Resource

NWLC Joins Women’s Community Statement of Values Letter to President Trump

March 2, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As advocates for women’s rights, equality, justice and inclusion, we have come together to outline core domestic policy priorities that will help ensure that all women in the United States have the opportunity to succeed and thrive. From criminal justice reform to reproductive rights and health policy, from education to workplace policy, from income security to violence prevention, and from child care to a fair and just immigration system, it is critical that the administration address and promote women’s interests in each of the policy decisions it makes. Women’s success has been the nation’s success. When we have an equal opportunity to succeed, our entire society and economy benefit.

Our priorities reflect the importance of effective policies serving women across their lifespans and regardless of income, identity or background. These priorities put the needs of women of color, immigrant women, LGBTQ people, women with disabilities, and women with low incomes front and center – recognizing that too often their experiences have been at the margins. When the needs of women and girls – particularly those needs most important to communities of color and immigrant communities – are an afterthought, justice is denied and the ability to create effective change is undermined. As we build the America of today and tomorrow, our economy, families and communities will be strengthened only if we incorporate principles of fairness, equality and inclusiveness that enable women of every race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, immigration status, family status, disability status, sexual orientation and gender expression to prosper.

We will evaluate your administration against these markers and we will measure your administration’s success by how women have fared during your tenure.

These priorities fall into six broad categories:
1. Creating Workplaces that Work for Women and Their Families
2. Securing Quality Health Care and Reproductive Rights
3. Ensuring Income Security for All Families
4. Addressing and Preventing Violence
5. Building a Quality, Affordable and Equitable Education System
6. Securing Women’s Equality Under Law

I. Creating Workplaces that Work for Women and Their Families

The facts are clear: America does not work without women. Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families. In 60 percent of married-parent households, both parents hold paying jobs, and in households headed by unmarried women, 71 percent of mothers hold paying jobs. Women will also soon be the majority of college-educated workers. But many of America’s workplace policies, standards, and practices have not changed with the times and because of that, America is losing out on women’s participation in the labor force relative to other countries.

Overall, women in the United States who work full-time, year-round are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men who work full-time, year-round, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,470. Black women are typically paid 63 cents and Latinas are paid just 54 cents, while white, non-Hispanic women are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Asian women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, even though some ethnic groups of Asian women fare much worse.

Over a lifetime, the wage gap costs women and their families hundreds of thousands of dollars – funds that could fuel their ability to make ends meet, build better lives for themselves and their children, and stimulate the country’s economic growth.

Millions of American women, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, still live without fundamental protections of their right to work and support their families. Women struggling to honor both their duties in the workplace and as caregivers to children or aging relatives at home often pay a particularly steep price in terms of wages, promotions, and retirement security.

Our commitment to fairer, safer, healthier, and more inclusive workplaces is steadfast, especially in an economy in which workers are too easily discarded and traditional employment relationships undermined by the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.

We will keep fighting for a $15 minimum wage for all workers, including tipped workers, and guaranteed access to paid sick days; strengthened equal pay protections that provide stronger protections and more meaningful remedies; paid family and medical leave that offers adequate wage replacement and covers both women and men for parental, family, and self-care needs; affordable and available child care and early learning for all families, especially for those most in need; fair work schedule protections; protections for pregnant workers; collective bargaining rights; protections against wage theft; and stronger anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. We will stand against any efforts to weaken or undermine our hard-won rights and protections and hold accountable any elected or appointed leaders who seek to erode or undermine these rights.

America can only be great when women can participate fully in the workplace, and when our leaders support working women and their families.

II. Securing Quality Health Care and Reproductive Rights

Health care is key to women’s well-being and economic stability. This includes a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health decisions – whether using birth control or obtaining an abortion – decisions that affect not only her health but also the course of her life and the opportunities she will have in education and employment. Unfortunately, the attacks on women’s health, especially reproductive health care, are more relentless than ever, and the enormous progress women have made in health care and health insurance is at great risk.

We are committed to protecting essential laws and programs – like the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Title X program – that keep women healthy, that provide the critical insurance coverage and health services they need, and that protect women from medical debt and bankruptcy. We are committed to improving these policies when needed, to ensure equitable access to health care for all women, regardless of their income or where they get their insurance. We will oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would send women back to a time when insurance companies treated being a woman as a preexisting condition, refused to cover the important services women need, like maternity care, and charged women more than men for the same care. We will oppose efforts to block grant the Medicaid program, impose caps, or approve waivers that impose work requirements or otherwise significantly alter the nature of the program. We will oppose efforts to privatize Medicare, a program that serves as the primary source of health care and the lynchpin of financial independence for millions of older women.

