empowering women, girls and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives


Posts Tagged: Women

CWEALF’s Generating Girls’ Opportunities (G2O) initative engages girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls’ educational opportunities.
Read more on our website!

CWEALF’s Generating Girls’ Opportunities (G2O) initative engages girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls’ educational opportunities.

Read more on our website!

For Women’s History Month, we asked CWEALF staff and volunteers what inspires them. In case you missed it, check out our Facebook for the captions to go along with these pictures.

Who inspires YOU?

For Women’s History Month, we asked CWEALF staff and volunteers what inspires them. In case you missed it, check out our Facebook for the captions to go along with these pictures.

Who inspires YOU?

Happy 14th Anniversary as Executive Director, Alice!

In case you missed Dr. Pritchard’s “Reflections From the Current Executive Director,” check it out here!

Don’t forget to attend tomorrow!

Don’t forget to attend tomorrow!


Did you read our recent post, Breaking Down Barriers to Women in Politics and become frustrated by the lack of ladies in politics? This absence is due to multiple systemic factors that make it more difficult for women to run for political office, such as implicit bias. Luckily, two upcoming events are targeted to assisting women interested in breaking down those barriers to be involved in politics.

On Wednesday March 12th, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is hosting Women’s Day at the Capitol entitled “Journalism & Gender: When Women Report on Politics and Public Policy.” The day will begin with networking at 9:30 followed by a welcome from constitutional officers.  Next, a panel of female political reporters will share their experiences in the field.  Lunch is provided after the panel, another opportunity for attendees to network with one another.

After PCSW’s program, participants have the opportunity to learn how to manage a political campaign or run for a political office.  Specifically, CT NOW is hosting an informational forum with Patti Russo, Executive Director of the Yale Women’s Campaign School at 1:45 in the North Lobby of the LOB. CT NOW is offering two full scholarships* to cover the cost of attending the annual summer session. The Yale Women’s Campaign School tuition costs $1,250 and runs from June 9-June 13, 2014. The informational forum will allow participants to learn more about the Yale Women’s Campaign School, how to apply for the scholarship, and ask questions.

*Please note: Eligible women for the full scholarships are pro-choice, pro-marriage equality and interested in holding office in Connecticut.

Written by Nikki Seymour. Nikki is a first year Master’s in Social Work (policy concentration) student at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and a Research & Evaluation intern at CWEALF.

"When a pipeline leaks, we don’t blame the water. We fix the pipe and design the next one to leak less. Why do we blame women who leave STEM fields?"


Frances Hocutt (via scigrrrl)

Interesting question!

(via gender-and-science)

Source: scigrrrl


In recent years, several measures have been taken to advance gender equality in today’s workforce and political environment.  For Connecticut, the 2013 election became a historical turning point for women as many prevailed in highly contested political races within the state.   While this defining moment promises future success for female leaders, women still remain widely underrepresented in leadership roles.  Presently, women constitute only 14 percent of the state’s Congressional Delegation, 29 percent of the Connecticut General Assembly, and 25 percent of municipal governing bodies.  What’s striking about these statistics is that studies show that women tend to fare well against men in political campaigns. The existing disparity among female representation in politics can be attributed to a variety of societal factors that impact a woman’s decision to pursue a political seat.  Nonetheless, women are vital to the political arena as they provide a perspective unique to their male counterparts. 

Women face a range of barriers regarding their political involvement.  The most prevalent is the gender bias within American society, which urges women to take on more of a domestic identity than professional or community leader.  This implicit bias often shapes a woman’s political and occupational experience and work availability which ultimately impacts their success within the political arena.  These factors contribute to the common lack of political ambition among women and girls.   

Furthermore, while women fare well against men in political campaigns, women are often presented with obstacles during the campaign process.  These include bias within political party recruitment, securing fundraising sources, and fewer network connections within the “political pipeline.”  Studies show women are less likely to be considered during political party recruitment and endorsement.  Without party endorsement, candidates are frequently put at a disadvantage.  In addition, men and women candidates usually raise comparable campaign funds; however, women are more likely to have difficulty attracting funders from traditional sources.  These factors derive from the limited access women have to political networking.  With fewer women in politics than men, female candidates lack networking and mentoring opportunities.  This again disempowers women from seeking and obtaining political leadership positions.

Having more female leaders within Connecticut would not only encourage young women and girls to pursue non-traditional professions, it would also benefit the productivity and functionality of our governing bodies.   In fact, female political leaders are more likely to advocate for women’s rights and social justice issues and offer a different perspective in addressing public policy.  To learn more about how CWEALF works to promote women in policy and leadership, read our recap on the 3rd Annual Women’s Policy Day.

