Gender bias remains a persistent force that contributes to the inequities we see in health outcomes for women. Such bias manifests in a variety of ways—from the higher rates of mental illness among women due to gender-based violence to the misdiagnosis of heart disease because doctors are more likely to minimize symptoms felt by women.
To create a gender equal world, we must address the bias that leads to worse health outcomes for women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme asks the world to #BreakTheBias to create a world free of stereotypes and discrimination towards all women.
In New York, the Young Women’s Christian Association of Rochester and Monroe County (YWCA) is helping improve health outcomes for women. Founded in 1884, YWCA is dedicated to combating racism, empowering women, and promoting justice and dignity by providing essential services, advocacy, and education to young, at-risk adults.
YWCA’s programming includes: housing and support to women struggling with substance abuse or homelessness, allowing them to transition from homelessness to stable homes; licensed residential addiction treatment; housing for survivors of domestic violence; health home care management; and racial equity education and advocacy.
To further support their mission of empowering women to regain control of their lives and get on the path to a healthy, successful future, the Foundation granted YWCA $125,000 for their Parents as Teachers (PAT) program.
PAT is a home visiting program that provides culturally respectful, trauma-informed, multi-generational services to at-risk young adults who are pregnant or parenting, including housing and support to women struggling with substance abuse and their families. The program works with the family to make sure children stay on track to achieve developmental milestones and are kindergarten-ready. PAT aims to decrease maternal and infant mortality, improve family wellness, decrease child abuse and neglect, and improve school readiness while indirectly addressing local racial disparities.
The grant funding enabled YWCA to expand their PAT program to roughly 250 participants in Rochester and Monroe counties and funded emergency needs for food, formula, furniture, transportation, and rental assistance to participants.
This International Women’s Day, the Foundation reiterates our commitment to supporting organizations, such as YWCA, who lead efforts to #BreakTheBias and fight for gender equality in New York.
To learn more about YWCA’s efforts, please see their website.