On Thursday, February 27th, 2014 the Carnegie Institute of Science near DuPont in Washington, DC came to life as the members and supporters of the Women’s Information Network (WIN, a non-profit, professional network, for pro-choice, democratic women) poured in. It was the night of one of WIN’s signature events, the Young Women of Achievement of awards! This award ceremony celebrates young (35 years old and younger), pro-choice, democratic women in the community who are champions for change in their respective fields.
There is a sense of excitement and energy in the air, as the YWA (Young Women of Achievement) nominees and the WIN members network, exchange numbers and reflect on past events at which they may have met. Male supporters mingle as well, some of them work in the reproductive justice field and some of them are the significant others, friends or supporters of WIN members and nominees. Out of all the events hosted by WIN, this is the one that typically gets the largest male attendance.
Once the awards began, opening statements by the WIN members who played major roles in organizing the event, reverent allusions to Wendy Davis (did you know that she had a catheter inserted for the entirety of the filibuster?) were made, and some cracks at anti-choice, anti-gay marriage politicians ensued. The keynote speaker, Neera Tanden, who is the president of the Center for American Progress, began by saying, “I didn’t know about WIN back then and just to know that there’s a group out there that provides mentorship and fights for the progressive cause and all different kind of women, is great!” and ended by reiterating how excited she was to “be among so many women who will change the world and hopefully, change Washington in the process.”
Karen Mulhauser, the founder of the Women’s Information Network, spoke of WIN’s humble beginnings- meetings held around her kitchen table, and how proud she was of the organization and all the women in it that have fostered its growth and created change in DC, and our country as a whole. In a room full of pro-choice, democratic women who credit the WIN network, and the relationships they made through WIN, for their jobs, sanity and ability to navigate DC; Karen was venerated as a feminist idol. Everyone hung on to Karen’s words, and snaps of approval were heard as she declared, in her characteristically unassuming manner, “This is, really, the best leadership building organization in this town” and emphasized how important it is that WIN fosters leadership, including her own, in a “safe environment” (as if being invited to speak at the event was a privilege she didn’t expect- even though WIN’s existence is a direct result of her personal effort to build a mentorship program to connect older, second-wave feminists, with the younger generation of third-wave feminists in DC!).
Then, the presentation of awards began! For more information on all of the candidates, visit WIN’s Pinterest page for YWA 2014 (click here to be directed)! The following were the winners, and their twitter handles by category:
Community Organizing and Labor
- Twitter handle: @hemlyMO
- Twitter handle: @KeziaMW
- Twitter Handle: @atima_omara
Political and Campaign
- Twitter handle: @dsferiozzi
Service and Non Profit Advocacy
- Twitter handle: @BridgetteH
- Twitter handle: @OlaOjewumi
Women in Choice
- Twitter handle: @ayarmosky