Young Women's Equity Coalition
A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program for Young BIPOC Women in Rhode Island
OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2023
ONE SATURDAY PER MONTH
JANUARY - MAY 2024
TWO SATURDAYS PER MONTH
What is YWEC?
The Young Women's Equity Coalition (YWEC)* is a 7-month training and mentoring program that prepares BIPOC young women in Rhode Island to assume power in society and be champions of equity, inclusion and anti-racism in their future communities and workplaces.
The YWEC participant group consists of high-school-age young women in Rhode Island who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Over the course of the year, participants build solidarity with one another, gain confidence and marketable skills in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work, and form one-on-one relationships with accomplished BIWoC Mentors who are already seasoned champions of equity.
Why is this Coalition important?
We created YWEC in response to unjust and long-standing disparities in pay and professional leadership opportunities for women of color in Rhode Island, with a belief that the growing field of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion offers a systemic way to address these gaps. More and more job openings, both locally and nationally, are emphasizing experience in DEI work, and we want RI’s interested Black, Indigenous and POC young women to fill these positions—a new generation of diverse women leaders advocating for inclusive and anti-racist workplaces while building generational power and wealth in the process.
To help this become a reality, we aim to establish the Young Women’s Equity Coalition as the signature DEI training program and mentoring network for BIPOC young women in Rhode Island. YWEC will generate awareness and excitement about DEI work, provide invaluable pre-professional training and peer support for BIPOC young women in our state, and build an intergenerational community with adult BIWoC mentors who serve as personal and career role models.
What is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion?
That's a lot of what we'll be discussing this year! But to get started, here are some working definitions written by a group of equity professionals:
Diversity - psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.
Equity - the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all members of a community, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
Inclusion - the act of creating involvement, environments and empowerment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate with equal access to opportunities and resources embrace differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.
(And, just for good measure, let's add one more...)
Anti-racism - the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.
What do YWEC participants do?
MEET one Saturday per month in the fall; and two Saturdays a month in the spring
GAIN firsthand exposure to exciting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work, and start to build a DEI knowledge base
DEVOTE time outside meetings to YWEC assignments + projects
CONNECT with a BIWoC Mentor who is already engaged in the work
COMPLETE an impactful, yearlong DEI Independent Project with the support of your mentor
ATTEND presentations from YWEC Mentors each month at the Saturday sessions
BECOME informed and motivated to end leadership and pay disparities for BIPOC women in Rhode Island
ADD new training and experience to college and job applications
FORM a diverse and cohesive community of women who can provide professional and personal guidance in the years ahead
What do YWEC Mentors do?
MENTOR between one and three high school age participants
CONNECT with mentees for at least 2 hours of self-scheduled check-ins per month (Zoom, phone, text, e-mail, etc.)
SHARE stories, advice and insight about fighting for diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism in a professional context
PROVIDE guidance and support as mentees design and complete a yearlong DEI Independent Project
WELCOME our new participants and give a personal introduction at the YWEC Mentor Mingle in November
CELEBRATE participants' accomplishments at our YWEC Independent Project Showcase and Graduation in May
LEAD a two-hour session during one of our monthly YWEC meetings
JOIN our new YWEC network and help it grow for years to come!
2022-2023 Mentor Team
2023-2024 YWEC Schedule
For youth participants, YWEC meets one Saturday per month in the fall; and two Saturdays per month in the fall from 10am to 2pm. See full schedule below.
Mentors are asked to attend the Mentor Mingle on 11/18 from 12pm-2pm and 12/9 from 12pm-2 pm, and then select one other session during the year for their Mentor Visit with the full group.
October 21, 2023: Start of YWEC, 10am - 2pm
November 18, 2023: 10am - 2pm (Mentor Mingle: 12pm - 2pm)
December 9, 2023: 10am - 2pm (Mentor Mingle: 12pm - 2pm)
January 13 and January 27, 2024: 10am - 2pm
February 10 and February 24, 2024: 10am - 2pm
March 9 and March 23, 2024: 10am - 2pm
April 6 and April 20, 2024: 10am - 2pm
May 11, 2024: YWEC Graduation (Time: TBD)
How do I get involved?
MENTEES: Interested in being a part of the 2023-2024 YWEC Program? Click here.
MENTORS: Interested in being a part of the 2023-2024 YWEC Mentor Team? Click here.
Thanks to our supporters!
A major thank you to the Women's Fund of Rhode Island, who believed in this program and provided us the support to make it possible. We are grateful for your commitment to advancing justice and equity for BIPOC womxn of all ages in Rhode Island!