After launching the woman’s advocacy group in October of last year, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has moved forward with her plans for the Young Women’s Initiative. At a press conference at the City Hall steps last Monday, with a group of female activists behind her, she called for more female participation in local government.

“We need to challenge anyone that has a role to play in supporting candidates to make sure that we are creating pathways of opportunity for young women in government,” Mark-Viverito said.

The Young Woman’s Initiative is a progressive step for equity for the women in New York, particularly women of color and those from minority neighborhoods. Mark-Viverito is the first Latina woman to hold a citywide elected position in city council.

The women’s advocacy group was modeled after President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, launched in 2014, whose goal is to improve the lives of the country’s young black males. The goals remain similar.

As Mark-Viverito described the group’s policy plans, which includes development for women in areas of health and career, she was applauded by the women behind her who held up signs of #SheWillBe and the Spanish translation #EllaSera.

The City Council and other philanthropic groups have agreed to donate $20 million to The Young Women’s Initiative.

“You are mentors, supporters and fighters,” she said. “You are the future of our city. You are in the business of opening doors and shattering glass ceilings and you’re making a real difference in the lives of women and girls across our city.”


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