On International Women’s Day, do more than celebrate women’s history—shape it. Support our 2021 Women’s History Month campaign.
“I have impacted women’s history by changing the trajectory of my own life.”Onasia, Hot Bread Kitchen workforce member
Last March, at the start of Women’s History Month, we had no idea how much women’s history was about to change. Since the beginning of the pandemic, women have been disproportionately impacted by job loss, childcare challenges, and unequal distribution of household labor. For our program members, this has meant facing tough choices like keeping family members safe or leaving home to support their households. For others, like Onasia, a return to work is unimaginable until schools safely reopen for good.
Onasia came to Hot Bread Kitchen after discovering her love for baking and selling cookies, an activity she’s able to enjoy with her 17-year-old daughter, who has multiple disabilities. “I always wanted to be a teacher and I always enjoyed cooking and baking,” Onasia said. “Initially I wanted to start a bakery and hire people with special needs, a safe space where they can come and be themselves without judgement.” She completed our workforce program and was able to work for one day before COVID-19 shut down New York City.
Now, with no childcare and her daughter in school just two days a week, Onasia is unable to return to work. Through myriad obstacles, she was able to graduate college and pursue a Master’s degree as a young parent, but now Onasia’s professional dreams have been put on hold while she focuses on how she and her daughter will survive.
“In the very beginning, I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I have received so much support from Hot Bread Kitchen through the pandemic. I hadn’t had a job, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to get unemployment; Hot Bread Kitchen helped with that. I got stipends that helped me out greatly. I don’t know of any other agency that would have supported in the way Hot Bread Kitchen has.”Onasia, Hot Bread Kitchen workforce member
The obstacles Onasia and so many of our members are facing right now are monumental. They are among thousands of women pushed out of the workforce, a shift that impacts their livelihoods and future economic stability as well as generations of progress towards gender equity.
This Women’s History Month, Hot Bread Kitchen is shaping history, not just celebrating it. As we honor International Women’s Day, we are working to create a better future history for women—working women, mothers, caretakers, friends, daughters, sisters. We have adapted our programming to meet people where they are and partner with them as they plan for new careers, pivot their businesses, and maintain stability for their families. Our programs are human-centered, informed directly by what our members say they need—so that we can look back at this moment and know that we changed the face of women’s history together.
“Hot Bread Kitchen is asking us what we need and what we see, listening, and then going back and figuring out how you can support us. It’s amazing to give women not just a skillset, but the opportunity to start their own business and make a living when something like a pandemic happens. It’s not just a cookie cutter thing.”Onasia, Hot Bread Kitchen Workforce Member
But we need your support. We are not just working to help individual women like Onasia change their lives; we are providing a system of support that all women need to enter the workforce and stay there.
We are asking you, our community, to join us today as we work to ensure this historic moment is a movement towards progress. Will you help us change women’s future history?