We stand in solidarity with YWCAs in the USA, the UK and across the world that have taken clear positions during this time of social upheaval. Racism is not something restricted to one country and the actions of this weekend in London have highlighted how confident many white racists feel that their views are supported by the majority. They are not.
We fully support the peaceful protests occurring in both the USA, UK and around the world that are campaigning to allocate government resources away from police forces towards social, cultural and economic services that invest in communities of colour. To say this investment is overdue is to make a gross understatement about the structural racism that keeps communities of colour starved of resources. We also want to add our voice to those calling for justice for the black trans women, women and men who have been murdered by the forces that should be serving them and keeping them safe. In addition, we want to add to calls for justice for Belly Mujinga who was spat on during her frontline work at Victoria station (London) during the height of the COVID19 crisis, and subsequently contracted the disease and lost her life.
As the YWCA of Great Britain, we recognise the colonial history of the United Kingdom and the legacy of institutional racism left behind. Many communities, particularly communities of colour are frustrated and disillusioned with British institutions that continue to perpetuate structural racism. On-going hostile immigration policies have produced institutional racism such as the Windrush scandal, which illegally deported British citizens of Caribbean heritage from the UK, without concern for their lives or well-being. Institutional racism affects women of colour across all aspects of society and their lives. Women of colour are arrested and imprisoned at around twice the rate of white women, black women are five times more likely and Asian women twice as likely to die in childbirth compared to white women, and white women are around three times more likely to be professors than black women in British university institutions.
The YWCA is in many ways a product of empire and colonialism. Our global movement was spread by the travels of missionaries and colonial administrators. It is our responsibility as a YWCA, steeped in this history, to take responsibility for doing the work to replace racist legacies, structures and attitudes with ones focused on antiracist and intersectional justice. We are actively aware of the role that structural racism plays in limiting the opportunities available to young women in the UK today. In thinking about programme design and developing our most current programming, we have thought carefully about partnering with and investing in organisations that are being led by women of colour, and that empower young women of colour. We will continue to look for ways to improve our engagement and understanding through our programmes, as well as reflect on the work we need to do within our organisation to further the leadership of women of colour, and advance antiracism.
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Happy World YWCA Day!
Join YWCA leaders around the world using the hashtag #WYD20 and #ThinkShareSpeak on social media, as we come together to think about ways in which we continue working in communities, share good practices and speak up on the challenges we are facing individually and together during this time. It's also an opportunity to brainstorm on how we continue to support women, young women and girls in communities that will face the worst impact of the pandemic.
Every year on April 24th, YWCAs around the world celebrate World YWCA Day. Usually, the day would be marked by gatherings and celebrations, but of course, we can't do that, so like everyone else we've gone digital.
See you online!
YWCA Great Britain trustee meeting this weekend. A day of governance, grant-giving and re-evaluating the way forward! Always a pleasure to work alongside such great women. 2020 - a new decade for an organisation that as it moves into its 165th year continues to empower and inspire!
Congratulations to the newly elected World YWCA board members, including our own co-chair Dr Erica Lewis. The YWCA has made important strategic decisions through World Council 2019 & we look forward to working with the world office & sister YWCAs across the world to achieve them.
We all did it. It was a collective. We couldn’t have done it without the YWCA. YWCA’s sent thousands of messages to us in prison & the YWCA in England sent protestors to Trafalgar Square to protest apartheid. Joyce Piliso-Seroke speaking at World Council 2019.
This 14-20 October marks the Week Without Violence 2019. A global campaign to end the violence against women, young women and girls. Join us for the YWCA Week Without Violence by downloading our Toolkit & visuals in Spanish & French here: http://ow.ly/RIpQ50wBujx
Seeing Greta Thunberg there can be no doubt that young women are transforming power structures. But it’s not just about the young women who catch the world’s attention, but about the work we each do in our communities. Transforming power structures takes mass mobilisation #WYD19
And here, where the YWCA was founded we join with our sisters across the world & as part of the world’s largest women’s movement, call on Heads of State to implement the human rights commitments they have already made to protect women’s rights, to promote gender equality and to ensure that laws designed to eliminate violence against women are upheld.
Today on International #HumanRightsDay , we recognize that women, young women and girls have a critical role to play in shaping our futures. However, they can only do this if they can exercise and enjoy the human rights that their governments have pledged to implement and protect. #youngwomenrise ✊
The YWCA is proud to announce the launch of the World YWCA's new young women's leadership program - She Leads.
She Leads is an on-line course open to every young woman. It covers key topics vital to young women knowing, claiming, and enjoying their human rights:
- ending violence against women & girls,
- sexual & reproductive health & rights, &
- women's economic empowerment.
We're proud that this project has been driven by young women from the movement, and supported by an intergenerational group of women, including our own Co-Chair Erica Lewis.
All 14 lessons are free to access & can be accessed at www.sheleads.org