By: Sarah Mina Osman
North Carolina is home to several organizations designed to support women. Spread across the state, these organizations focus on promoting women’s rights, leadership, and empowerment. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- InterAct: Based in Wake County, North Carolina, InterAct provides domestic violence and sexual assault services. The organization has 24-hour crisis hotlines (in both English and Spanish) as well as emergency shelter and court advocacy. In addition, InterAct offers trainings and presentations to community organizations about the warning signs of domestic abuse and how to help people who have experienced it.
- Ascending Women Upward Bound Inc.: Over 20 years ago, Jackie Campbell opened Infant Sleep Solutions, which provides infant care providers who help mothers set up a feeding and sleeping schedule for their children. Since Campbell was so successful, she started Ascending Women Upward Bound Inc. in Charlotte, designed to help other female entrepreneurs run their own successful businesses. The organization provides coaching, seminars, and workshops focused on the different skills female entrepreneurs need, such as how to start a business and how to write a mission statement.
- SHE NC: Designed to empower women professionally and personally, SHE NC offers workshops, discussions, and community-oriented events. Topics covered have included self-defense, how to be an ally to people of all genders, and how to take tough feedback. SHE NC frequently partners with InterAct to help raise awareness about domestic abuse. SHE NC is based in Cary.
- WomenNC: Founded in Raleigh, WomenNC is known for its WomenNC scholarship program, which is a leadership training program. Over the years, 61 university students from colleges all over the state have gone through the program. Scholars conduct research regarding women’s issues in North Carolina, and create policy budgets and recommendations to alleviate these problems. In addition, WomenNC offers community education on topics such as LGBTQ+ healthcare access and the state of the equal rights amendment in North Carolina.
- One to One: Women Coaching Women: If you’ve ever wanted to try life coaching but found it too expensive, then this is the organization for you! One to One offers free and professional life coaching services for women. In addition, workshops and “power hours” are 60-minute sessions that focus on a specific topic, such as how to launch a new business or project.
- The Women’s Fund of North Carolina: Part of the North Carolina Community Foundation, The Women’s Fund of North Carolina is a fund dedicated to improving the lives of women in North Carolina. Through the Women’s Fund, organizations can apply for grants designed to help women. For instance, in 2022, the Women’s Fund awarded a grant to Leadership Triangle for the Leadership Triangle Scholarship Fund.
- The North Carolina General Federation of Women’s Clubs: Also known as the GFWC, this organization has over 110 sister clubs sprawled across North Carolina which are dedicated to improving each local community through volunteer work. Some of the programs focus on arts and culture, education, health, and the environment. By joining the GFWC, you will receive access to a number of resources, including leadership training and professional development and GFWC representation on Capitol Hill.
- Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro: Since the mid-1990s, the Women’s Resource Center connects women to various resources in the area. Some of the services offered by the Women’s Resource Center include legal services, community resource counseling, and the unique Women to Work program, which includes both group and one-on-one sessions regarding career advancement. Various workshops and support groups also take place at the Women’s Resource Center, such as budgeting and how to handle breakups.
- Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: An international organization with a branch in North Carolina, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman offers adult women the opportunity to learn outdoor skills. Various camps include archery, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and tracking. There are scholarships available, and the camps take place all over North Carolina.
- Sistas Caring 4 Sistas: In 2016, doulas Nikita Smart, Wakina Robertson, Sade Mustakem, and Cindy MacMillan noticed a concerning problem in Buncombe County: Babies born to women of color were more likely to die because of racism in healthcare, the amount of stress they endure under oppressive systems, and more. That’s when they decided to offer doula training and doula services to women of color in Buncombe County. Today, they offer childbirth education, breastfeeding support, and other birth planning services. Since their start, Sistas Caring 4 Sistas has helped more than 200 women.
- Dress for Success: With branches in Charlotte, the triangle, and Winston-Salem, Dress for Success helps women achieve professional success through access to career support services and business attire. Dress for Success personally selects interview wear for women and provides interview tips. In addition, Dress for Success offers webinars and online networking groups.
- WILMA Magazine’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative: Based in the Wilmington area, the Leadership Initiative was created to help develop more female leaders. Parts of the Initiative include the Women to Watch Awards, annual events, mentors, and nice groups.
Sarah Mina Osman is a writer residing in coastal North Carolina. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, SheKnows, Matador Network, Success Magazine, and other publications. She’s currently a second-year fiction student in the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.