OKC native Kristin Davis returns to the state to head the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition.
BY MIA CANTU
In 2004, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked Oklahoma fourth among the worst states for women. That statistic motivates members of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition (OWC), which since its 2007 inception has advocated for policies that improve women’s lives. To further its efforts, the nonprofit last month hired its first executive director, Kristin Davis.
Davis grew up in Oklahoma City and later attended Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts women’s school in Massachusetts. She attributed her passion for women’s advocacy to her education there.
“It’s an amazing place with such a renowned history,” she said. “It opened my eyes to women’s studies and showed how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.”
Davis studied politics and international relations. Later, she obtained a Master’s of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.
After 10 years working in Dallas’ health care industry, Davis relocated to Phoenix, where she started Arizona’s longest-running column, “Volunteer Hero,” for the Arizona Republic. As a pro bono contributor, she profiled community nonprofits and encouraged philanthropy and volunteerism.
When you find out you’re not alone is when you find your voice.
In 2010, Davis became a victim of domestic abuse. She faced months of verbal abuse from her second husband, a U.S. air marshal.
“Never in a million years did I think domestic abuse could happen to me. I grew up in an all-American family, went to Casady School, studied at an Ivy League college, had three kids, and a nearly 20-year first marriage to a great guy,” said Davis. “But I’ve learned this abuse can touch everyone. It touches 1-in-4 women, and it doesn’t matter who you are.”
Worst states for women, 2004
50. South Carolina
47. Oklahoma Arkansas (tied)
Davis said she is thrilled to be back in Oklahoma and added that she is focused on the coalition’s seven key areas: female incarceration, domestic violence, health care, female employment, girls’ confidence, education and aging.
On April 4 OWC will host Advocacy Day at the state Capitol, an event designed to teach women how to advocate for their rights. Keynote speakers will be Davis and Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Wagoner, who has proposed a bill to extend protective orders from three to five years.
“For women who are in challenging situations, the most important thing is to reach out to others,” Davis said. “When you find out you’re not alone is when you find your voice.”
To register for Advocacy Day, visit oklahomawomenscoalition.org.