We commit to protecting an individual’s right to make personal decisions about whether and when to have children. We will oppose any attempts to interfere with this right, including any restrictions on abortion access, efforts to penalize women’s reproductive health providers like Planned Parenthood, efforts to block comprehensive sex education, or policies allowing the use of religion to discriminate against those seeking reproductive health care. We will oppose efforts to eliminate or deny funding for reproductive health services, which would fall most heavily on low-income women and women of color.

We will keep working to protect and improve our health care system so that it better responds to women’s health care needs throughout their lives. We also commit to improving and strengthening our investment in medical research that is responsive to and inclusive of women’s unique health needs, especially the needs of women of color, who are disproportionately excluded from medical research. We will fight for a health care system that provides all women, regardless of race or ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, income, immigration status, or geography with access to high-quality, patient-centered care, including reproductive health care.

III. Ensuring Income Security for All Families

America must maintain and expand its commitment to supporting people as they build better lives for their children and families. Despite progress in the last eight years, too many families still live in poverty. Nearly 17 million women – one in eight – live in poverty, and women are disproportionately at risk – women are 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men.viii The picture is even more dire for single mothers, women of color, LGBTQ women, and elderly women. More than one in three single mothers, one in four African American women, more than one in five Hispanic women, and nearly one in five elderly women living alone are poor. And as noted above, the continuing attacks on women’s long-established rights to decide if, when, and how to become parents also undermine the economic security of millions of families.

Investments in people are investments in America’s strength and promise. We urge more investments in low-income families, more investments in early learning and quality, affordable child care, with higher wages for the care workforce and strengthened retirement security. These investments are critical to improving the economic security of low-income families and the prosperity of the nation as a whole. For instance, a high-quality early childhood development program could deliver an annual return of 13 percent per child on upfront costs through better long-term outcomes in education, health, employment, and social behavior.

We will oppose efforts to block grant or otherwise cut social safety net programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; the Women, Infant, and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program; or rental assistance. Such programs are critical for low-income families and individuals and particularly for women who are more likely than men to be poor at all stages of their lives due to ongoing employment discrimination, overrepresentation in low-wage jobs, and greater responsibilities for unpaid caregiving. The weakening of these critical supports or stricter eligibility requirements would erode the income and economic security of women and families, and particularly harm our oldest and youngest people.

IV. Addressing and Preventing Violence

If we are not safe, we cannot be free. Violence by private individuals and the state continues to violate the most basic human rights of women, LGBTQ individuals, communities of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. We must not only address but also prevent violence in all of its forms – gun violence, gender-based violence, and human trafficking, as well as state-sanctioned violence in the form of police brutality, mass incarceration, and immigrant detention and deportation. We must work to reform the criminal justice system so that people of color do not face disproportionate sentences or egregiously harsh treatment. We must safeguard the rights and freedoms of immigrants, and especially immigrant women and children in our communities. We oppose the unconstitutional and brutal executive actions that target immigrant and refugee families.

Women cannot succeed and thrive until we address head-on and take action to prevent the pervasiveness of gender-based violence in this country. Women and girls of all ages, income levels, racial and ethnic communities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious affiliations are subjected to shockingly high rates of family and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking. One in three women has experienced intimate partner violence, one in five has been raped, and one in six has been stalked during their lifetime. These forms of violence have far-reaching consequences for women and families, from negative physical and mental health, to job loss, homelessness, and for too many, incarceration in juvenile and adult detention facilities. We will oppose any efforts to gut core programs designed to address gender-based violence. We will keep fighting to take real steps to ensure freedom and justice for all people.

V. Building a Quality, Affordable and Equitable Education System

To fulfill its promise now and in the future, America must ensure every child, regardless of where she or he lives, has access to a world-class public education. Our public schools must ensure that students are safe, can nurture and develop their talents, and can gain the tools and knowledge they need to become successful citizens. Yet, too many students across the country face barriers that impede their access to education, and young women in particular continue to be denied equal opportunities in many important educational programs, including the science and technology programs that undergird our future economy. Sexual harassment and assault continue to deprive women and girls of educational opportunities. Pregnant and parenting students face discriminatory barriers that push them out of school. And transgender, queer and gender nonconforming students are at an increased risk of gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination in school.

Young women of color continue to face constrained educational opportunities in K-12 education and to lag behind white women, and men, in admissions to institutions of higher education. Girls of color experience disproportionately high rates of school suspensions and expulsions, and Black girls face higher risks of exclusion from school for subjective behavioral infractions.

