Women's Fund of Rhode Island

Imogene Johnson
My time as an intern at Women’s Fund of Rhode Island has been full of learning experiences. Above all, I’ve learned the power and importance of volunteers. Between studying political science and attending a historically women’s college, I have always been passionate about gender equity. I was so excited to apply this passion to the incredible work WFRI does, and my internship has been even more engaging and educational than I anticipated. What I did not know when I started, though, is just how many and just how passionate Rhode Islanders are about gender equity too.
Kylie Lynn
In today’s modern world, American women still contend with substantial gender pay gaps. Rhode Island Women’s Well-Being Index reveals that women make up 64% of the workforce in the lowest-paying jobs in Rhode Island alone. These gaps aren’t exclusive to just the state – female employees across America suffer lifetime wage losses, and the disparities are even more significant in women of color: White women have around $451,300 of lifetime wage loss, Asian women around $607,100, Black women around $997,000, and Latina women around $1,213,700. It’s imperative that all women get equity in the workplace, primarily since 70% of American households with children rely on the woman’s income. What's more, women bear most of the responsibility of home maintenance and caregiving at home – all while holding jobs. As such, they should be valued as capable professionals.
Caylin Luebeck
Content Warning: Rape. On March 26th, 2021, a new bill was introduced in the Rhode Island State Legislative. Bill 249 would create the “criteria for the criminal offense of sexual assault when the victim is in the custody of a peace officer.” This begs several questions: how often are these so-called peace officers sexually assaulting those in custody? Is this a widespread issue that has gone unnoticed? And who is a peace officer?
Carol Smith
It’s no secret that girls and young women face more of an uphill climb compared to their male counterparts, particularly with speaking up and being heard.  And everyone suffers a psychological toll when they feel silenced, but especially children.  They are still learning and shaping their world.  Behaviors are internalized and patterns are established.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure that girls and young women know that they have the right to be heard.  Even if the very people in her life, intentionally or unintentionally, communicate to her that it’s not so.  After all, those same oppressive, societal patterns were present when their mothers or female role models were growing up.
Cathy Nestrick
The world will celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, 2021, by choosing to challenge for a more gender-equal world. Women have had the right to vote for 100 years, but according to the World Economic Forum, we will not achieve workplace parity for another 100 years. Waiting 100 years for fairness and an equal playing field is not an acceptable solution. Together, we can and should choose to challenge as we strive towards workplace parity.
Cendy Moliere
Sexual harassment and other discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion are crimes. Title VII in the Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination, including harassment, based on those attributes in every state. But even though sexual harassment and discrimination are illegal, they still happen. If you have experienced sexual harassment at your workplace, you can file a complaint with your state labor board, and you can also file a Federal Complaint with the EEOC.
Aysia Morton
"Difficult" doesn't begin to sum up the years 2020 and 2021— it's the black mirror season that doesn't seem to end. Covid-19, especially, has devastated every border, and no one, creed or color, has been able to escape it. Though suffering has been universal, this pandemic has not been equitable—women, especially women of color, have suffered most. The virus disproportionately claims their lives, and economic hardship, already imposed by systemic inequalities and structural racism, has increased during the pandemic. Black families, mainly led by women, have reported severe financial troubles.
Kelly Nevins, CEO of Women's Fund of Rhode Island
Were Lt. Governor McKee to ask for our recommendation for his replacement, we would tell him to ensure that a qualified woman and/or person of color be selected. Our goal should always be to achieve gender and racial equity for all elected and appointed positions within our state.
Hannah Baker
“What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful, and your voice matters. You’re going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you’ve had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong.” -Kamala Harris
Brynn McGlinchey
I first learned about the work of Women’s Fund of Rhode Island last spring while reading an article about their work advocating in favor of Senate bill S2183, which would have required many public schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in bathrooms. As a public health major with a strong interest in women’s health and public policy, I was drawn immediately to WFRI’s mission of working towards gender equity through systemic change. During my internship over the past seven months, I have learned so much about the importance of intersectionality when advocating for gender equity, especially within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.