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New York City Council Launches the Young Women’s Initiative To Combat Gender Inequality


Yesterday, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council launched the Young Women’s Initiative. According to the New York City Council, The Young Women’s Initiative is "a multiplatform coalition aimed at supporting young women in New York City and combating chronic racial and gender inequality in outcomes when it comes to healthcare, education, involvement in the justice system and economic development."



The initiative will be co-chair by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ana Oliveira (President & CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation), Joanne Smith (Founder & Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity) and Dr. Danielle Moss Lee (President & CEO of the YWCA of New York City).
“The Young Women’s Initiative is answering the call of so many to prioritize, resource, and invest in young women. This is the first effort in the nation to deeply examine and combat the systemic inequality faced by many young women, and together we will determine how can help transform the lives of young women and girls across the five boroughs. Our young women are the future of New York City - they deserve equity in their education, healthcare, economic opportunity and access to justice. I thank all the organizations and individuals investing in this crucial work and I look forward to the conversations ahead,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The Young Women’s Initiative will focus on five areas over the next six months.

  1. Health: maternal mortality/ morbidity; sexual and reproductive health; chronic conditions; HIV/AIDS; primary care; mental health
  2. Education: early childhood; Pre-K; K-12 outcomes; school climate; afterschool programs; higher education
  3. Economic & Workforce Development: employment readiness; employment opportunity; family-friendly workplace policies; pay equity; financial literacy
  4. Anti-Violence & Criminal Justice: sexual assault; domestic and/or interpersonal violence; experience in the criminal justice system; human trafficking
  5. Self-Sufficiency & Mobility: income supports; childcare; supportive housing; foster care; child welfare
“While criminal and juvenile justice reform is underway across the nation, many cities continue to neglect to consider how these reforms impact girls—particularly girls of color and young transgender women. In an effort to address this critical gap here in New York City, the NYC City Council—led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and a number of community-based organizations—has formed the Young Women's Initiative. The Young Women's Initiative brings an intentional gender focus to current system reforms and, in doing so, provides a rare opportunity for gender justice and equity to be considered in the development and implementation of what I hope will lead to not just system reform but system transformation. The Young Women's Initiative is a chance for policy experts and community leaders to come together and design systems that will advance public safety and support the healing and healthy development of one of New York City’s most precious resources: our girls and young women,” said Rukia Lumumba Director of Youth Programs at CASES.

Photo: The Council Of The City Of New York Office Of Communication

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