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Our Research

Listening, Learning and Driving Action With Communities

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, 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. 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.

Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota

Through our 2020 Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota, we see that while there is progress in some areas, inequities for women and girls continue to be even greater for Black, Native, and women and girls of color, rural women and girls, women and girls with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and older women. Learn more about the research and report.

Status of Older Women in Minnesota

Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota is an ongoing collaborative research project of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Humphrey School’s Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy. Periodically, data specific to Minnesota women and girls is gathered and analyzed in economics, safety, health, and leadership. The data reviewed and included in this special Older Women edition, as well as periodic Research Overviews, comes from published reports produced by government agencies and nonprofits, and original gender-based analysis of publicly available datasets.

View the report

Impacts of YWI MN on the Labor Market

Young women in our state are critical to economic growth and competitiveness, and are important contributors to the high quality of life Minnesotans expect. While some Minnesota girls are thriving, too many do not have access to equal economic opportunity due to their gender, race, ethnicity, place, ability, or sexuality. This loss of productive participation in our economy means that many young women are unable to fulfill their dreams, and Minnesota’s economy loses a vital source of talent and leadership.

View the report

Mapping the Demand

Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota is key to creating targeted strategies to disrupt the sex trafficking market and end the demand. We want Minnesota to be a state that we can all be proud of where everyone can live in safety. To do that, we must all be part of the solution. The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota invests in targeted strategies to disrupt the sex-trafficking market, end the demand, and decrease violence and sexual exploitation.

Learn more

The Power of Listening

Road to Transformation Listening Series

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.

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.

While every Listening Session revealed themes and solutions unique to the issue and community, several themes were emphasized across sessions. From mental health, the impacts of trauma, to financial insecurity, women and their families have shared experiences and needs related to health, safety, and economic well-being.

RTT report cover executive summary

Listening Session Reports

Throughout the nine Listening Sessions, women and girls with lived experience in the session topic shared critical, actionable solutions to address inequities across our state. Reports for each session are grounded in data from WFMN’s Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota report and include detailed community-specific insights and solutions for transformational, systemic change.

COVID-19's impact report cover

COVID-19: Women & Girls on the Frontlines

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

Working women and families report cover

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

Missing and murdered report cover

Not One More: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Nicole Matthews, Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition

Asian hate report cover

Unheard Voices: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate

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

Young women

The Status of Girls in Minnesota

Neda Kellogg, Project DIVA International

Older woman

The Status of Older Women in Minnesota

Gloria Perez, President & CEO, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Qualitative Research: Listening to Community

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.

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.

  • 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: 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.