Women’s Foundation of Alabama released its annual public policy platform, the first as Alabama’s only statewide public women’s foundation. The Agenda for Women focuses on non-partisan, commonsense policy solutions that advance economic equity for women through workplace supports and access to maternal healthcaAfter three consecutive years of securing legislative wins for women, the 2022 Agenda for Women drives forward focused squarely on key issues that impact women and communities.
“Systemic and sustainable change for women and communities requires an ‘all hands-on deck’ approach that includes philanthropic investments in proven programs alongside strategic advocacy for meaningful public policy solutions,” said Melanie R. Bridgeforth, Women’s Foundation of Alabama President & CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Alabama is significant and particularly detrimental to all women, making the need for the policies contained in the Agenda for Women more significant than ever before.”
Women’s Foundation of Alabama’s philanthropy and advocacy initiatives are grounded firmly in data to ensure the Foundation’s efforts are directed toward areas of significant impact for women and communities. According to the Status of Women in Alabama report:
- Women in Alabama earn only 73 cents for every dollar a man earns, compared to 82 cents for U.S. women overall.
- Women are more likely than men to have filed for unemployment during the pandemic accounting for 55.37 percent total claims.
- Women with children who wish to enter the workforce face steep child care costs: the annual cost for an infant (under 12 months old) in Alabama is $5,858, nearly 17 percent of women’s median annual earnings.
- Paying employed single women the same as comparable men would reduce the state’s poverty rate by nearly half.
- Raising Alabama women’s labor participation rate to the national average could add more than 80,000 women to the workforce.
“Accelerating economic opportunity for women is the lynchpin to solidifying the positive economic trajectory the Alabama Legislature has seen this quadrennium,” continued Bridgeforth. “Enacting the policies in the 2022 Agenda for Women will not only help Alabama women enter and stay in the workforce it will improve the economy as a whole which is a win for every Alabamian.”
The 2022 Agenda for Women includes the following commonsense policy priorities and goals:
- Grow the state’s investment in post-secondary education workforce models that strengthens the pipeline for women to move into in-demand jobs.
- Improve quality and accessibility to child care by securing state investments.
- Increase access to healthcare through Medicaid expansion which could provide health insurance for an additional 152,000 Alabama women according to The Women’s Fund’s 2019 Clearing the Path report, funding the Maternal Mortality Review Committee which works to understand and mitigate Alabama’s high rate of maternal death, and passage of anti-pregnancy discrimination legislation.
- Study wage disparities in Alabama through the creation of a legislative commission on workforce equity.
“More than 74 percent of women in Alabama are the breadwinner in their household and more than 60% of employed mothers have young children,” said Tiffany Johnson Cole, Women’s Foundation of Alabama Board Member and Advocacy Committee Chairman from Tuskegee, AL. “The 2022 Agenda for Women addresses head-on the policies and initiatives Alabama legislators must support to advance economic opportunity for women and communities. When Alabama women succeed in the workforce, Alabama families thrive, and communities grow.”
Since its inception 25 years ago, Women’s Foundation of Alabama has invested over $6 million in innovative solutions that accelerate economic opportunity for nearly 15,000 women and over 10,000 of their children. Women’s Foundation of Alabama is committed to gender equity and will continue to convene partners, community leaders, lawmakers, and philanthropic leaders to center the unique needs of women. The foundation will advance opportunities for women through expanded giving initiatives, dissemination of economic impact research and advancing commonsense, non-partisan policies to drive economic opportunity for women.
To learn more about the 2022 Agenda for Women, advocates are invited to attend the organization’s annual legislative day, Capitol Heels. Capitol Heels will be held in Montgomery on March 17 at 8:00 AM. Our annual advocacy day will be an inspiring and unique opportunity for women and our allies to connect with Alabama legislators, administration officials, and key staff.