Nina Candels is a CWEALF social work intern from the University of Saint Joseph, who is specializing in policy and the Campaign for a Working Connecticut.


Ana is the mother of a seven year old son who sought CWEALF’s assistance during her divorce. A stay at home mom during the marriage, Ana was mentally and verbally abused by her ex-husband, and not allowed to control any of the family’s finances. She also faced a language barrier during the proceedings, as she and her ex-husband met in Mexico. After being referred to CWEALF and our Community Advocate, Ana was able to go to court and obtain an alimony award that helped her pay her rent, and an increased child support award. For Ana, alimony means being able to get back on her feet and providing a better life for herself and her son.

On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 the Alimony Commission of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Law Review Commission held a public hearing on the topic of reforming the state’s system of awarding alimony.  The Commission was created by Public Law 2013-213, and tasked with studying the fairness and adequacy of Connecticut’s current system of alimony orders.  Public Law 2013-213 indicated that the Commission should collect empirical data pertaining to alimony in Connecticut, and present its proposed recommendations to the General Assembly by February 1, 2014.

Currently in Connecticut, alimony orders are calculated using a case-by-case method. Judges are required to consider and balance a number of factors including the age, health, occupation, earning capacity, and education of the parties involved in the divorce. In recent years, several attempts have been made to standardize this case-by-case methodology into a set process by imposing a guideline or formula for calculation. Reducing the determination of alimony orders into a simple formula or set of guidelines would be harmful for the financial and emotional security of many women, men, and children, and therefore CWEALF opposes this change. Any proposed formula would likely not take into account the lost earning potential of women who voluntarily leave the workforce to care for children, or the difficulties of maintaining primary custody of a child with inadequate child support payments.

Additionally, an alimony formula would negatively affect victims of domestic violence. Victims with few economic resources could be forced to stay with an abusive spouse in order to stretch their marriage to a sufficient length to obtain alimony payments under the formula. Further, because every marriage is unique and cannot simply be boiled down to a numerical calculation, we support keeping the current system for alimony awards as is, allowing for judicial discretion. In a public meeting on February 4, 2014, the Commission agreed it would not recommend guidelines for awarding alimony orders to the Law Review Commission.

The Commission also focused on issues of cohabitation involved in sustaining alimony orders. Proposals have been made to amend Connecticut’s alimony laws to include a presumption that alimony can be modified or terminated once a former spouse moves in with another person after the divorce. Such a presumption incorrectly assumes that an alimony recipient is bettering their financial circumstances by moving in with someone; further, it would prevent former spouses from moving in with friends or family to help pay the bills or provide care and support. CWEALF supports leaving all modification decisions in the hands of a judge, cohabitation or not.

There is no standardized form of divorce, so it doesn’t make sense that there be a standardized way of determining alimony orders. Each marriage is unique and complicated, and CWEALF supports a model of alimony awards that allows experienced judges to weigh critical factors against each other in making alimony determinations in each distinctive situation.

Photo by Rawle C. Jackman, “Mother & Child.” 03/29/2011. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Kaitlyn Fydenkevez is a legal intern at CWEALF, and a second year law student at the University of Connecticut School of Law. You can read more from her at kaitlynfydenkevez.com/blog/.

CWEALF’ Generating Girls’ Opportunity (G2O) Initiative will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year! Here’s an overview of the work that has been done so far.

CWEALF’ Generating Girls’ Opportunity (G2O) Initiative will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year! Here’s an overview of the work that has been done so far.


This December we spoke to Attorney Kate Haakonsen, a former intern and long time supporter of Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), about her continued dedication to our organization.

In 1977, Kate attended an event about women and the law where CWEALF lawyers were presenters.  Through this experience she learned about CWEALF and decided to apply for a summer internship. She was hired and spent much of her time working on legal research.

Kate’s positive experience as an intern at CWEALF has contributed to her loyalty. She donates to CWEALF, participates in our Annual Awards Dinner every year and serves as a CWEALF Cooperating Attorney.

Kate believes that women’s rights are still important today because women are not treated as equals. She feels that it is most important for women to be aware of their opportunities and stand up for their rights. She would advise young girls today not to be pressured by the expectations of others until considering all of the alternatives. 

“Women still aren’t treated as equals. If women don’t stand up for themselves, then nobody else will.”

You too can support CWEALF’s work towards equality.

Today, Kate is a Partner at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP where she focuses on Family Law. She loves working with her clients because she enjoys assisting people dedicated to finding a resolution for their problems.

Outside of her job, Kate enjoys many outdoor activities including gardening, bicycling and skiing. She also loves to travel and read when she has time.

Written by Allison Cazalet. Allison is a student at Trinity College and a Development Intern at CWEALF.