Outlook Magazine - Fall 2021

lum Julie Kohler is the host of a popular podcast that examines the politics of white women. ‘Get involved’ Alum hosts politically focused podcast that has gained national acclaim A

Julie Kohler, who graduated from UW-Stout in 1995, with degrees in human development and family studies and psychology, started the Wonder Media Network podcast White Picket Fence in October 2020. The show talks about the fractured – and often frustrating – politics of white women. It delves into the questions of why white women have, throughout history, aligned their politics with white men and not women of color and what to do about it. The podcast was listed in Apple’s New and Noteworthy collection and made Luminary’s list of top five recommended podcasts. Kohler highlights the importance of community organizing work. “How can you create policies that lift up and benefit everyone?” Kohler said. “Get involved in the democratic process and really work for changes at that local, state and federal level and build a commitment to a strong multiracial democracy.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, many women ended up as caregivers and educators for their children and continued to work, Kohler said. “There are going to be huge deficits we are going to have to make up for the over two million women who have been pushed out of the labor force this year because of their caregiving responsibilities,” Kohler said. “The path back for a lot of women is not clear. There could be clear economic consequences that could linger for years and an entire generation. It’s an incredibly dire situation for gender equality.” The upside is that more attention is being given to caregiving than Kohler has ever seen in policy and political conversations. “It is now recognized it is not just a women’s policy or a children’s policy but as an essential economic policy,” she said. “We cannot have a strong economy unless we have greater public support for caregiving.” Kohler is the president of BMK Consulting, a philanthropic and nonprofit firm. For the last 10 years she served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director to the progressive donor network Democracy Alliance and as a fellow in residence at the National Women’s Law Center. At UW-Stout, Kohler interned in Washington, D.C., at the Child Welfare League of America and at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. Kohler said every organization should identify clear equity, diversity and inclusivity goals and benchmarks and continually reflect on progress. “We all can do better. So, let’s find a way to strengthen and build those bridges and to get more people engaged in this work.”

Julie Kohler


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