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Emily Evans and her grandmother's 1987 RV, ready for the Listen to Her tour.

If you see a 1987 RV rolling into town near you—bedecked with decals and flags—and you’re one of the state’s 1.9 million women, get ready to have your say: this is the Women’s Foundation of Oregon’s tour bus, and it’s coming to hear your story.

“We are hoping to hear from hundreds of women and girls in Oregon about the challenges and struggles and contributions that dictate their everyday lives,” says executive director Emily Evans of the 'Listen to Her' tour.  “We’re about to produce the first comprehensive report on the status of women and girls in Oregon in 20 years, and we’ve spent the last seven months putting together all the data and statistics. But what the numbers can’t tell us are stories of real Oregon women and girls in communities all over the state and what matters the most to them.”

With that objective in mind, Evans and her colleagues at the Women's Foundation—a public foundation focused on addressing challenges faced by Oregon women—are headed off on a 12-stop tour, kicking off in Portland on Thursday (March 31), with events bringing together women all over the state to have their voices heard.

 “All the folks that come to each event will be able to give us feedback in about six different ways,” Evans says. “Everything from stickers to individual stories and drawings, to a storytelling booth, to text polling, to small focus group breakout sessions.”

Issues that they expect to hear about include caregiving—of children, the elderly, family—as well as time pressures and the fact that women “typically have about two hours less per day than their male counterparts” for leisure and personal time.

The stories they glean from events in Newport, Bend, Pendleton, and more will feed into the report. “No story will go unutilized, whether it be people texting in about how safe they feel or what kind of educational opportunities they have,” says Evans, who says those who respond can choose to be featured in the report itself.

“We’ve come to understand that a lot of listening tours aren’t really about listening, they’re about talking,” says Evans. “That’s not what our listening tour is about. We’re designing them so we’ll be doing the listening for 90 percent of the event.”

(Read more about great Oregon women here, where we interviewed ten extraordinary women  fighting for change, disrupting the system, and staying loud and very proud.)

The 'Listen to Her' tour hits PSU’s Student Union Ballroom on Thursday, March 31. For a full schedule, click here.

 

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