the impact of the sequester has dissipated. It’s no longer front page news and has become the source of jokes and derision. There was the non-“snowquester” in March; the sparring about what was really behind the cancellations of all White House tours; and the reports about how Congress quickly passed legislation to resolve the impact of the sequester on air travel – just as their week-long recess was beginning (really???). And all the while, critical social services that are helping to meet the needs of our poorest communities are being cut. Programs like Headstart, nutrition assistance, child-care subsidies, and health screenings for low-income women all faced significant cutbacks but without the same sense of outrage or swift action that some of these less consequential outcomes spurred.

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Week of the Young Child: Why We Invest in Early Education

By Mariah Craven on April 16th, 2013

Week-of-Young-Child-2013

To learn more about Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s investments in early care and education, please click here.

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Equal Pay Day: Gender Wage Gap is a Chasm for Women of Color

By Mariah Craven on April 9th, 2013

As we approached Equal Pay Day (April 9th), a number of bloggers and organizations were asked to write about what they’d do with an additional $11,000. That’s how much more the average woman would earn per year if her pay were equal to a man’s.

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