Women’s March Foundation: new initiatives and impact

Remember when an estimated 5 million people took to the streets on January 21, 2017 to support gender equality, civil rights and other issues that were to face challenges after Donald Trump was elected? The protest, known as Women’s March 2017, launched the Women’s March Foundation, which works for gender equality and, more broadly, equity for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity. gender identity or sexuality.

WMF’s mission is always urgent; in fact, some research suggests that progress towards gender equality has slowed in recent years. But the world has changed significantly since 2017, and the pandemic has made it difficult to gather safely in large groups. How does a foundation committed to the idea of ​​women taking to the streets remain relevant in this environment?

WMF has launched a new project, the Feminist Street Initiative, to rename the streets for women whose efforts have impacted the world. The organization will work to rename the streets after figures such as Maya Angelou, Dolores Huerta, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sojourner Truth and Wilma Mankiller.

With this initiative, the organization serves as an example of how associations can find ways to keep their mission front and center even when the action for which they are best known has faded from the public eye.

Adapt to today’s environment

Needless to say, when gathering in large groups is seen as a health hazard, the tactics of organizations like WMF need to change, at least temporarily.

Rather than wait out the pandemic, the organization found a new way to make the presence of women felt on the streets and communities across the country, this time on a permanent basis. According to the WMF website, the initiative to rename the streets is a direct response to the pandemic.

“COVID has forced us off the streets, but this initiative will help secure our legacy for time immemorial, Emiliana Guereca, Founder and President of WMF, said in a statement.

Find new places to be heard

In looking for new ways to make an impact, WMF came across a perhaps unnoticed consequence of gender inequality: of the approximately 240 million road segments in the United States, the foundation says that approximately three quarters are named after men and very few are named after women.

Additionally, in a study of seven major cities around the world, researchers reported that only 27.5% of streets surveyed were named after women. By exploring new ways to effect change, WMF found another place where women were underrepresented.

“It’s almost like we don’t exist, like we’re not part of the story. So we aim to change that,” Guereca said in an interview with list.

Take advantage of virtual communities

Since WMF has been unable to organize in person, it has launched the Feminist Street Initiative spreading the word to its online community, which will have a real impact on the streets the protesters have occupied. in the name of gender equality.

Now, after encouraging Guereca to post suggestions online for more women to be featured, the organization has reportedly received dozens of requests for streets to be named after more notable women.

“This is what our trajectory looks like: from taking to the streets to renaming the streets,” Guereca said.

(Zbynek Pospisil/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

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