Shaping public policy to create equitable opportunity for women.

It is not enough for us to invest solely in programmatic solutions to combat economic insecurity for women. Without meaningful policy change, women and their families will never have a complete pathway to success.

This is why The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham advocates for nonpartisan policies that accelerate economic opportunity.

In the last two decades, we have invested over $5 million in innovative solutions that accelerate economic opportunities for women and their whole families. These investments have transformed the lives of over 5,100 women and their children.

Yet too many women and their families continue to experience complex social conditions that philanthropy alone cannot address.

In order to have a more holistic impact, we formally engage in state-level advocacy and intentionally pursue public policies that create long-lasting, systemic change for women.

Our Policy Priorities

The Agenda for Women

More than 490,000 women are living in poverty in Alabama. That’s more than the populations of Birmingham and Mobile combined.

Simultaneously, the Alabama Workforce Council predicts a shortage of 500,000 skilled workers by 2025. When considered together, these two statistics speak not only to a problem, but also to a solution that centers women as a key driver of their family’s economic success and meets the demand of the state’s growing workforce shortage.

By applying a comprehensive strategy that not only addresses the state’s workforce crisis, but concurrently moves people beyond poverty, The Women’s Fund is strategically positioned to help shift this paradigm.

The 2019 Agenda for Women includes the following top priorities:

  • Make Work Work
  • Elevate Quality Childcare
  • Expand Affordable Healthcare

We will also actively monitor and intervene on additional issues during the regular legislative session that significantly impact the economic security of women.

For a better future for all Alabamians, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham encourages all state and local decision makers, community leaders, employers, and voters to galvanize around smart solutions proposed in our Agenda for Women to strengthen and create economic opportunities for all families across Alabama.

Make Work Work

 

Alabama has the nation’s second-lowest labor participation rate in the country. The state cannot maximize its economic growth without full participation of numerous targeted groups, including women. We advocate alignment of the state’s workforce development structures and public investment and scaling of proven models—including education, training, and critical wraparound supports—that propel more women into in-demand jobs. Such opportunities both bolster economic stability for families and simultaneously address the state’s workforce challenges.

Additionally, we advocate for wages and family-friendly workplace supports such as child care and flexible hours that put women squarely in the driver’s seat of their own economic success.

Data Snapshot:

  • Alabama women earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
  • If employed women were paid the same as comparable men, their poverty rate would be reduced by half.
  • The gender wage gap adds up to $13.3 billion a year—money not invested back into Alabama’s economy.
  • When more women participate in the workforce, wages for women and men increase.

Elevate Quality Child Care

 

More than 60 percent of employed Alabama mothers have young children, making access to quality child care essential for women’s full participation in the labor market. Advancing policy priorities such as family-forward tax credits that put money back in the pockets of businesses, child care providers, and parents helps elevate quality child care, putting it in reach for working families.

Data snapshot:

  • The average cost of child care in Alabama is $7,000 annually.
  • Alabama is one of only seven states that allow broad-based exemptions from licensure and inspection for child care programs.

Expand Affordable Healthcare

 

Physical and mental health greatly impact a family’s ability to thrive. Better health outcomes for women lead to better health outcomes for their children. Protecting and expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance for an additional 152,000 Alabama women and stimulate economic and jobs growth for our state.

Data snapshot:

  • Medicaid is a health insurance program that serves roughly 1 million low-income Alabamians (children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled).
  • 51% of Alabama births are covered by Medicaid.
  • Medicaid expansion-related economic activity would generate $446 million in state tax revenues over four years. New local tax revenues would total $270 million over four years.
  • The current Medicaid system puts 223,000 Alabamians in the health insurance coverage “gap”—unable to afford health insurance, but unable to qualify for Medicaid.

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