Taylor Ortiz

2021 Golden Women

Main Scholarship Winner

Pursuing Master's Degree in Public Policy

University of Chicago - Harris School for Public Policy

Why continuing an education is so important to her:

"Continuing my education is a crucial life goal to me. Having been a teacher, I consider myself a lifelong learner and was constantly trying to grow in my craft as the times and the needs of students change. Going into policy, I also need to continue to learn and grow as the needs of our world and our citizens change day by day in our current society. Working in policy you also have to be willing to listen to perspectives different than yours to ensure that you are doing the right thing by those you serve. I also love learning new things and making new connections through new experiences. Travel and interacting with different cultures has been a way for me to achieve this in the past. Education is overall the key to creating a better life for myself and those around me, which is my ultimate goal."

Taylor proudly supports:

Woman in Public Policy (WiPP)

Education Policy Student Association (EPSA)

Taylor, what does the term “Golden Women” mean to you?

I think that being a Golden Woman means that you shine in your own way through deeds that make you feel whole, while working to lift up those around you. It means spreading your light through whatever passions you have—for me, those passions include art, service, teaching, social justice work, and my writing. Being a Golden Woman means spreading love, working to spread it to those around you and in your community. In my life, I will work to spread love on a grand scale through policy work that works towards social justice and the bettering of the lives of those in my communities and the communities of those who are different than me. I also believe being a Golden Woman goes back to one of my favorite quotes, “Lift as you climb.” As a woman, I am ambitious and driven to further my own career and achieve my own goals since so many women before me have fought for my rights to pursue (and even have) those goals. However, I would not be achieving my goals if I did not work to lift up those around me or those who do not have as much privilege as me in their upbringing or current circumstances. I loved the phrase “Golden Woman” as soon as I heard it and will aspire to add that to the list of self-identifiers I use as I go forth and continue my work and my schooling.

Taylor, describe something that is plaguing young women today and explain what can be done to turn it around? What can you do to help?

I think something that is plaguing young women today is the issue of both sexual and nonsexual based violence. One in five women have been the victim of sexual-based violence and one in four women experience intimate partner violence (not necessarily sexual abuse). These rates are unacceptable and heartbreaking. And often these issues not only impact adult women, but young girls. In my teenage years as well as in my adult years, I experienced an acts of violence and through social media today we are seeing more and more cases of young women sharing their stories at very young ages. This also puts women behind because trauma that this violence can bring upon a person can majorly effect their schooling and career goals, which I can speak for from personal experience. I think many things need to be done to stop this violence and we have hit the ground running with a good start. Global campaigns like the Me Too Movement have helped bring light to this issue and make it more acceptable to come forward and talk about. It has increased the value of hearing these women, listening to them, and being their allies to further the impact their healing process and to strengthen their voices. Movements like Mute R. Kelly and the annual Women’s March also help further bring this issue to the forefront. Yet, still some women are faced with even more harassment being called liars among other disrespectful rhetoric. We have to continue to call for the respect of women and call out those who seek to continue this rhetoric. This disrespect often occurs because women are seen as less than men or as an object for the taking/ridiculing. Continuing the fight for women’s respect in the workplace, in lawmaking, and in society will help combat this issue as well as reform in the process of reporting violence (as many women’s accounts are still not taken seriously). This is a group effort that women themselves cannot achieve on their own and it is a huge task. However, this is one of the many things I aspire to study and use my power and voice to make a positive impact on when I pursue my degree in public policy.