During this Women’s History Month, we lift up and affirm the importance of gender justice in our work and celebrate the powerful impact of women leaders at GLIDE working to create a world where everyone thrives.
We know that fighting for women’s economic empowerment, reproductive rights and equality is fundamental to achieving our mission: to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community, mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.
The past few years have provided dramatic examples of the systemic barriers to women’s liberty, equality and well-being. Women faced much steeper job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic and slower job recovery—on top of persistently lower earnings compared to men.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls—including domestic violence and commercial sexual exploitation—has raged around the world.
In the United States, women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies have been severely eroded by last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and by legislation in several states to criminalize critical reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.
Meanwhile, women in the United States suffer the highest maternal mortality rates In the developed world and Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women.
Women lead the fight against these injustices and inequities—but misogyny and discrimination harm all of us, regardless of our gender. And the women of GLIDE’s past, present and future have and will lead us all towards liberation and freedom.
GLIDE’s history began in 1929 with the philanthropist Lizzie Glide, who constructed Glide Memorial Church on land she purchased at the corner of Ellis and Taylor Streets in San Francisco. Recognizing the needs of women in the city, Mrs. Glide also built a residential hotel that offered young working women a safe, affordable place to live.
In the 1970s, Janice Mirikitani co-founded GLIDE Foundation in partnership with Rev. Cecil Williams, pastor at Glide Memorial Church. She ensured that empathy and advocacy for marginalized and traumatized women would be at the core of our social justice focus.
Among many other achievements, Janice established programs for women in recovery and survivors of domestic abuse—programs that continue at GLIDE today.
In recent years, the leadership of GLIDE and Glide Memorial Church has included women CEOs, pastors and board officers—including our chair, Kaye Foster, and vice chair, Mary Glide, great-great-granddaughter of Lizzie Glide. Under these leaders, GLIDE has prioritized long-term stability for women and families of color as a key objective of its strategic plan.
Recognizing that poverty disproportionately impacts women, especially women of color, we create pathways to economic independence through education programs, job training and skills-based support for women.
To drive systemic change, our Center for Social Justice advocates for laws and policies that support women and families of color. It also seeks to lead conversations around gender justice and its interdependence with other movements for social equity.
For Women’s History Month, on Thursday, March 30, the center will highlight the documentary film Still I Rise, which explores the relationship between sex trafficking and racism, followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Sheri Shuster.
We know that change is possible, that barriers can be broken. At GLIDE, we believe in the power of a healing community because we’ve seen it in action. In our Men In Progress program, we’ve seen how men who’ve committed violence can heal and unlearn toxic concepts of masculinity.
Just as we need men to be engaged in breaking intergenerational cycles of violence, we also need men to advocate for equal pay for women, reproductive rights, subsidized childcare, and other policies and practices that build more just and loving communities.
We urge everyone who stands for social justice to join us and support us in creating a world that nurtures, celebrates and invests in women.
Let the hands of women
birth the future with arms fully open,
choose to fulfill families with care,
and foretell a new day.
Let this language of hands, the work that they do,
shout more loudly than guns, or greed or religiousity.
Let the power of women lead, harmoniously,
Because a woman
will do that.
—From “A Woman Will Do That” by Janice Mirikitani