This series highlights current fellows in our Georgia Women’s Policy Institute and celebrates the unique perspectives they bring to state policy discussions. Read below to learn about our fellows who work in the nonprofit sector.
We hope you will be inspired by their stories and decide to make your own voice heard!
Bee Nguyen was looking for a way to get involved with public policy advocacy when she learned about the YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s Georgia Women’s Policy Institute (GWPI). As Executive Director of a local nonprofit that helps a vulnerable population of girls, Nguyen plans to use the policy advocacy skills she develops through GWPI to help empower her program participants. Bee states, “I will teach girls how to become advocates for issues that impact their communities.” In a recent report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Georgia received a D- for women’s political participation, proving that getting women and girls involved in the policy process is paramount to creating systemic change. As Bee explains, “This lack of representation drives policy decisions that may not work in the best interest of women.”
Her fellow classmate, Catherine Smith, a long-time advocate, shares those sentiments, saying, “The Georgia General Assembly and local elected officials have a profound impact on our day to day lives…..in many ways male-dominated governing has left women and girls behind (not always intentionally.) The involvement of women and girls is important in order to provide a current and future landscape that addresses the needs of all Georgia citizens.” Catherine is most interested in the intersection of women’s and girls’ health, environmental policy, and economic disparity and looks forward to approaching her future advocacy efforts with broader skills and a deeper understanding of the policymaking process in Georgia.
Another fellow, Andie Tucker, also works for a local nonprofit that provides direct services to homeless individuals. While she describes her work as “rewarding,” Andie also highlights that many of the clients are contending with systemic problems. She explains, “There are days at work where I feel as though I am bandaging a problem instead of fixing it at the root, which is what draws me to advocacy and policy work.” She continues, “Direct services are needed and are immeasurably helpful for the people who receive them, but to tackle causes of problems and create long-term solutions, we need public policy and advocacy in the nonprofit sector.”
As a social justice organization, one of the foundational beliefs of the YWCA is that social problems should be addressed on multiple levels. Direct services are the backbone of many nonprofit organization programs, but we must not forget the key role that public policy advocacy plays in addressing the root causes of systemic issues and creating long-term solutions that impact larger populations.
Advocacy in the nonprofit sector is critical to creating long-term change, but no matter what sector you work in, you have a role to play in changing public policy. Stay tuned to read about our other fellows..
The YWCA is on a mission to improve the lives of women and girls in Georgia through effective public policy through our signature public policy program, the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute (GWPI). GWPI is an innovative, year-long training that teaches 16 fellows from diverse backgrounds how to advocate for and have an impact on legislation that impacts women and girls in our state.