Women helping women was the focus of a special event in Pembroke, N.C. on December 7. More than 100 friends and neighbors gathered on a busy Saturday morning to discuss how women in Robeson County can create a more vibrant life for themselves and for their community. Robeson County has long struggled with high rates of crime, poverty and unemployment. Breaking these cycles is important to residents, and empowering women to lead that change is a smart move.
A panel of women leaders encouraged attendees to focus on self-care and self-awareness. They discussed how important it is for every woman to put a priority on a embracing a healthy lifestyle and building a supportive group of friends. You’re more likely to be ready and able to help your family and your community if you’re taking good care of yourself.
Mary Parry, Director of Advocacy for Women AdvaNCe, participated on the panel, reminding attendees that they are not alone. “Rural counties across our state are still reeling from job losses since the Great Recession, while benefits and supports for those who are struggling are being taken away,” Parry said. North Carolina leaders recently eliminated the Earned Income Tax Credit, aimed at protecting low-wage earners from poverty, and also turned down millions of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion that would have created healthcare-related jobs in our state. Deep cuts to the education budget are setting our public schools up to fail, another roadblock for attracting jobs in our communities.
Parry encouraged each attendee to think of herself not as one woman, but as one of many women voters across North Carolina. “Women hold the keys to improving our communities and our state. We are of 54% of the electorate,” said Parry. “We can stay informed together and vote for leaders who understand how to create a fair and balanced economy for women and their families.”
Before closing, event organizers asked attendees to reach out and support the most fragile in their community by offering donations of time or money to the Southeastern Family Violence Center. Domestic violence funding is another area cut by the state budget, even though one in four women will report violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
Despite the challenges they face, women in Robeson County are stepping up to create change in their community. They are starting AdvaNCe Teams and creating awareness through their engagement with Women AdvaNCe. They are a shining example of how women can be the change they want to see in North Carolina. Be inspired and start to reshape your community today.