Founder’s Note: Edition 1
“Compromise brings harmony to both, happiness to none.” – Amit Kalantri
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Engage newsletter, The Thread. Engage is a non-profit rooted in the truth that women outnumber, outvote, and outlive men.(TM) Our mission is to promote American women’s economic security and advocate for bipartisan solutions. Wherever I have found you, I sincerely hope you are healthy and vaccinated – or that you have been able to make an appointment to receive your vaccine.
Women are the deciders of elections, but so many of us – even if we vote – are disengaged from discussions of policy and politics in our daily lives. We are turned off by extreme positions, constant campaigning, mean-spirited rhetoric, and the lack of commonsense solutions and compromise from our elected leaders. However, if women do decide elections, shouldn’t we be able to have more of an impact on the political agenda? How can we make that happen? And then, of course, how does each of us in our very busy lives find time and energy to spend on politics – and, more importantly, what organization is worth our time and can actually make a positive change?
These are the very questions that motivate and inspire those of us working for Engage and why we hope you will be compelled to join us in a new women’s movement for the 21st century whose guiding principle is coming together around real economic security solutions for all American women.
We live in a time with unparalleled access to news and information. There are multitudes of options for consuming political discussions, and yet our collective frustration and division have never been more intense. Given this tension – coupled with lives stressed by financial concerns, parenting demands, mental health challenges, and the pressure of caregiving for loved ones – is it any wonder women are turned off by policy and politics?
Engage created The Thread to provide women with the type of information I hope they will find useful and stimulating. In this edition, you will read about an issue of criminal justice reform from Priya Sarathy Jones, a brilliant woman leading the charge against harmful identification policies that more often than not severely disadvantage communities of color and low-income communities. Priya is a good friend of Engage, and I’m honored to introduce you to her.
Further down, Engage’s Policy Director, Sophie Evans, writes an analysis of the, frankly, scary reality of women retiring into poverty. With millions of women falling below the poverty line each year, it demands our attention. Sophie joined Engage in early 2021 while en route to a PhD in international history and conflict analysis. We are lucky she has decided to share her keen intellect and talents developing policy for Engage for the time being. Hopefully, that PhD can wait a very long time.
Finally, you will be introduced to our first Engage Woman, Laura Valentine, who is Engage’s Chief of Staff. She has been with Engage since the beginning, and we would not be here without her. Plus, she is a really cool gal, and if anyone can help me introduce her to Stevie Nicks, I would be grateful.
My intention is for The Thread to shed light on complicated issues, inform with reliable facts, and offer some optimism that there are solutions to the challenges that face American women and their families. Engage commissioned a survey of 2,500 women in October of 2020, which found that 90 percent of women say they would support candidates who reach across the divide to solve societal issues. The features below are examples of elected officials doing their jobs and finding the compromise.
Somehow, we have to find a way to live together. Women, let’s Engage around our economic security in order to compel elected officials to address our economic challenges. It won’t guarantee our happiness, but it may give us a passing shot at harmony and an America that more fully realizes its potential.
Please join us – you can sign up for this newsletter and other information on Engage’s activity here. You can also reach out to me directly at my email below. I want to hear from you!