Title IX and other civil rights laws must be fully and vigorously enforced so that sex discrimination in our schools is finally eliminated. We must invest in early learning programs and urge states and school districts to close resource and opportunity gaps, protect the ability of public schools to provide the education that students need, and make sure that private and charter schools are held to the same standards as our public schools. We must ensure college is accessible to all students regardless of gender, income, or caregiving status and oppose predatory, usurious practices that lead to insurmountable, crushing student debt.

VI. Securing Women’s Equality Under Law

Women and LGBTQ individuals have made great progress in securing fundamental and equal rights over the last half century, but the Constitution does not explicitly affirm that rights must not be abridged on the basis of sex. The U.S. Constitution should be amended to explicitly enshrine women’s full and equal rights, ensuring that equality for women will always be a bedrock principle for our nation, and the United States should ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, and ratified by 189 countries.

The judiciary must also respect and reflect well-established and long-held rights. Federal court decisions also affect every aspect of women’s lives, from the schools we can attend, to our ability to decide whether and when to have children, to the safety of the air we breathe, to our voting rights. The courts serve as the critical backstop and protector of the fundamental rights and freedoms that define our democracy, including civil rights, our right to privacy, and religious freedom. Federal judges must be independent, fair-minded, well-qualified, and diverse, understand the real impact of the law on women’s lives, and respect the precedents protecting women’s rights.

We must also guarantee voting rights, which are the bedrock of our democracy and oppose any efforts to undermine fundamental civic engagement through restrictive laws or by permitting voter intimidation and harassment.

****

As President, you represent all of America’s people – including its 157 million women – and your job is to build a more fair, just and equal nation with opportunity for all. We urge your administration to build upon the gains made for women and to continue the work of your predecessors in opening doors, breaking down barriers, and rejecting policies that undermine opportunities for women to succeed.

