“We start with the knowledge that our fight is not yet over” is the message embedded into the Ms. Foundation for Women, not only on the about page of their website, but also through the work that they have been doing: helping empower women across the nation in advancing women’s rights and justice—economic equity, job equality, and reproductive health access. Recognizing these fundamental rights, this foundation aims to support organizations across the country working towards them, especially those advocating through the grassroots level.
Some of the foundation’s most notable support efforts have been through the form of grants. Currently, it provides funding to over 100 organizations, which advocate for many issues, including reproductive health, affordable childcare, and quality childcare jobs. One of its ongoing initiatives is called the Ms. Foundation Public Voices Fellowship. Initiated by the Op-Ed Project, a group of 19 grantees is provided resources and training to expand and shape their ideas of reproductive health and economic justice in American society, especially in the realm of gender.
The website provides annual financial reports and several other material resources for anyone with a computer (and a passion for women’s rights) to access. These include reports detailing challenges faced by women in various workforces — particularly childcare providers — as well as movements to earn livable wages and job advancements.
Every year, the foundation hosts the Gloria Gala Awards, named after one of the “founding mothers” of the foundation, Gloria Steinem. The most recent one held on May 3rd, 2017, named “Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision,” honored former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Women’s March national co-chairs, and Ms. Foundation grantees. The goal of the awards is to recognize all those who have made advancements in gender equality and justice. This year’s Women of Vision Honoree, Tannia Esparza, is from Young Women United (YWU), a grantee-partner. YWU is an organization in New Mexico dedicated to leading community initiatives for women and people of color.
In reaching the public, the hashtag #MyFeminismIs has spread through social media. The main objective of the hashtag is to create an image of feminism in an inclusive and intersectional way—that is to expand feminism into multiple intersecting identities, which recognizes the rights of ALL women and the oppression they may face based on race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. To expand the hashtag, the foundation recorded interviews with over 40 participants, including many notable leaders: “TV host Melissa Harris-Perry, comedian, and co-creator of the Daily Show Lizz Winstead, President and CEO of the Victory Fund Aisha Moodie-Mills and former NFL Football Player and LGBT Advocate Wade Davis.” Participants were asked to describe the significance of feminism, why they believe in it, and how they think intersectional feminism should look.
This foundation provides a crucial outlet for the recognition and funding of many major organizations across the U.S. that have a unifying objective of advocating for equality and justice for all women. It is crucial to support these organizations, especially through means of both participating and donating.