Convening of Statewide Women's Organizations to Develop Collaborative Network
Following the elimination of the state's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in 2016, a convening of women's organizations from across the state was held in September to envision and plan next steps to advance gender equity in Connecticut.
|Wendy Mota Kasongo, Director of Diversity and Accessibility at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.|
Following the elimination of the state's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year, a convening of women's organizations from across the state was held in September to envision and plan next steps to advance gender equity in Connecticut.
Organized by the Community Fund for Women & Girls, the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Aurora Foundation for Women and the CT National Organization for Women, more than 30 organizations supporting women and girls from all parts of the state were represented at the meeting.
"It was a very productive and very focused meeting," says Wendy Mota Kasongo, Director of Diversity and Accessibility at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "I was impressed with how diverse experiences and opinions were heard, valued and expressed."
One outcome from the meeting was the first draft of a five-year vision statement, making a collective commitment to address barriers to economic security, educational opportunity, health and safety and leadership opportunities, particularly to women of color. Shared goals include wage equity, mandated paid family leave and a greater representation of women in leadership roles.
The plan to accomplish these goals includes frontline organizations in the state actively promoting the experiences of individual women with gender-based inequity and inequality, as well as data-driven studies and position papers, to influence culture change throughout government and the private sector.
"I was delighted and hopeful in seeing the various organizations come together and share how they could collaborate with others to further their impact on the status of women," says Cheri Brooks, who attended the convening as a representative of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., New Haven Chapter. "The movement moves on. In light of recent events on the national level, it will be imperative that we come together so that none of our issues will be pushed aside."
A second meeting is planned for December. "There is a genuine and increased effort to recruit and attract women leaders from diverse experiences, cultural backgrounds, physical abilities and professional skill set to these meetings and discussions," Mota Kasongo added. "I hope that the dialog on organization, resource sharing and concerns turns into tangible outcomes that will ultimately impact the populations we serve in Connecticut."