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Education and Childcare 

YW Boston believes that investing in diversity, inclusion, and equity as a workforce starts with our education system. This system impacts our children and our childcare workers. The COVID-19 crisis has  shone a harsh light on the existing inadequacies of access, availability, and quality childcare in our Commonwealth and city. This is an issue that disproportionately impacts women and women of color.  

For our students, we know that girls of color are over-criminalized and suspended from school at a much higher rate than boys and white girls their same age. Studies show that young girls of color are perceived as older than their peers of the same age, and thus, they are treated in a way that disproportionately and unfairly punishes them. Ensuring this treatment does not continue is of paramount importance to the committee. We support the following state-wide legislation: 

1) Common Start Coalition An Act providing affordable and accessible high-quality early education and care to promote child development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth 

  • HD. 2794/ SD. 667 

This establishes a framework for delivering increased access to affordable, high-quality early education and child care to Massachusetts families over the course of several years. Under the bills, programs would be available in early education and child care centers, private homes, and schools – the same settings where early education and child care are provided now. The bills affect early education and care for children from birth through age 5, as well as after- and out-of-school time for children ages 5-12, and for children with special needs through age 15 – in line with the ages covered by the current child care subsidy system. 

2) “Campaign Funds for Childcare” An Act supporting parents running for public office

  • (H.669 & S.422)

Currently, childcare costs incurred during campaign events and activities are considered personal expenses and, therefore, not eligible for reimbursement under MA law. This bill would allow state and local candidates to use their campaign funds to pay for campaign-related childcare expenses. Childcare should be treated like other allowable expenses, such as printing literature and purchasing tuxedos for campaign events. This bill would eliminate a major barrier for parents seeking public office in their communities and advance equitable political representation throughout the Commonwealth. 

 

CIVIL RIGHTS AND RACIAL JUSTICE

Our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women demands a commitment to diverse and equitable leadership in our organizations and government. Additionally, we stand against discriminatory practices that oppress people of color, women, and women of color in the Commonwealth. This includes a commitment to voting rights and access, the prioritization of diverse leadership, and equity at all levels of government.  


YW Boston will continue to support legislation and work with coalitions to address the systemic racism that permeates our educational and judicial systems as it relates to young girls and women of color. The intersectionality of gender and race is not effectively addressed in public policy, and COVID-19 has further exacerbated these disparities. The committee intends to support legislation around dismantling the schooltoprison pipeline, ending the overcriminalization of girls of color, police, and criminal justice reform, the student debt crisis and higher education access, and ensuring an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemicWe support the following state-wide legislation: 

1) “Public Bank BillAn Act to Establish a Massachusetts Public Bank 

  • HD2677/SD1589

This bill would establish a public bank, which is a bank owned by the people through their representative government and operated in the public interest. Government revenues are deposited in the bank. The bank then makes loans to benefit communities and businesses.

2) Campaign for Size FreedomAn Act prohibiting body size discrimination  

  • H626/S.1108 

This legislation would prohibit discrimination based on height and weight by making height and weight protected identities alongside gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Currently, only two other states in the country have explicit protections in place against body size discrimination (MI and WA). Body size discrimination shows up in the workplace (missed promotions and raises, lower wages, disparities in hiring), medical care, education, and more.

3) Baby Bonds An Act Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap 

  • SD.711 & HD.783

Baby Bonds are significant investments made on behalf of children by the government to support future wealthbuilding activities, such as buying a home or paying for post-secondary education. This policy is meant to address wealth inequity and the racial wealth gap in particular. This legislation seeks to establish and regulate a Massachusetts Baby Bonds Trust Fund to be administered by the state treasurer that would provide a prorata share of the fund, or “accounting,” to any designated beneficiary defined.

 

Gender Equity 

Part of YW Boston’s goals as an organization is to amplify the voices of those historically marginalized, which includes women, women of color, and those outside the binary spectrum. These voices, stories, leadership, and representation have been underutilized and discriminated against for many years. Massachusetts stands to benefit economically, socially, and justly by dismantling inequitable systems and uplifting those historically left behind. 

1) Wage Equity Now

(1) An Act Relative to Salary Range Transparency (HD 2814/SD 1521) would require employers to provide salary ranges when hiring for a position.  

(2) An Act Relative to Transparency in the Workplace (HD 4039/SD 2331) requires employers to share their EEOC data to help identify aggregate gender and racial leadership gaps within business sectorsTogether, these bills would provide the transparency needed to address gaps and improve employee morale, productivity, and equity. 

2) “The I AM Bill” An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools H.2370

  • (H.534 & S.1381)

This bill requires all schools, prisons, and homeless shelters to provide free access to menstrual products. Period poverty impacts the lives and abilities of menstruators to fully participate in society. For many, this is a significant expense and something that is not as accessible as needed. Period products are a basic need that should be provided in schools and other settings.  

3) “Protected at Work” An Act Relative to Employment Protections for Victims of Abusive Behavior H.2370

  • HD. 3239/SD. 2005 

This bill addresses gaps in current law that leave victims of abusive behavior and employees unprotected at work. Would work to address discrimination victims of abusive behavior can face at their place of work from employers. 

 

Parity on Board

Parity on Board is a coalition created and led by YW Boston to support the passage of An Act to Promote Gender and Racial Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions in Massachusetts (H.3095 Reps. Shande & Nguyen /S.2029 Sens. Miranda and Lewis). Please visit www.parityonboard.org to learn more about our campaign to promote equitable leadership in Massachusetts. 

 

You can take action to support any or all of these bills by reaching out to your state legislators. Click below to find their contact information.

FIND MY LEGISLATOR

 

Learn about our federal advocacy at YWCA USA

For questions regarding these policy priorities or the YW Boston Advocacy Committee, please reach out to Brianna Savage at BSavage@YWBoston.org or visit Advocacy | YW Boston 


Group of people holding up YW Boston Eliminating Racism Empowering Women sign during a march

YW Boston advocacy volunteers gathering signatures

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