Shelton woman assumes national role as head of Ms. Foundation

Teresa C. Younger of Shelton will be the new president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national organization that seeks to elevate women’s voices and push for change.

“At this time of both feminist success and backlash against it, Teresa Younger is the perfect person to continue the grassroots strength of the Ms. Foundation, and build it into policy and protection against backlash,” said well-known feminist Gloria Steinem, who helped launch the foundation as well as Ms. Magazine.

“She knows how to make the needs of the majority of women into guiding principles of action,” Steinem said of Younger.

For the past seven years, Younger has been executive director of the Connecticut state legislature’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). She will begin her new position on June 16. The Ms. Foundation is based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

‘Excited to work on a national level’

“I’m saddened to be leaving an agency, staff and coalition partners I respect deeply for the amazing work they do,” Younger said of her state position. “But I am very excited to be able to work on a national level on many of the women’s issues PCSW works on statewide.”

Younger said the PCSW has “weathered budgetary storms and cutbacks” in recent years, while becoming “the state’s umbrella agency for all matters concerning women.”

Under Younger’s guidance, the PCSW has focused on issues such as the promotion of women to leadership positions, reproductive health, marriage equality, paid sick leave, the minimum wage, childcare, women’s retirement security, family medical leave insurance, penalties against human traffickers, consent laws in cases of sexual assault, and equal pay for equal work.

Formed in 1973, the same year as the Ms. Foundation, the PCSW is mandated by state statute to work on women-related matters such as economic security, health and safety, and the elimination of gender discrimination.

Promoting progressive causes

The Ms. Foundation for Women champions women’s progressive causes and works toward advancing solutions that empower women, especially those in marginalized communities.

For four decades, the Ms. Foundation has worked to secure women’s rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant, and women of color.

The foundation invests funds, time, expertise and training in nearly 100 organizations focused on women’s health and reproductive justice, economic security and safety.

Praise from governor, lieutenant governor

Both Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman praised Younger’s leadership at the PCSW.

Malloy said Younger has been “a steadfast partner and friend ... From our push for pay equity to our recent enactment of an increased minimum wage, Connecticut has greatly benefited from her work.”

Wyman called Younger “a tremendous advocate and leader, providing a strong and sure voice for equality, fairness, and justice for women in Connecticut.”

“The Ms. Foundation and women across the nation-will certainly benefit from her broad expertise, her diligence, and her tirelessness,” said Wyman, who previously served in the state legislature.

Younger’s background

Before serving as head of PCSW, Younger was the director of affiliate organizational development at the American Civil Liberties Union national office. She was responsible for managing the state offices.

She previously had worked as head of Connecticut’s ACLU office, being the first woman and the first African-American to hold this post.

Younger also is a lifelong Girl Scout, and served two terms as board president of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut. She has served on other nonprofit boards and has received awards for her commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

“Protecting our freedoms [is] really important to me,” she told the Shelton Herald during a 2013 interview.

Younger grew up in North Dakota.