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New Research on Women & Girls in Western MA

The Women’s Fund is commissioning a new research report to analyze the status of women and girls in Western Massachusetts using an intersectional gender lens to ensure that the voices of all women are heard and reflected in community profiles.

The need for this research is urgent, evidenced by the recent experiences of participants in our Young Women’s Initiative as they worked together to identify the barriers to their success here in Western Massachusetts. When conducting research on ways to address these barriers, they struggled to find information pertaining to their shared experiences as young women of color with varying abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. They found that in the existing data pertaining to women and girls, often those who are pushed to the margins, are not heard.

The lack of inclusive data means many funders and advocates are designing and implementing programs that are not addressing the needs of all women and girls in our communities. Thus, this research report is imperative to the community and state as a whole.

The newly commissioned research will report on the status of women in girls in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. A research team is expected to be selected this month with a completed report anticipated in the spring of 2019. By analyzing specific indicators to measure women and girls’ empowerment, we will better understand the areas in which our region is falling behind on or succeeding in when compared to the rest of the state and country. The Women’s Fund will use this research to inform our programmatic and grantmaking strategy and expects that many women and girl-serving organizations will do the same as we all work together toward gender equity.

Stay tuned to learn more about how individuals, organizations and the greater community can help foster and benefit from this project.