Girl reading and studying at a table
Our Research

We Conduct Research to Listen, Learn, and Drive Action With Communities

In Minnesota, data show that girls and women, particularly from communities of color and those who live in greater Minnesota, experience economic, safety, health, and leadership disparities that prevent them from thriving. The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota conducts qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the lives of women and girls within communities, identify assets and barriers, and fund solutions.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

In Minnesota, research data illustrate sharp disparities in outcomes for young women in Minnesota’s communities of color and in greater Minnesota.

However, the Women’s Foundation believes data alone does not tell the entire story – hearing personal narratives allows us to get to the community context.

Listening Session Reports

Deepening our understanding of the real, lived experiences of Minnesota women and girls

Article with Arrow | WFMN

Through nine Listening Sessions in WFMN’s Road to Transformation Listening Series in March 2021, we deepened our understanding of the real, lived experiences of Minnesota women and girls so that we can continue to strategically eliminate the challenges and barriers they and their families face because of inequities and injustice in our systems.

Participants discussed the impacts of COVID-19, racial injustice, economic inequities, incarceration, and additional crises on women, girls, and families, and shared their solutions to create a state where all women, girls, and their families can thrive.

The themes and solutions that surfaced across the Listening Series will inform the Women’s Foundation’s statewide agenda for gender and racial justice, using our levers for grantmaking, policy, strategic partnerships, narrative change, and research for years to come.

Each facilitated discussion included community members with lived experience in the session topic and was grounded in data from WFMN’s Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota and Status of Older Women in Minnesota reports. Individual reports for each session include detailed community-specific insights and solutions for transformational, systemic change.

RTT report cover executive summary

Executive Summary:

Themes & Solutions for Whole Community Well-Being

The past year illuminated vast and unconscionable inequity and laid bare the daily injustices against Black lives and all people pushed to the margins. COVID-19 revealed the vulnerabilities borne by working people who risked their health to provide for their families, while lacking the benefits and job security to stay home and safe. The pandemic showed us the stress of unpaid care work and the resilience of mothers, care workers, frontline workers – all essential components of families, our economy, and whole community well-being.

View Summary

Listening Session Reports

Throughout the nine Listening Sessions, women and girls shared critical, actionable solutions to address inequities across our state.

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COVID-19: Women & Girls on the Frontlines

LaCora Bradford Kesti, Director of Community Impact, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

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The Economic Status of Working Women & Families

Angelica Klebsch, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)

Justice system report cover

Justice System-Impacted Women & Girls

Autumn Mason, Ostara Initiative

Rural women report cover

Listening to Women in Rural Minnesota

Teresa Kittridge, 100 Rural Women

Black mothers and caregivers report cover

Minnesota Racial Justice Uprising: Centering Black Mothers & Caregivers

Dr. Brittany Lewis, Research in Action

Missing and murdered report cover

Not One More: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Nicole Matthews, Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition

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Unheard Voices: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate

Bo Thao-Urabe, Council for Asian-American Leaders (CAAL)

Qualitative Research: Listening to Community

  • Southern Minnesota storyboard
  • Somali East African storyboard
  • Northern Minnesota storyboard
  • LGBTQ storyboard
  • Latina storyboard
  • Hmong and Karen storyboard
  • African American storyboard

Listening to Young Women

From November 2015 – December 2016, the Women’s Foundation convened nine listening sessions featuring young women and advocates from the Somali and East African, American Indian, African American, Latina, Hmong and Karen, LGBTQ, disabilities, and northern and southern Greater Minnesota communities. The sessions enabled each community to form its own panels to allow for deeper conversation around economics, racism and culture, school and education, societal and gender norms, safety, and health.

We know problems and solutions are found in the same place and hearing directly from young women and youth is an important part of finding solutions. The information gathered from the sessions helps the Foundation develop a statewide agenda for gender and racial equity and increase resources for girls and women across Minnesota with the greatest disparities in outcomes. The qualitative data we gained from the listening sessions was instrumental in driving the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (YWI MN).

Listening Session | Volume I | WFMN

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume I

Listening Session | Volume II | WFMN

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume II

Listening Session | Volume III | WFMN

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume III

Listening Session | Executive Summary | WFMN

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Executive Summary

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume I

Produced with the participation of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume I documents the first two listening sessions the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota convened for young women and advocates from the Somali and East African communities and American Indian communities.

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume II

Produced with the participation of the NoVo Foundation, Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume II documents three listening sessions the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota convened for young women and advocates from the African American, Latina, and Hmong and Karen communities.

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume III

Produced with the participation of the NoVo Foundation, Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Volume III documents three listening sessions the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota convened for young women, youth, and advocates from the LGBTQ, and from Greater Minnesota (northern and southern).

Listening to Young Women of Color, Youth, & Advocates: Executive Summary

Produced with the participation of the NoVo Foundation, Listening to Minnesota’s Young Women, Youth, & Advocates: Executive Summary provides a high-level overview of all the Foundation’s listening sessions with young women of color, American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ youth, and young women with disabilities.