Ms. Foundation promises fierce feminism at annual fundraiser

Vineyard talk will take on new report about justice failing to ‘trickle down.’

Theresa Younger delivers a speech at a Ms. Foundation reception in 2014. She will be returning to the Vineyard for the foundation's annual event. — Photo by Bella Bennett

West Tisbury is scheduled to become a feminist heartland on August 15 from 5 to 7 pm, when the Ms. Foundation returns to Martha’s Vineyard for its fourth annual fundraiser at the Grange Hall.

Created in 1973 by feminist revolutionaries Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Marlo Thomas, and Patricia Carbine, this organization has a rock-solid foundation from which it reaches to provide support for women nationwide. The foundation’s mission statement is dedicated to equality: “We believe in a just and safe world where power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, disability, or age. We believe that equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of a true democracy in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued.”

The foundation strives to achieve this goal by advocating for national and state policy changes and providing support to more than 100 grassroots organizations.

The upcoming event will center on a conversation between Teresa Younger, Ms. Foundation’s president and CEO since 2014, and Carol Jenkins, an Emmy awardwinning television journalist, advocate for women’s rights, and founding president of the Women’s Media Center.

As the foundation describes it, “the program will be a fierce, feminist conversation about race, gender, justice, and intersectional impact on the lives of women of color. The discussion, based on our new report “Justice Doesn’t Trickle Down,” released in partnership with the Roosevelt Institute, promises to be thought-provoking and energizing.” Susan Dickler, a seasonal West Tisbury resident and Ms. Foundation board chair, will greet guests prior to the event.

The “Justice Doesn’t Trickle Down” report is a project right at the heart of Ms. Foundation’s mission. As the report summary states, “Among all social groups in the United States, women of color experience some of the starkest disparities, inequities, and injustices across nearly every social and economic indicator. Compared with white women, women of color have higher levels of unemployment and poverty; they have significantly less wealth; they are more likely to be targeted by and come in contact with the criminal justice system; they are at a much higher risk, regardless of their income or education, of dying as a result of pregnancy and of losing their children in infancy; they are less likely to own a home and more likely to have high-risk mortgages when they do own a home; they are less likely to attend college and, when they do, tend to carry heavier student debt burdens.

“In recent years, some progressive political leaders have suggested that improving economic conditions for women — by increasing the minimum wage, instituting paid family leave and paid sick leave, and expanding affordable childcare — will create the rising tide that will lift all boats. In partnership with the Ms. Foundation, this paper illustrates why addressing these issues alone will not be sufficient to improve opportunities and outcomes for women, and particularly for women of color.”


Read about Teresa Younger’s first trip to Martha’s Vineyard here.