We are
We train college and university students to engage in rigorous research, public policy formulation and advocacy to improve the lives of women and girls across the state. We are dedicated to advancing gender equity in North Carolina by facilitating discussions with thought leaders and advocates, informing and educating the community on issues of concern to them. We also work to move cities and municipalities to become sites of gender inclusivity in our equal cities campaign, cites for CEDAW.

History and Purpose

WomenNC was founded in 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina

by Beth Dehghan an Iranian-born activist with experience mobilizing to create change by making connections between women’s human rights violations that occur on the local and global levels.
WomenNC programming trains, educates, and advocates for policies that improve the lives of women and girls. In 2018, WomenNC embarked on a fruitful collaboration with RTI International’s Global Gender Center that has enriched its leadership training program. Under the direction of Dr. Wendee Wechsberg, the Gender Center provides individual “femtors,” what we call mentors, to each WomenNC scholar.

Together scholars craft their own research project that not only explores instances of gender disparity, but also provides public policy solutions to improve the status quo, ensuring an engaged research project with a practical purpose.  Scholars’ work serves as the basis for WomenNC’s advocacy efforts to effect change locally and globally.  Since its inception, WomenNC has directly impacted over 20,000 change agents including legislators, policymakers, community leaders, students, and community at large through annual seminars, workshops, events, personal meetings and panel discussions in North Carolina and at the United Nations annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

What We Do

WomenNC Scholars Program

We train youth to rigorously investigate instances of gender disparity and inequality in North Carolina communities.

In 2009, we established the prestigious WomenNC Scholars Program, a leadership training program that has trained 61 university students from UNC-CH, Duke, NC State, NC Central, UNC-Greensboro, Shaw University, Meredith College, and Bennett College to conduct research on the status of women in North Carolina and to formulate policy and budget recommendations that address issues of gender inequity.

WomenNC has changed the way that underrepresented students are trained in high school computer science courses in the Durham Public School system, ensuring that they will be better prepared for high-demand, high-income careers in technology. Amy Jiang, a 2018-19 WomenNC scholar from Duke, successfully proposed to the district superintendent the creation of professional learning communities (PLCs) for computer science teachers.

What We Do

Gender Equity Advocates

We are advocates for gender equity in local, state, and international arenas. Armed with their research and recommendations, our scholars present their findings to and advocate in front of local elected officials, community members, and international officials and activists at the United Nations’ annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to improve the lives of women and girls.

We have spearheaded the Cities and Counties for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) movement in North Carolina, which seeks to enshrine principles of gender equity into local political deliberative processes. In 2017 and 2018, Durham County and the city of Durham, respectively, created sustainable mechanisms for ensuring gender equity by requiring them to evaluate their programs and budgets annually to ensure that each addresses barriers to equality faced by women.

What We Do

Community Education

Our programming brings experts in the field in content areas of specific interest to women, including sexual assault, human trafficking, the status of the Equal Right Amendment, and voting access, to our constituency. This helps them understand the need for continued activism and advocacy on behalf of women and girls.

In the time of COVID this programming is held virtually as Lunch “n” Learn events, streaming live on our Facebook page and uploaded on our YouTube channel.  We hope these events will soon be in-person to audiences around the state.

Critical Conversations: WomenNC and You can Vote
Critical Conversations Pt. I:  Sexual Assault Awareness and Resources in the Pandemic
Critical Conversations Pt. 2 Sex Trafficking
Critical Conversations: The Equal Rights Amendment in NC

Critical Conversations: LGBTQ+ Healthcare Access                     
Critical Conversations: Roe v. Wade in Jeopardy - Reproductive Healthcare in NC  
Critical Conversations: Substance Use through a Gender Lens  
Critical Conversations: Gun Violence Against Women
And More!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


Our Community

In addition to our collaboration with RTI International’s Global Gender Center, we partner with various organizations, departments, units, and schools within North Carolina to move our mission forward. These include: