ABOUT WOMEN OF TOLEDO
Mission and History
Established in 2014, Inclusive for Women Inc. – Women of Toledo (WOT) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving the Greater Toledo community that advocates for diversity and inclusion with a focus on economic empowerment. This grassroots educational organization has a very diverse group of women leaders committed to bringing together youth and women to learn from and support each other.
The Women of Toledo's mission is to educate, engage, and empower women and young women to keep moving forward.
The first WOT diversity strategy initiatives begin in March 2013, where a group of eighteen diverse women with active roles as community leaders in Greater Toledo met for a doctoral dissertation focus group discussion surrounding diversity in networking organization. The objective of this initiative was to build a connecting hub for a diverse group of women. The purpose was to NOT preclude multicultural women or women of color from their involvement in Toledo's existing networking or organizations, but instead to enhance their experiences by providing an opportunity to participate in networking events, community service projects, educational programs and leadership initiatives that would be tailored to their professional and personal aspirations. This objective seeks to fulfill WOT’s goals by creating new ways for people, especially women, from different cultures to identify common goals and work towards co-existing constructively. This brings together people and groups with highly varied backgrounds in terms of socio-economic levels, race, culture, education, demographic, age, and profession, while examining commonalities among passions and interests. In addition, serving as a means to learn from each other’s strengths based on attitudes, skills, knowledge, coping strategies, support, and power.
A finding from the focus group is that most existing networking groups do not exclude multicultural women, women of color, or avoid diversity within their members. However, women often choose to participate in a group because of cultural, racial, and other similarities to coexist. Another study shows that women with diverse backgrounds have issues adapting to existing groups because of the organizational culture that already exists within their members (Klein, 2008). Hence, a new organization with a new culture to promote diversity among its members is not only needed but necessary. From this point forward, WOT is dedicated to creating programs specifically designed to be inclusive, diverse, and inviting to everyone. We seek to provide a forum--the connecting hub--in which individuals and groups can become more effective in their own right and also by building upon the strengths of others.
Today the organization effectively offers meaningful, women-focused educational programs, advocacy & economic empowerment forums, connection services, as well as mentoring and peer-networking services that are proven to have a high impact in diversity, elevate the quality of life, and positive social progress.
Expected outcomes for our program services & activities
Since its inception, WOT has provided education, engagement, and empowerment to all women and youth in Greater Toledo. The organization has a well-developed organizational structure with both an Advisory and Governance Board. At all times cooperation and collaboration are sought in the community, to ensure that duplication is eliminated.
Measurement on impact includes:
Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy, did participants successfully develop a greater sensitivity to the challenges and opportunities in Greater Toledo to be a responsible citizen in the community and increase their awareness of how to become dynamic, global and diverse?
Decision Making, is the individual able to make healthy decisions, develop self-esteem, and become empowered? These factors are conducive to obtaining/maintaining employment, returning to school, being a good parent, and responsible citizen.
Economic Empowerment, did participants improve their quality of life and capacity to bring about economic change for themselves, by overcoming poverty, discrimination, and exploitation? Quality of life is extremely important as it is the contributing factor to achieving gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth for their lives, families, and communities.
Advancing Social and Emotional Learning, did participants successfully develop skills to mentor others on how to create an inclusive relationship? This includes high performance and interacting in a group setting; where the individual is able to speak, disagree, offer insights, and reflect to produce a meaningful conversation.
Professional and Personal Development, did participants successfully build skills that increase professional success and adapt to various organizational cultures?
The program framework helps participants reflect on their role as an individual in creating an innovation community where participants work towards positive living.