On Thursday, November 8, the Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) of the WFWM Young Women’s Initiative attended the Hampden County regional chapter of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women public hearing with WFWM program manager, Christine Monska. The hearing was an introduction in policy advocacy for the YWAC team. During the hearing, a variety of issues were discussed including poverty, food deserts, pubic safety, and sexism.
Several of our YWAC members testified before the Commission about issues they face in Springfield. Maya S. spoke about the need for access to healthy foods, and making sure that schools have gardens and educational tools to foster better health outcomes for their students. Other YWAC members testified about the need for sex and sexuality education in schools, and a more equitable dress code that does not discriminate based on gender, race, body type, or religious identity. Chinaly gave an account of one of her peers being sent home from school because of a rip in her jeans that was located on her kneecap. Additional testimony was given by a young woman who was concerned about sexual harassment that occurs in her school. She reported that she told a teacher, administrator, and guidance counselor, but nothing was done about the incident.
After their testimony, the Commissioners gave the young women advice on how to push their agendas forward and have their voices heard. One of our YWAC members, Maya C., was asked to join the Commissioners at the State House when they advocate for comprehensive sex education in schools.
We’re so proud of the members of this year’s Young Women’s Initiative and can’t wait to see what they do next!