Women’s eNews Is a Garden, Bearing Fruit of Change

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Rita Thanksgiving

Credit: Cassandra Leveille

Editor-in-chief Rita Henley Jensen at the main office of Women's eNews.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Thank you. Women’s eNews has established during the past 15 years a direct connection to the lives of women and girls in the United States and globally. Ours is the work of finding, telling and spreading the stories about policies, decisions, movements, individual achievement and ideas that affect women and girls, changes perceptions, ideas and plans of action. Getting quality stories that matter to people in power and to vast numbers of individual women and men is a game-changer in social action.

And it could not have happened without your many forms of support. Thank you.

This time of year as I was growing up was a moment of relief. My father’s gardens had produced a bountiful harvest of green beans, asparagus, corn and other veggies; all cleaned, steamed and delivered to the freezer in the basement through the work of all family members. We kids, the six of us, also had picked the wild blackberries growing in the field behind our Worthington, Ohio, home and helped my mother sort, de-stem, smoosh and strain them while she handled the steaming jars and caps that would preserve the sweet jelly.

Thanksgivings were indeed a time to express our gratitude for the food we ate, the land we cultivated and the home we had.

It was also time to begin planning. In late autumn and early winter nights, my father would sit in his chair, sip a beer and pore over seed catalogues, carefully selecting varieties that he could start inside to get a jump on the spring. Despite the wonderful organic produce he grew and we all harvested and preserved, he knew he had to prepare immediately to assure his success in the spring.

Like Dad, I am looking back now at what our work produced and making plans for an even better harvest next year.

One fruit of our work, as tasty as wild blackberry jelly, is documented in a study of more than 100 members of the Investigative News Network, which ranked Women’s eNews third among nonprofit news organizations for the reach and size of our constituency and readership.

We also weigh our work when we are part positive changes for women.

IMPACT: When a high-quality maternity center in The Bronx was closed, Women’s eNews assigned a reporter who covered the community’s reaction. Health officials backtracked and the center is now reopening.

 IMPACT: In 2013, Women’s eNews sent a three-person team to Jordan to report on the status of female refugees from Syria. It was the only news organization to do so. Their reports, “Collateral Damage Syria: Women and Girls Fleeing Violence,” are being used by a major international rights organization.

We are also proud of a great deal of our reporting that flagged major problems, some of which are receiving overdue attention.

IMPACT: In 2012 we reported on the abusive sterilization program in India, an issue that recently gained international attention when the deaths of rural women spurred headlines.

IMPACT: In early November, New York City launched a rent subsidy program designed to move hundreds of homeless families who are victims of domestic violence from shelters into permanent housing during the plan’s first year. This is major good news, worthy of Thanksgiving. We are proud to have spotlighted the need for such a program with two stories; one in 2012 flagged the under-reported problem of homelessness in the city and another, earlier this year, examining the costly intersection for women of being battered, homeless and fearful.

This year has given everyone at Women’s eNews much to be grateful for and yes, I will begin using my evening to plan what cutting edge stories we should be covering next, planting the seeds of change for women and girls.

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