Our Partners

Hmong Women Achieving Together

"Talkin' 'Bout our Generations"

The approach of the organization Hmong Women Achieving Together (HWAT) is holistic and thoughtful. As they engage with the Hmong community, they are thinking about gender issues, intergenerational differences, and differences of education and background. HWAT's responsive approach helps them to effective in reaching out to community and addressing systemic issues without losing sight of the important distinctions and differences within members of their own culture.

HWAT photo

In 1998, a group of Hmong women leaders from around the Twin Cities metropolitan area gathered at a retreat to talk about issues affecting Hmong women and girls. From there, a group of core members formed to implement the mission of preventing violence against Hmong women and girls by ending sexism in the community. Now, ten years later, HWAT's energy and mission is still driven by a dedicated core group of volunteers.

As HWAT works to mobilize Hmong women and girls to actively engage and participate in their families and communities, they are making an impact, little by little, to elevate the status of Hmong women and to empower them to shape their own lives. HWAT crafts projects to cast a wide net towards the community to change in ways that will be more inclusive of Hmong women at the decision making table.

Beyond those who are directly served, HWAT also works to inform others about the plight of Hmong women and improve opportunites for their voices to be heard and their issues to be championed. Specifically, HWAT engages in coalition building, resource sharing, leadership development, and equity programs.

So how do HWAT's four strategies come to life? One example of their current gender and equity programming is exploring how Hmong men can be stronger stakeholders and allies in social justice issues. Through HWAT's community engagement process, they heard from Hmong men that they need more support among their peers. Hmong men recognize the need to work on social justice and gender issues, but they are often unsure about how to bring up these types of conversations, and they also often feel threatened by it. To address this need, HWAT is now exploring how to support and guide a men's group that could address such issues.

"We are engaging community in a different way; finding key messages tailored to different audiences." -Mai Moua, consultant and HWAT member

At the completion of HWAT's community engagement process, the group is extremely hopeful. For one thing, nearly all community members who have spoken with HWAT agree that there hasn't been enough dialogue about gender issues in the community. As the organization envisions a world where Hmong women and girls are valued and supported to achieve their highest potential in all of their roles, they recognize that the community must begin by engaging in dialogue, recognizing different perspectives, and connecting people to work towards this vision. In HWAT's view, a society that honors the choices that Hmong women make will ultimately help empower them to direct their own destinies.