Race & Gender Equity

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. In order to achieve our goals of a more equitable society, the YWCA Madison provides a spectrum of programming aimed at creating a more just and inclusive society. These programs include:

Racial Justice Programs

Racism affects all of us, regardless of what we look like. The elimination of racism is an on-going process that requires persistence, commitment, and continuing dialogue between individuals and groups. The YWCA is committed to helping individuals, organizations, and companies in the Madison community improve race relations and find ways to eliminate racism through constructive dialogue and meaningful action. The YWCA achieves these goals through:

  • Racial Justice Workshops are offered regularly in the community and upon request for groups, organizations, or businesses.
  • Each year, the YWCA hosts a Racial Justice Summit that brings together community stakeholders to work on eliminating barriers that foster racism in our community
  • For an intensive and cumulative learning experience, the YWCA offers a racial justice certificate program for participants who attend all three of the course levels and complete reading and online assignments between the courses.
  • Creating Equitable Organizations Training provides an opportunity for businesses to partner with the YWCA to create more culturally-competent workplaces.

Request more information about Racial Justice training options on our contact form.


Access free racial justice resources, including the Race to Equity Discussion Toolkit.


Restorative Justice Program

The YWCA Madison uses Restorative Justice as a strategy to address the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is a process by which students are removed from the school for disciplinary infractions. These students are often put on a path to the criminal justice system. The racial disparities in school discipline directly correlate with the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We use restorative justice to provide alternative discipline models in schools to keep students in school and out of the justice system.

Women’s Leadership Initiatives

The YWCA Madison’s women’s leadership trainings aim to help women develop skills to help them advance in their careers while breaking down barriers that prevent women from attaining leadership roles. The YWCA Madison achieves these goals through:

  • The Moxie Conference: Nerve and Know-How for Emerging Leaders - This women’s leadership conference aims to build tomorrow’s leaders and encourage them to draw inspiration from the Women of Distinction Award recipients who will be honored during the conference.
  • YWomen Lead Series - This nine-month intensive leadership and career development series develops leadership skills to support personal growth and develop a leadership peer group. Attendees will gain fresh ideas and strategies to promote women’s leadership in their organization.

Learn more about the importance of developing women leaders.

race & gender equity 

2013 Racial Justice Outcomes 

85% (119 of 140) of participants have talked or plan to talk with their colleagues at work about the racial/cultural climate in their organization as a result of the 2013 Racial Justice Summit.

94% (132 of 141) of Summit participants plan to apply knowledge or skills that they gained at this event to reduce racial disparities or to create or expand an initiative or program.

95% (133 of 140) of participants have sought out or plan to seek out more information to enhance their own awareness and understanding of racism by talking with others, reading, or listening as a result of the YWCA Racial Justice Summit.

96% (134 of 140) of participants spent time looking at their own attitudes and behaviors as they contribute to or combat the racism around them as a result of the YWCA Racial Justice Summit.

race & gender equity 

2013 Restorative Justice Outcomes 

81% (110 out of 136) students who participate in a 2013 Restorative Justice referral circles showed attitude and behavioral improvements. Students who participate in referral circles are more likely to become connected to the school community and stay in school until graduation.

Since implementing the Restorative Justice program, participating schools had a 15% decrease in the total number of out of school suspensions during the 2011-12 school year.