I identify as a woman and this is important because as a woman, I am keenly aware that the interconnectedness between gender, health disparities, economic disparities, and the victimization of women, often reveals the undeniable oppression of women.
I support The Women’s Bakery, and have done so for a couple of years, because TWB engages in work that improves the lives of people. During my social work training I had the opportunity to work with refugees resettling in Denver and was attune to the effects of lack of opportunity, especially for women. I saw the direct effect of gender oppression in the women I worked with, as many of them were survivors of rape, a common form of warfare. Since then, I’ve sought to work towards the empowerment of women, realizing that women have been too often left on the margins of the economy, of religion, of culture, and of society.
I currently work as a behavioral health therapist and a case manager in a primary care setting in the San Luis Valley in Colorado, one of the poorest regions in the nation. In reflecting on my current caseload, I was struck by the ubiquity of pain and suffering as a human experience regardless of gender. The moment brought me to my knees in tears. In that moment, I realized that my awareness to the inequalities faced by women, often results in me minimizing the suffering men also experience. Empathy may be the only way to disarm it.
I support The Women’s Bakery because they support empowering women – but in a manner that also elevates equity for all genders – men included. Men are a part of most of the training and men are often spouses of the women who are trained and employed at TWB bakeries. In many ways, they directly benefit from shared household incomes.
Finally, I support TWB because they support empathy, that is, the ability to see, feel, hear, know, and care for one another, through a shared human experience.