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NWLC Launches New State Playbook for Gender Equity

Today, the National Women’s Law Center released its State Playbook for Gender Equity, a new resource for state and local legislators and advocates fighting for equality and opportunity for women and girls at school, at work, at home, and in their communities.

People are demanding progress on women’s rights and states and cities are stepping up

Across the country women, girls, and all people who face gender-based discrimination are calling their elected officials, raising their voices in the Me Too movement, and organizing in the streets to break down barriers to their success and put in place policies that help them achieve their potential. With the Trump-Pence Administration attacking women’s and girls’ rights across the board and Congress stuck in gridlock, states and cities are leading the effort to empower women and girls. Just this year:

  • Five states have strengthened their equal pay laws, including New Jersey, which passed one of the strongest equal pay laws in the country;
  • South Carolina passed legislation requiring workplaces to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers who need them;
  • Washington passed a Reproductive Parity Act requiring health plans to cover contraception,and health plans that cover maternity care services to also cover abortion services;
  • Maryland passed a campus sexual assault bill restoring many protections for survivors that were rescinded by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and helping ensure that all Maryland students are treated fairly in campus sexual assault disciplinary proceedings;
  • The District of Columbia unanimously passed a discipline reform bill that would limit out-of-school suspensionsfor minor and subjective violations of the student code—stemming unfair discipline that pushes Black girls out of the classroom; and
  • States and cities across the country, from Tennessee to New York City, have passed legislation strengthening our sexual harassment laws.

The State Playbook for Gender Equity is the resource for seizing this moment to make real change

State and local legislators can seize this moment and make real change by advancing broad-based agendas that would remedy discrimination, ensure accountability, and provide key supports for women and girls. Recognizing that women and girls do not lead siloed lives but need access to reproductive health care, workplace equality, and safe and healthy learning environments to be economically secure and to thrive, the Playbook provides five legislative agendas that group together policies across issue areas:

Packaging policies together not only addresses the interconnectivity between issues, but can also be a successful strategy in passing legislation. States, including California, Delaware, and Minnesota, have been able to pass gender equity legislation by packaging together policies which address separate but intersecting issues in their constituents’ lives. In addition to the legislative agendas, the Playbook also includes fact sheets breaking down the details and talking points for the individual policies that make up the agendas.

To the state and local advocates and lawmakers stepping up to advance gender equity in the face of federal inaction and attacks: Thank You.  The National Women’s Law Center hopes the State Playbook for Gender Equity will be a resource to you. And for further assistance crafting policies, talking points, fact sheets, and for state-specific policy research and data, you can contact playbook@nwlc.org.