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Safe, Surviving, and Thriving: Young Women’s Cabinet Responds to the Pandemic

Since the advent of COVID-19, members of the Young Women’s Cabinet have abruptly transitioned into new ways of continuing the ever more present need to center the needs of young women and girls in our state. We, like many young women and girls across the state, occupy many different roles in our communities. We are essential workers, first-generation graduates, caregivers, providers, and even heads of households. Despite the turmoil COVID-19 has brought to many of our communities, we feel a tremendous sense of urgency to support, organize, and share resources in our community so that young women can not only survive, but thrive.

COVID-19 is impacting young women and girls across our state, and in our nation, in unique and distinct ways. For some of us, this means taking on additional caretaking roles; others are facing economic, housing, and food insecurity and other gender, race, and ability-based discrimination that is especially amplified during this time. In response, we have launched a series of actions so that young women can be:

  • Safe: Young women have access to feel safe and free from all forms of violence at home, work, and in the community.
  • Surviving: Young women have access to basic needs (i.e. food, housing, financial support) to survive.
  • Thriving: Young women have access to resources for healing, creativity, well-being, and transformation.
Young Women’s Cabinet COVID-19 Resource Guide for Young Women & Girls. Illustration by Maddy Lykken.

We call for a Minnesota where young women and girls are safe, surviving, and most importantly, thriving. In response, we developed a resource guide and survey for young women and girls to address the immediate needs of this moment and the long-term solutions we can build together.

Our Resource Guide includes a list of places to access basic needs and support, such as food and housing, resources for domestic abuse and childcare, as well as tools to foster creativity, well-being, and healing.

Our Young Women & Girls COVID-19 Short Survey seeks to understand the experiences of young women and girls during this time, and their visions for the future. Findings from this survey will be used to inform future policy and advocacy efforts of the Young Women’s Cabinet.

It is our intention that our Safe, Surviving, and Thriving Resource Guide and short survey will provide an outlet for young women and girls to access immediate relief, share their experiences, and re-imagine our path forward.

We must begin to rebuild our society through critical reflection, community leadership, and bold and courageous policy proposals. It is our hope that with your voices, stories, and experiences we are able to collectively build a Minnesota where every young woman thrives.

The Young Women’s Cabinet, is a dynamic group of 31 young women and youth leaders (ages 16-24) from across Minnesota dedicated to racial and gender equity. In partnership with the Women’s Foundation and the Governor’s Office, the Young Women’s Cabinet is charged with centering the leadership and solutions of young women of color to improve equity and opportunity for young women in Minnesota. The Cabinet has engaged in leadership development, been trained as policy advocates, and has directed nearly $1 million in grants to nonprofits and individuals to advance equity.

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