Policy Advocacy and Legislative Agenda
The Mission of YWCA Greenwich is: “Eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”
To support the YWCA Greenwich mission and as proposed by the Strategic Plan, the following is an agenda for legislative advocacy during FY 2020. YWCA Greenwich will advocate at the local, state and federal levels of government within the limits allowed by law.
1. Economic Empowerment and Advancement
YWCA Greenwich believes that all women and girls have a right to be confident, self-sufficient and supported to achieve their greatest potential. In FY 2020 YWCA Greenwich will advocate on the following issues:
Pay Equity – On average, women in Connecticut are paid 79 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, and for black women it’s 58 cents and Latina women it’s 47 cents. YWCA Greenwich will support efforts to lower the gender pay gap and provide equal pay for the same or substantially similar work. YWCA Greenwich will also support efforts to encourage employers to examine pay practices and take active steps to address wage discrepancies, as well as programs that encourage STEM education and create opportunities for women and girls in non-traditional industries.
Paid Family Medical Leave – With the passage of the state’s PFML law in 2019, we will continue to monitor the establishment of this insurance program through a quasi-public authority; the administration and cost of this program; and how the economic security of participants is impacted.
Work Supports and Advancement – YWCA Greenwich will advocate for programs and work supports (such as health insurance and childcare subsidies) that promote educational equity, female entrepreneurship, access to capital, employment stability and long-term economic security.
2. Racial Justice and Civil Rights
YWCA Greenwich is on a mission to promote inclusion and dignity for all in our community. This requires YWCA Greenwich to support laws that fight against all forms of discrimination. In FY 2020, YWCA Greenwich will focus on:
Human Trafficking – Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. YWCA Greenwich, along with a coalition of partners, will work to strengthen laws that will charge traffickers and “Johns” with crimes, promote public education about human trafficking and provide support for victims. YWCA Greenwich will support legislation that strengthens law enforcement approaches to eliminating sex trafficking and rescuing victims; provides funding strategies for victim services and greater resources for the prosecution of traffickers; and provides greater accountability for this issue within state government.
Transgender Rights – YWCA Greenwich will oppose any attempt to roll back laws supporting equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
Housing – YWCA Greenwich will support legislative efforts to fight discrimination in housing.
Health equity – YWCA Greenwich will support legislative efforts to fight discrimination in access to healthcare or healthcare outcomes based on gender or race, including preserving women’s access to reproductive health services and promoting equity in the supply of feminine products in public school systems and other appropriate venues.
3. Women’s Safety
The safety and well-being of women and their children is a priority for YWCA Greenwich. Supporting efforts that protect women against domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and stalking are essential to our mission of empowering women and girls.
Domestic Violence – YWCA Greenwich will collaborate with national, state and local agencies to promote legislation and policies that serve and protect victims and survivors of domestic violence, including immigrant victims and victims seeking asylum for themselves and their children. These efforts include:
- YWCA Greenwich will work with state and local government to secure funding to provide needed services to survivors of domestic violence, including 24/7 hotline, offsite emergency shelter, individual and group counseling for adults and children, criminal court services, Civil Legal Clinic, and all protective and supportive interventions for victims.
- YWCA Greenwich will work with state and local government to secure funding to administer prevention and education programs for students enrolled in the public schools and throughout the community.
- YWCA Greenwich will support efforts to reform the Family Court system, including enhanced judicial training and procedures, and enhanced court services training, all with a view to reducing legal abuse and promoting fair and expeditious legal outcomes for victims.
- YWCA Greenwich will support efforts to keep victims safe in their homes, including requiring landlords to change apartment locks at the cost of tenants who are domestic violence victims when a judicial order is issued against an abuser.
- YWCA Greenwich will support efforts to protect the privacy of victims of domestic violence at risk in connection with the disclosure of public records through, for example, the sale of voter registration information.
Domestic Violence and Firearms – Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm. YWCA Greenwich will support legislation that closes loopholes in the federal laws that restrict access to firearms by domestic abusers, including the implementation of universal background checks. YWCA Greenwich will also work with CT state lawmakers to strengthen gun laws related to domestic violence and protection orders concerning extreme risk.
Gender-based violence – YWCA Greenwich will support state and federal legislation that addresses gender-based violence, including:
- Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including the recent amendment requiring confiscation of an abuser’s gun when a temporary restraining order is put in place.
- Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the federal legislation that expired in 2015 and must be reauthorized in order to renew funding for crucial services to domestic violence victims, including emergency shelters, crisis hotlines and other support programs.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment - With the passage of important legislation in these areas during the 2019 session, YWCA Greenwich will support efforts to prosecute aggressors pursuant to new, extended statutes of limitation; to educate employers pursuant to new sexual harassment training requirements, and to educate the public on these issues.
4. Funding of Critical Programs and Initiatives
YWCA Greenwich will advocate for the passage of funding bills on the municipal, state and federal level that support the above agenda, YWCA programs, and issues related to the mission and strategic plan of the organization.
5. Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
YWCA Greenwich is one of 18 domestic violence service agencies that make up the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) CCADV's 2020 Public Policy Priorities highlight focus areas for CCADV over the coming year to strengthen both statutory and administrative policy and practice that help domestic violence survivors to achieve safety and stability. The policy priorities seek to address the large number of complex factors that impact the ability of both the survivor and the family as a whole to live a life free from violence.