AAUW Toledo follows our national foundational priorities in our advocacy work. To participate in national advocacy, sign up for AAUW’s two-minute activist here
On the local and state level, AAUW Toledo works with local politicians, advocacy groups, and organizations to follow policy that chips away at these larger issues. We are able to pass legislation that offers protections for women and marginalized communities in our area while we work on larger, national policies to move forward.
In June 2019, AAUW Toledo presented testimony to Toledo City Council on the Pay Equity Act. While we may not be able to outlaw pay discrimination on the local level, we are able to use research done by AAUW national to show that providing salary history negatively impacts women’s earnings, and exacerbates the pay gap over time. The Pay Equity Act passed and it is now illegal in Toledo for employers to ask for salary history during the hiring process!!
Below are AAUW’s public policy priorities.
- Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work. Women working full time still typically make 82 cents on the dollar as compared to men, and women of color experience even wider gaps. Policymakers need to close the stubborn gender and racial pay gaps.
- Implement Paid Leave and Paid Sick Days. Unlike the majority of developed countries worldwide, the U.S. does not guarantee paid time off for illness, family care or parental leave. Offering such paid time off would improve worker performance, benefiting employees, employers and the economy. Elected officials must adopt policies to give workers paid time off for illness and care giving.
- Stop Harassment in the Workplace. Instituting robust protections against sexual, racial and other forms of harassment in employment will lead to great economic security for women. Policymakers should prioritize policies that put workers first and allow everyone to do their jobs without the threat of harassment or retaliation.
- Raise the Minimum Wage and Eliminate the Tipped Minimum Wage. Women comprise a majority of the low-wage workforce, and Black women and Latinas are significantly over-represented in the low-wage workforce. Elected officials need to raise the minimum wage to an adequate level to keep millions of families from living in poverty.
- Close the Retirement Gap. Because of such factors as the gender pay gap and time away from work for care giving responsibilities, women lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings, making it difficult for them to accumulate savings. Lawmakers need to address the retirement wage gap by protecting Social Security and strengthening retirement benefits and programs, including pension improvements.
- Protect Pregnant Workers. Pregnant workers are sometimes pushed out of their jobs unnecessarily, but simple reasonable accommodations could help protect their health and ensure that they could continue working to support their families. Lawmakers should support pregnant workers by ensuring that they do not have to choose between their own health or the job and income they need.
- Defend and Strengthen Title IX. Since the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools have made significant strides in providing equal access to education. But barriers still exist, particularly for women and underrepresented populations. Elected officials must bolster the protections afforded by Title IX and faithfully implement and enforce this vital law.
- Reduce Student Debt. Women hold two-thirds of the nation’s $1.46 trillion educational debt. Policymakers should protect grant programs, champion tuition- and debt-free options and expand loan forgiveness programs.
- Expand Opportunities for Women and Girls in STEM. Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are rapidly growing, but bias and discrimination inhibit women and girls from pursuing these fields. Lawmakers should help battle implicit and explicit bias by promoting programs that increase women’s participation and advancement in STEM education and careers.
- Expand and Protect the Right to Vote. Voting discrimination is a threat to the very foundation of our democracy. Ensuring the right to vote is a prerequisite to establishing all the other policies AAUW advocates. Elected officials must protect and expand voting rights.
- Ensure Access to High-Quality Healthcare. It is critical to women’s economic security to have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, including reproductive health care and family planning, and to have the control over such decisions. Policymakers must ensure all people have equal access to such care.
- Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would guarantee constitutional equality between men and women — a concept the majority of Americans agree is necessary and that most people believe is already codified. Lawmakers should ratify the ERA to ensure that advances we have made in women’s equality are not changed or revoked.