YWCA's mission to empower women includes a dedication to improving the economic and physical security of women. We believe that no one should have to choose between their livelihood and their health, their family, or their safety. Yet far too many women and families, particularly women and families of color, must make this choice every day.
Why do so many women face economic insecurity?
Millions of women in the United States are forced to put their livelihoods at risk when they get sick, need to take time away from their jobs to care for a sick child or family member, or need to access services as survivors of violence. Over 80 percent of low-wage ($8.25 or less per hour) workers do not have access to any paid leave when they or family members are sick; even fewer have access to paid leave when they or a loved one experiences gender-based violence. For these workers, who are disproportionately women and people of color, missing a few days, or even just one day of paid work can have significant economic consequences. A major illness can drive a worker into poverty. Lost wages due to illness, caretaking, or seeking safety from interpersonal violence widens the gender and racial wage gap and makes it more challenging for workers to balance work and family responsibilities. In the absence of these basic workplace protections like job-protected safe leave, and paid sick and family leave, women are often forced to choose between their families' financial security and taking time off to care for themselves or a family member or to seek assistance after experiencing domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
YWCA supports efforts to improve women's economic advancement, particularly for women of color, by increasing access to job-protected safe, paid sick, and paid family leave. To this end, YWCA supports national, state, and local public policies and legislation that create standards for paid sick and family leave, and job-protected safe leave.