Erin Ryan · July 7, 2016
On June 28th, we stood with fellow advocates for women and families for a press conference to announce the formation of a new coalition called the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network. The coalition, convened by Innovation Ohio Education Fund, is comprised of over 20 organizations from across the state that will work collaboratively to advocate for public policy that positively impacts women and families.
FIGHTING FOR OHIO’S WOMEN AND FAMILIES
Over two-thirds of women in Ohio are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinner for families. Yet public policies do not reflect the changing dynamics of the workforce, and have failed to take into account the role that women play in supporting families. These were fundamental reasons for forming the Women’s Public Policy Network.
State policy can play an important role in helping women achieve economic security for themselves and their families. In order to measure the progress that the state legislature has taken to advance our policy goals, we have developed a Women’s Economic Security Scorecard which evaluates progress in three categories: 1.) Promoting Economic Security for Women and Families; 2.) Ensuring Fairness and Opportunity in the Workplace; and 3.) Improving Women’s Health and Wellbeing.
A DEEPER DIVE
The results of the 131st General Assembly Scorecard demonstrate that the current state legislature has largely ignored our policy goals for women’s economic security. Of the 22 policy goals we reviewed in the Scorecard, over half of them failed to rise above a ‘D’ score and not a single one scored an ‘A’. The goals related to access to reproductive healthcare moved in the wrong direction, earning ‘F’ grades on the Scorecard. With harmful legislation restricting access to adequate and affordable comprehensive healthcare – including reproductive healthcare services like abortion, contraception, and prenatal care – the goal of economic security is cut short for women and families.
There were some positive steps taken by the legislature to earn ‘B’ scores for the policy goal of increasing the affordability of childcare and the goals related to providing protections to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Most significant was the long awaited passage of legislation, which creates an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Yet, these victories were overshadowed by the lack of a concerted effort to advance positive policy solutions overall. You can download the full report to see how the 131st GA scored on each policy goal here.
HOLDING LAWMAKERS ACCOUNTABLE
There were a number legislative solutions which failed to move forward before the summer recess, which we hope to see movement on upon the legislature’s return including: bills that would create a state-wide paid family and medical leave program, a bill with bi-partisan support from all the female legislators in the Senate which would provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant employees, and legislation extending protections against dating or intimate partner violence. With the collective power of the coalition, we plan to hold our lawmakers accountable for the actions – or lack of action – taken to advance policies that can help women and families achieve economic security. Find out more by visiting the official WPPN website.
Member organizations of the Women’s Public Policy Network include: ACLU of Ohio, American Association of University Women of Ohio (AAUW Ohio), Catholics for Choice, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, Hadassah Columbus, Innovation Ohio Education Fund, Main Street Alliance of Ohio, Majority Ohio, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, National Coalition of 100 Black Women Central Ohio Chapter, National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Chapter, Nyla’s Angels Fund, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Ohio NOW, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio, ProgressOhio, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, and the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
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