One way we work to achieve our mission of racial, gender, and social equity is through advocacy.
What does our advocacy work look like?
As a 501(c)3 organization, YW Boston is non-partisan, and does not endorse candidates. In accordance with federal and state guidelines, our non-profit advocacy work generally takes one of the following forms:
Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence legislation, or official laws. We do this through contacting our legislators – city councilors, state legislators, and federal legislators – to share our views on an issue and ask them to vote a specific way on a bill. We used legislative advocacy to help get Bill S.2119 passed in Massachusetts, an Act to Establish Pay Equity.
Policy decisions and implementation
Policies are rules that inform and regulate how an entity operates. When a law is passed, it is often up to the departments, offices, and organizations that are affected to come up with their own policies to implement the law. Influencing these policies can be just as important as influencing laws. In addition to carrying out laws, organizations also use policies to determine how to spend money, how to prioritize work, and how to address concerning issues. As a nonprofit, we can urge organizations to create policies that will promote equity in all of these areas. We used policy decision advocacy when we urged the City of Boston to invest more in the availability of mental health services.
When several groups share a common goal, they can form a coalition to work together to have that goal met. An advocacy coalition may focus on addressing legal, political, or social issues. We used the method of joining a coalition when we joined with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and other supporters of pay equity.
Mobilization of public support and action
Mobilizing public support and action includes providing information to our network about legislation, policies, or social or political movements related to our mission, and then providing information about how people can take action. This may include asking people to contact their legislator, participate in a rally, or share information on social media about the importance of an issue. We used mobilization of public support when inviting our networks to participate in the Boston Women’s March.
What issues do we advocate for?
We prioritize local and state issues that affect underrepresented people and communities we serve in Boston. We will also support national issues as time permits. All policy priorities fall under three main issue areas, set by YWCA USA:
- Women’s and Girls’ Health and Safety
- Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Racial Justice and Civil Rights
Who carries out our advocacy work?
Our advocacy work is planned and executed by a dedicated Advocacy Committee. The committee is made up of Board members, YW Boston staff, and volunteers who are deeply committed to our mission. The committee meets at least once per quarter.