In Celebration of Women’s History Month, Brownieland features The Atlanta Women’s Foundation with a Guest Blog Post by Kate Balzer

March is Women’s History Month, a national celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. Being a woman-owned business, Brownieland understands how important it is to support organizations that empower women. We couldn’t think of a more perfect example than The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF). As the only public foundation in Georgia dedicated solely to women and girls, AWF strives to ensure that all women and girls in metro Atlanta live safe, economically self-sufficient, successful lives. Throughout March, AWF held various events acknowledging the accomplishments of women and girls in our community and beyond. 

Learn more in this guest blog post written by AWF’s Director of Communications, Kate Balzer.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and progress of women who have and continue to pave the way for others while also recognizing that women and girls continue to face economic, gender, and racial barriers that often intersect. At The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF), our Women’s History Month theme was “Choose to Challenge” and focused on how we can challenge the barriers we face as individuals and the systemic barriers women and girls in our community face.

As the only public foundation in Georgia dedicated solely to women and girls, AWF’s mission is to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls. We strive to ensure that all women and girls in metro Atlanta live safe, economically self-sufficient, successful lives.

While progress has been made, there is much work to be done, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on women. The economic and social barriers women faced prior to the pandemic have only been exacerbated. The unemployment rate for Georgia women has doubled from 3 percent before the pandemic to 6 percent and, as of December 2020, 1 in 4 child care providers remained closed, which impacts women’s ability to work. 

However, when we, as a community, choose to challenge these barriers, progress can be made for women and their families. 

Through our initial round of COVID-19 relief funding this past summer, over 3,200 women living at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines had access to housing and shelter, financial assistance, healthcare, or employment opportunities. AWF also funded scholarships for working moms while their children attend academic support programs for virtual learning.

This spring, our goal is to build off the success of our COVID-19 relief fund and continue to support the needs of our nonprofit grantees and the women and girls they serve. The 2021 Rebuilding Women Initiative will provide even more local women and girls living in poverty with access to mental and physical healthcare, as well as vaccine education. More women will receive mortgage relief, rent, utilities, and grocery assistance to prevent homelessness. Women will have access to safe, quality childcare so they can keep their jobs. Women and girls will have safe shelter so they will not be in danger of abuse or other harm. 

Now is a great time to learn more and get involved with AWF! We recently launched our affinity group virtual event All Women Forward. AWF’s affinity groups are an opportunity for women in specific industries to gather together in support of AWF and our mission. Currently, the affinity groups are Women in Finance, Women in Healthcare, Women in Law and Women in S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math). This year’s featured speaker is Sarah Hurwitz, former chief speech writer for First Lady Michelle Obama and author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning Spirituality. The virtual event will take place on May 19, 2021 and is open to all women (and men), no matter your profession. Tickets available on the AWF website.

Change is never easy, but if we work together as a community change is always achievable.

We’re choosing to challenge the barriers women and girls face. Will you join us? 

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