By Lynn Yeakel
Over the past year, two Women's Marches, #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought about a new wave of women's activism that is exciting and hopeful. If that momentum is to result in lasting change, it is essential that we work together on strategies to reach shared goals.
“We can march and take to the streets and yell about all the stuff we want to change, but unless we’re getting people elected to office who are going to make those changes, we’re not really doing anything,” said Lindsey Kanaly in a recent New York Times piece that underscores the need for unity among women’s organizations. Kanaly coordinated the 2017 women’s march in Oklahoma City and is now a board member of March On, a group of Women’s March organizers who branched out to take their activism to the next level.
Vision 2020 connects and convenes individuals and organizations that have joined our national coalition, using a model of collective impact, to coordinate activities in specific areas to achieve women's equality.
Partnerships and alliances are critical components of collective impact. Three current examples of Vision 2020’s collective impact activities are:
1. Mobilizing the women’s vote in 2020. We are glad to see this year's Women's Marches focusing on the importance of voting in 2018; our focus is on 2020. Following its first National Congress in 2010, the Vision 2020 coalition set national goals for the decade. Now, we are just two years away from 2020 and Vision 2020's Women 100, a year-long celebration of 100 years of women's voting rights. What’s also taking place that year is the next presidential election in the U.S. Sharing a commitment to honor the hard work of the suffragists, Vision 2020 has convened a number of its Allied Organizations to form a group dedicated to educating, registering and mobilizing women across America to vote in record numbers in 2020. And by record numbers, we mean 100 percent! With nearly 85 percent of all our allies having programming related to civic engagement, the Vision 2020 voting goal group is being led by the Association of Junior Leagues International.
2. Bringing 50/50 Day to young adults across the country. This year on April 26, Let It Ripple – a Vision 2020 ally – will host the second 50/50 Day, a global day of gender equality that saw enormous success in 2017. In recent talks with our colleagues at Let It Ripple, we mentioned that one of our large, national allies had expressed interest in their program. That ally is the National PanHellenic Conference, an umbrella organization of sororities across college campuses. We connected the two organizations and look forward to helping bring the important 50/50 Day discussions to young women and men across the country this spring.
3. Helping one of our newest allies educate the public about female trailblazers. As you will see in Vision 2020’s January newsletter, one of our new Allied Organizations is UNLADYLIKE, which currently is producing documentary shorts on little-known female trailblazers that will be released in the year 2020 to honor the 19th Amendment centennial. On a recent call with their national organizers, we realized that several of Vision 2020’s allies that participate in our Youth Education Initiative – such as Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls on the Run – could help UNLADYLIKE reach and educate children through their films. Another plan is to distribute UNLADYLIKE films and toolkits to our Delegates across the country to host screenings and discussions related to women history-makers in their own states. We look forward to developing these plans!
To achieve gender parity sooner rather than later, the power of partnerships cannot be overstated.