Washington Area Women's Foundation

Drop in teen pregnancy rates shows power of investing in women and girls.

According to today’s Washington Post, there’s good news to celebrate for our region’s women and girls–a declining teen pregnancy rate over the past decade.

In Washington, D.C., Arlington and Prince George’s County, teen pregnancy and birth rates have markedly declined–along with those around the nation–and have inspired hope that programs aimed at young people–and especially young women–are working.

A few take-aways from the article:

  • Investing in issues that impact women and girls works.  For everyone.
  • To be effective, efforts require a unified effort across communities.
  • Investing in messages and work that protects the health and well-being of women and girls does inspire marked behavior change.
  • Efforts to truly impact diverse communities, such as Latinas, where rates are, unfortunately, still rising, requires approaches that view challenges, problems and program design through a culturally appropriate lens.
  • Providing information and access to health care to young women leads to wise decision-making.

In all, a very hopeful picture about the power of investing in women and girls.

But there still remains much work to be done, particularly in our region.  In Montgomery County, teen birth rates crept up this summer.  Alexandria’s teen birthrate increased over the past decade, and experienced only a minimal decline in its teen pregnancy rate.  Rates among Latinas are rising.

Overall, however, a hopeful picture of how investing in programs, messages and people that improve the health and well-being of women and girls does lead to positive change that impacts not only those women and girls, but their families and entire community.

A great message to carry with me as I prepare for Thursday’s Leadership Awards meeting, where a group of volunteers who have been working for the past few months to evaluate and learn more about innovative, effective nonprofits that are impacting the health and safety of our region’s women and girls, will award eight of them with a Leadership Award of up to $10,000.

The news from this article is a great note on which to finish up our efforts this year–and to remember that the decisions we make about how we invest our money, and the organizations and issues that we support, do have a defining impact on the health of our community.

It’s nice to have a voice in work that’s really making a difference.

The Leadership Awards committee is just one of many ways that you can be involved in the work of changing women’s lives through The Women’s Foundation.  Learn more.

  • Jamille Collins

    I believe that therer should be more programs investing in young women to increase the decline of teen prgnancy.

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