Frances G. Francis
Founder and First President of the Batavia YWCA
A WOMAN ON A MISSION
As we embark on the celebration of our 110-year anniversary – we do so with profound pride! Our yearlong celebration will begin by paying tribute to our founder and first president of the Batavia YWCA, Frances G. Francis.
Frances G. Francis was born in 1848, a time when women did not enjoy many of the rights we now take for granted. Women could not own property, they couldn’t vote, and they could not pursue an education or career as we do today. Frances, like all women of that time, lived with these imposed restrictions simply because she was born a women. At the age of 60, after a lifetime of oppression, Frances knew she wanted to lead the force for change. She envisioned a different life for women, one that empowered them to reach their highest potential and achieve their greatest ambitions.
In the spring of 1909, Frances and several other like-minded women of Batavia decided that an organization was needed to provide for the “spiritual, moral, social and physical condition of women”. They held several meetings to formulate a plan to establish the first women’s organization in Batavia. It is no surprise that their plans were met with a significant amount of resistance from the men of the community, who frankly wanted the women to give up their foolish thoughts and stay home to tend to the house and children. Frances and her comrades persisted! Their collective persistence and grit helped them face seemingly insurmountable challenges. Their determination paid off, and finally on February 2, 1910, the “Batavia YWCA” was signed on as a Charter Member of the National YWCA.
Frances served as president for the first 10 years of the YWCA’s existence and then her older daughter, Alice Judd, followed in her mother’s footsteps as a major figure in theY’s early history. In fact, in 1960, The Golden Jubilee Anniversary was dedicated to Alice.
We are forever indebted to Frances and the pioneer women of Batavia for having the courage and conviction to stand up for women – their legacy lives on as we celebrate 110 years of the YWCA in Genesee County!
#2020 #womansrights #womanofthemonth #bataviahistory