The pathway to women’s equality has been riddled with obstacles. From voting rights to equal pay, many have been made to feel second rate to a society dominated by masculinity. Fortunately there have been women along the path that have stood steadfast in opposition to this discrimination and now many women have benefited from their resolve. Our guest today on That Business Show was Kathleen Pravlik, Director of Advancement with the Women’s Centre where they strive to empower women personally and professionally. The Women’s Centre was founded in 1977 by Helen Gordon Davis who was a leading voice for the rights of women throughout her life and we learn a lot about her and the history of the Centre from Kathleen in this segment of That Business Show.
During the 1970s and the era of the Equal Rights Amendment, several fledgling organizations serving women developed in the area. There was discussion among the Boards about combining all their grassroots efforts and ultimately, two organizations prevailed, The Spring and the Women’s Survival Center, later known as The Centre for Women. Led by then State Representative Helen Gordon Davis, a staunch proponent of women and minority rights, the founding group of volunteers wanted a place that could help women deal with the emotional and financial traumas that occurred as a result of divorce, widowhood, or separation. The typical consumer was a woman in her forties, who had not been employed in many years, if ever. She had two children and her income had dropped over 70% as a result of the change in her marital status. Both counseling and education programs were needed to help the women work through their feelings, face the economic realities and move ahead to become self-sufficient. With small federal grants and contributions, services started in July of 1978, and the passage of state Displaced Homemaker legislation several months later (which Representative Davis co-sponsored) provided more stable, on-going support for these services.
The Centre has evolved through the years but its mission to stand up for women’s rights has never wavered. Today, the Centre’s focus is on employment programs for women, a business center for women to learn about starting their own business and counseling services. They also have construction services such as the Seniors Home Improvement Program (SHIP), Women’s Building Futures and Pay it Forward Repairs which also work to benefit the community as a whole. Below are links for more information on these programs:
Employment Services – http://www.thecentre.org/programs/economic-empowerment
Women’s Business Centre – http://womensbusinesscentre.org/
Counseling and Wellness – http://www.thecentre.org/programs/counseling-a-wellness
Women Building Futures – http://www.thecentre.org/programs/services-for-older-adults/women-building-futures
Pay it Forward Repairs – http://www.thecentre.org/programs/services-for-older-adults/pay-it-forward-repairs
Located at 305 Hyde Park Ave in Tampa, FL, the Centre is a non-profit organization and helped over 3,000 women, girls and families last year and 60,000 since its inception. They are also the only SBA women’s designated business center on the West Coast of Florida. They have a sister organization, The Centre for Girls too which works with younger women on challenges such as financial literacy and leadership. Learn more about it at http://www.thecentreforgirls.org/ and more about the Women’s Centre at www.thecentre.org and catch this entire interview and many more entrepreneurial and business discussions at www.thatbusinessshow.com and videos at http://www.thatyoutubechannel.com!