Sincerely,

1,000 Days
9to5, National Association of Working Women
9to5 California
9to5 Colorado
9to5 Georgia
9to5 Wisconsin
A Better Balance
Advocates for Youth
African American Health Alliance
AIDS Ride South Africa, Ltd.
Amara Legal Center
American Academy of Nursing
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Civil Liberties Union
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers
American Nurses Association
Atlanta Women for Equality
Basic Rights Oregon
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Better Idaho
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Black Women’s Roundtable
Bozeman Birders
Break the Cycle
BreastfeedLA
Broward Women’s Emergency Fund, Inc.
Business and Professional Women/St. Petersburg-Pinellas (BPW/SPP)
Cadwell & Company
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Cambodian Women Networking Association
CAMEO-California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
Caring Economy Campaign
CASA
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Reproductive Rights
Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Women Take Action
Citizen Action of New York
Cleveland Jobs with Justice
Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Chicago Chapter Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition of Labor Union Women Rhode Island
Coalition of Labor Union Women St. Louis Chapter
Greater New Jersey Coalition of Labor Union Women
Los Angeles Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women
Maryland State CLUW
Neshaminy Bucks CLUW
Philadelphia Chapter of Coalition of Labor Union Women
San Francisco Chapter Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking
Communications Workers of America
Courage Campaign
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund
DC Abortion Fund
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Economic Policy Institute
EMILY’s List
Envision Planning, LLC
Equal Pay Today!
Equal Rights Advocates
Equality California
Family Equality Council
Family Forward Oregon
Family Values @ Work
Labor Project for Working Families in partnership with FV@W
Feminist Majority
Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW/FL)
FORGE, Inc.
Forward Together
Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
Hope’s Door
Human Impact Partners
Human Rights Campaign
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Independent Women’s Organization
Institute for Science and Human Values
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Ipas
Jewish Women International (JWI)
Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York
Keystone Progress
Know Your IX
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Pittsburgh LCLAA
Langelan & Associates
Lean On And Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy
Legal Aid at Work (formerly Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center)
Legal Voice
LIFT
Lift Louisiana
Louisiana Business & Professional Women’s Organization
Louisiana Progress Action Make it Work
Maine Women’s Lobby
MANA, A National Latina Organization
Maryland Working Families
MomsRising.org
Monmouth County Democratic Women’s Caucus (New Jersey)
Montana Women For
Montgomery County Branch, NAACP (Maryland)
Ms. Foundation for Women
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Alameda County/Tri-Valley NOW (ACT NOW)
Alaska NOW Chapter
Arlington, Virginia NOW
Bay County NOW
Brevard NOW
California NOW
Capital Area Missouri NOW
Central New York NOW
Central Oregon Coast NOW
Central Phoenix/Inez Casiano NOW Chapter
Charlottesville NOW (CNOW), Virginia
Chicago NOW
DC NOW
Durham, North Carolina NOW
Fayetteville NOW
Fergus Falls Area NOW
Florida NOW
Fort Myers/Naples NOW
Gainesville Area NOW
Greater Portland NOW
Greater Rochester Chapter NOW
Hollywood NOW
Illinois NOW
Indiana NOW
Jacksonville Area NOW
Madison NOW
Maryland NOW
Middlesex County, New Jersey NOW
Minnesota NOW
Monroe County, Indiana NOW
Montana Chapter of NOW
Montgomery County (Maryland) NOW
Morgantown, West Virginia NOW
Morris County NOW
New Mexico NOW
Ni-Ta-Nee NOW
North Carolina NOW
North Dallas NOW (Dallas, Texas)
Northern New Jersey Chapter, NOW
Northern Virginia NOW Chapter
NOW Baton Rouge
NOW – Broward County Chapter
NOW Campus Affiliate of Shortridge High School (Indiana)
NOW, Columbia Area
NOW, Indianapolis Chapter
NOW, Massachusetts Chapter
NOW, Mid-Suffolk Chapter
NOW, Missouri
NOW of New Jersey
NOW New York
NOW Palm Beach County
NOW, Philadelphia Chapter
NOW – Pinellas County Florida
NOW – Shreveport/Bossier Chapter
NOW, Southwest Pennsylvania Chapter
NOW, West Suburban Illinois Chapter
Ocean County NOW (New Jersey)
Oregon NOW
Pasco County NOW (Florida)
Pennsylvania NOW
Rockbridge Valley NOW (Virginia)
Sacramento NOW
San Diego Area Chapter of NOW
San Gabriel Valley/Whittier NOW
San Joaquin County NOW (California)
San Luis Obispo NOW (California)
Santa Fe NOW
Seattle Chapter NOW
Shore Area Chapter – NOW (New Jersey)
South Jersey NOW – Alice Paul chapter
South Willamette Valley chapter of NOW
Southwest Idaho NOW
Spokane Area NOW
Sun Cities West Valley NOW
Tallahassee, Florida NOW
Thurston County NOW (Washington)
Toledo NOW
Triad NOW
Union County NOW
Vienna Area NOW
Virginia NOW
Washington State NOW
West Pinellas NOW
Westchester NOW
Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Chapter of NOW
Women of Color and Allies Essex County NOW Chapter
Young Feminists and Allies: NOW’s Inaugural Virtual Chapter
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Women’s Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
NC Women Matter
New York Paid Leave Coalition
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs – NYC
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Carolina Federation of Business & Professional Women
North Carolina Justice Center
North Carolina Women United
North Dakota Women’s Network
Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network
Parent Voices CA
Physicians for Reproductive Health
PL+US Paid Leave for the U.S.
PoliticaNC
Population Connection Action Fund
Population Institute
PRBB Foundation
Pro Choice Coalition of Broward County
ProgressNow
Progress Michigan
Progress Virginia
ProgressNow Colorado
Progress Ohio
Public Justice Center
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need
ReSisters of Southern Ocean County
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
RN Therapeutics
ROADwomen, Houston, TX
Rockefeller Family Fund
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
State Innovation Exchange
Stop Street Harassment
Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment, Inc.
The Breeding Ground
The Movement Advancement Project
The Rachtman Group LLC
The Relentless Feminist
The Space Coast Progressive Alliance
The United State of Women
The Voices and Faces Project
The Voter Participation Center
The Women’s Information Network (WIN NYC)
UltraViolet United For Equality, LLC
United Steelworkers (USW)
Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
US Woman and Cuba Collaboration Unitarian Universalist Voices for Reproductive Freedom
Virgin Islands Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC)
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Westchester Women’s Agenda
Women and Girls Foundation
Women Employed
Women Graduates – USA
Women of Reform Judaism
Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County (Maryland)
Women’s Law Project
Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund
Working Families Party
YWCA USA
YWCA Ames-ISU
YWCA Asheville
YWCA Aurora
YWCA Brooklyn
YWCA Central Carolinas
YWCA Central Maine
YWCA Central Massachusetts
YWCA Clark County
YWCA Elgin
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
YWCA Kauai
YWCA Kitsap County
YWCA Madison
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
YWCA Mohawk Valley
YWCA Mount Desert Island
YWCA New Mexico
YWCA North Orange County
YWCA Northcentral Pennsylvania
YWCA of Austin
YWCA of Binghamton and Broome County
YWCA of Greater Flint
YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County
YWCA of the University of Illinois
YWCA Olympia
YWCA Orange County, New York
YWCA San Francisco & Marin
YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish
YWCA Silicon Valley
YWCA South Hampton Roads
YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
YWCA Southern Arizona
YWCA Spokane
YWCA Warren
YWCA York
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester

It's time for change, and we must act now. Time's up.