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About Hoosier Women Speak
The Indiana Commission for Women developed Hoosier Women Speak to identify key issues facing women, understand critical needs women and communities perceive as important, build trust with constituents and build relationships with regional partners.
Between February and May 2011, the first phase, Hoosier INsight, was a series of seventeen regional listening sessions and accompanying online survey that categorized critical issues affecting women regionally and statewide. The facilitated conversations with constituents across Indiana helped to prioritize challenges women face and developed partnerships with key stakeholders to create a coordinated effort to move Indiana women forward.
The issues discussed were narrowed to the top five issues, which were:
Several underlying themes were mentioned consistently across all issues. There was a call for a more collaborative and coordinated effort to address these issues. Agencies, organizations and individuals committed to moving women’s issues forward should network and communicate with each other to find common ground and support women more effectively and efficiently. There was a general sense of a lack of knowledge about where to find resources. Many agencies and organizations are already providing the programs and services women need. Women just don’t know where to find them. So, more coordination in providing women with information, tools, resources, and opportunities to participate was needed.
There was recognition of women’s responsibility to be engaged in public discourse on any issue directly affecting them. Women should be encouraged to participate in finding real solutions and should be given the opportunity to be heard. They need the tools, resources and information to make informed decisions and be effective in advocating for their own needs. There was a general sense that these issues were not necessarily limited to only one gender. Men must be engaged in meaningful and positive conversations about issues that are not just women’s issues. They are family issues. They are community issues. They are economic issues.Once the findings were compiled, a follow-up debrief meeting was held simultaneously in six locations with community leaders and interested individuals in November 2011. These gatherings continued the work towards completing a community-wide plan with measurable and obtainable action steps. The compiled report serves as a guide for next steps in mobilizing stakeholders from all sectors to find positive, meaningful and lasting solutions to challenges impacting the lives of women in Indiana.
In July 2012, the Indiana Commission for Women took an important step by conducting an additional listening session for Richmond/Wayne County. By continuing Hoosier Women Speak, ICW recognizes there may be issues unique to specific demographic groups or geographic regions. Through the initial Hoosier INsight project, several demographic groups were identified for future supplemental Hoosier Women Speak reports. They include, but are not limited to: ex-offenders, girls, immigrant women, minority women, rural women, senior women and women veterans.
These discussions can begin a process that engages women and community stakeholders in identifying challenges women face and positive solutions to those challenges. The results can contribute to a better understanding of women's specific needs, to better communication of those needs and to better recognition of ways to remove barriers. They can also assist in informing leaders at the local, county and state levels of important challenges affecting women both regionally and statewide, in expanding coalitions and in building capacity to work across networks to improve outreach efforts.
If your community or group is interested in scheduling someone from ICW to present the Hoosier Women Speak findings or in hosting a listening session, please contact the Indiana Commission for Women at (317) 232-6720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual Listening Session Reports:
Hoosier INsight Listening Sessions and Capacity Building Full Compilation Report and Appendices
If you have questions or would like more information on the project, please contact Kristin Svyantek Garvey at email@example.com or 317-232-6720.