Caroline Wilkerson: Co-President of Women Ready.

Meet Caroline, Co-President of Emory's newest organization, Women Ready. Check out below for more on Caroline and the great things she's doing to help the Atlanta community!

Name: Caroline Wilkerson

Year: Senior

Major: Human Health and Spanish

Hometown: Lenox, Massachusetts

Greek Affiliation: ADPi

Extracurricular Activities: Founder and co-president of Women Ready, Delivery Executive for Campus Kitchens, Harriet Tubman Women’s Clinic Medical Assistant, Research Assistant at Emory’s Department of Human Genetics, 1836 Dinner Host, Alpha Delta Pi Leadership Chair

Tameka: Describe yourself in 5 words.

Caroline: Optimistic, Happy, Fun and flirty

T: What sparked the inspiration Women Ready? Can you tell us a little bit about what it is?

C: Women Ready. is the culmination of experiences that I have had since coming to Emory three years ago. I first started working with the homeless population in Atlanta freshman year, when I began delivering Emory’s leftover food from our dining halls to homeless shelters in the greater Atlanta area through the organization Campus Kitchens. It really affected me- one time I walked into one of the homeless shelters, and some of the homeless people there started chanting “Em-or-y! Em-or-y!” They were so excited to eat food from the DUC that they were chanting our name. I mean, this is the same food that Emory students complain about all the time! I left the shelter realizing just how lucky I was.

Fast forward to last spring, when I started to work at Harriet Tubman Women’s Clinic. HTWC an Emory-run clinic that provides women with free pap smears, STD tests, and pelvic exams. This is extraordinarily important work because our clients don’t have health insurance to cover these exams. The clinic is entirely volunteer-based; Emory doctors, medical students, and undergraduates all help out each Sunday offer their services for free. I began to think about resource allocation in Atlanta, and how communities like Emory have so much, while there are still so many people here who have nothing.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized I had to act. Atlanta has a huge homeless population, one third of which are women. And feminine hygiene products are so, so expensive. I decided to use some of the resources that I have here and reallocate them to homeless women in the area. Women Ready. is an organization that partners with homeless shelters to provide homeless women with the feminine hygiene products they need every month. We aim to empower all women by helping them reclaim their dignity through access to proper hygiene supplies they otherwise could not afford on their own.

T: What are you goals for Women Ready.? Where do you see this going in the long-run?

C: Women Ready.’s mission is two-fold: first, we want to provide all women with the feminine hygiene products that they need monthly. Our second goal is to start a dialogue in Atlanta about menstrual justice (the idea that all women deserve access to feminine hygiene products, regardless of socioeconomic status.) Periods are still so taboo, even amongst women, and that is so problematic. How can we demand menstrual justice if we’re too embarrassed to say menstruation?

In the long term, I’d really like to expand this into a community project. I’ve already encountered so many students on campus who are passionate about this topic, and I know that we could grow a lot more if we started to connect with the greater Atlanta community.

T: What advice would you give to the readers out there about starting their own projects?

C: My greatest advice for people who are starting their own projects on campus is to reach out to others who are doing similar things in different places. Women Ready. started at the University of Delaware, then spread at UCLA, and is coming to Emory. I would not be where I am right now without the support and advice from Celeste Carswell and Sam D’Souza, two women who spearheaded the efforts of WR. at UCLA.

My other advice is to not be afraid to ask for help! Tackling a project like this can be intimidating and overwhelming. So I’m really thankful to have Lilly Hough as my best friend and co-president, who has been just as excited as I an about this project from the start.