Contributing authors include Pamela Yuen, Christine Sloane, Catherine Beane, and Melissa Gilliam
Women matter, our voices matter, and our votes matter. Leading up to midterm elections and as the world continues to navigate the devastating health and economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been irreversibly changed. However, it is women who have borne the brunt of the impacts of these tumultuous times. During this pandemic, we have seen a national racial reckoning which sparked global protests and rising calls for social justice while the ongoing economic impacts of the “Shecession” has resulted in 1 million women and women of color still left out of the workforce. However, there is a silver lining. These challenges have taught us how profoundly interconnected we are and refreshed calls to address systemic racial, gender, and generational issues. Today, women are speaking up and demanding our elected leaders act so our communities can heal and thrive.
To make this dream a reality, women expect Congress and policymakers to take action to enact the legislation we clearly need. Women support policies aimed at providing high-quality and affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave, ending gender and racial discrimination, and preventing sexual violence and harassment in the workplace. Women need leaders to invest in services for gender-based violence and implement real solutions to address systemic racism and inequities in the voting system, the workplace, law enforcement, and so many of the institutions core to the communities we represent.
Women are a driving force at the polls and deserve to have their voices heard. That is why we are thrilled to lift up YWCA USA’s latest national survey, YWomenVote 2022, which identifies top concerns and policy solutions of women across race, ethnicity, age, and income. The survey findings reaffirm that economic security, racial justice, civil rights, and mental health concerns are among the most important issues women want Congress to address.
Diverse Communities with a Remarkably Unified Policy Agenda
YWomenVote 2022 powerfully illuminates that these concerns and priorities are even more pressing for Black, Latina, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American /Alaska Native, and young (Millennial and Gen Z) women. Despite the nuanced experiences of these demographic subgroups, women overall are remarkably united and consistent in their concerns and priorities.
Women of color are breadwinners, caregivers, and leaders in their communities. Yet they entered the pandemic facing systemic inequities that have long undermined their economic security and well-being. Women of color were the first and hardest hit by the layoffs, economic disruption, and health consequences of the last two years. Layered on top of these economic concerns, the survey findings show they are also contending with intense worries about barriers to voting, discrimination, harassment, staying safe from racial and police violence, and being the targets of acts of hate. These compounding inequities cause women of color undeniable harm and contribute to increased levels of stress, trauma, and heightened concerns about accessing mental health support.
Additionally, Millennial and Gen Z voters – who now make up a third of the electorate and are the most racially diverse voting bloc – share similar concerns around the economic, caregiving, and gender-based violence policies highlighted above. Younger voters also expressed serious concerns around the job market and caregiving responsibilities, particularly as these generations are more likely to be providing care to both young children and aging adult family members.
Despite the many challenges that define these times, women — in all our diverse representations — are bold enough to envision, share, and demand a future of justice and opportunity. YWCA knows that we are all better because of the women who have continued to make their voices heard – in the halls of Congress, in their communities, and at the polls. Our YWomenVote 2022 survey findings reflect a remarkably unified voice among women and a policy mandate for Congress. Women will be watching come November and we will make our votes count in the upcoming election season. We invite you to hear us and take action with us to better the realities for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation.
To learn more about our upcoming get out the vote efforts and what the YWomenVote survey findings reveal about the issues most critical to women, visit ywomenvote.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.