Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the nonprofit Power to Decide, “the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy.”
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
When I started my career, I really wish I had truly understood the breadth of possibilities available to me. Early on, I had a limited view of what I could achieve professionally. But I have been extremely fortunate to have exceeded even my wildest professional dreams. So, what I have learned is that with grit and vision, anything is possible.
What is your current greatest professional challenge?
My greatest professional challenge is ensuring that every woman, no matter who she is or where she lives, has the same access to the information, services and agency to achieve what she needs to in order to live her best life. Such access has benefited my life in countless ways.
What inspires you most about your work?
My life’s work is to ensure that all people have equitable access to what they need to live their best life stories. This equitable access hinges on many educational and health factors, including getting pregnant and having children on one’s own terms and timelines. Consequently, the work we do at Power to Decide, which helps to make this possible for everyone, drives and inspires me every day.
How does your gender identity inform your work?
As someone who identifies as she/her/hers, I have experienced the joys and challenges of womanhood professionally and personally. Though I was not privileged as a child, I am undoubtedly privileged now. I am so grateful for my life and I want everyone to share the same opportunities. I work tirelessly to support all women who are peers, colleagues and team members to succeed. It is why I am so passionate about BCBenefits, a contraceptive access fund to help women with the costs associated with getting contraception. The fund is critical in ensuring that women struggling to make ends meet can get pregnant if and when they want to.
How can philanthropy support gender equity?
There are countless ways that the philanthropic community can support gender equity. My top recommendations are that they support programs, policies and systems that ensure that women can decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. That capacity is foundational for ensuring that women can achieve their educational and career aspirations. These investments are instrumental in effecting change and positive outcomes for all women across the country.
In the next 10 years, where do you see gender equity movements taking us?
The current political environment leaves us in a challenging time. That said, we have pulled together and mobilized to act. I am hopeful that Times Up and other movements will, in the short-run, hold the line on progress made and, in the long-run, advance us even further.
More on Ginny Ehrlich:
Ginny Ehrlich is the CEO of the nonprofit Power to Decide, “the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy.” She previously directed the childhood obesity prevention portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ehrlich also worked at the Clinton Foundation, where she served as the Founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, and she was a long-time CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Ehrlich started her career in the classroom as a health and sexuality educator, and has held several state and national leadership positions.
Ehrlich was recognized in 2012 by Health Leaders as one of the nation’s top change agents in the health sector. She lives in Washington, D.C., and she is an avid tennis player and runner.
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