In late 2022, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which advocates have championed for over a decade, as an amendment to the omnibus spending package. The new law requires employers to offer pregnant workers reasonable accommodations like extra bathroom breaks, the ability to sit while performing certain tasks and restrictions on how much weight they are required to lift. Unrelenting advocacy by long-time RFF grantees like A Better Balance and MomsRising was essential to the bill’s passage at the 11th hour of the Congressional session. Over ten years ago, Dana Bakst of A Better Balance shared a story that proves the significance of this law in an op-ed for the New York Times.
The Rockefeller Family Fund’s program for women’s economic justice seeks to improve the quality of life for working women and their families in two ways: (1) by advancing economic policy solutions that have tangible impacts on women and their families’ lives, and (2) by engaging a diverse, multiracial coalition of women to advocate for these policy solutions, building women’s power and advancing the national narrative around economic equity.
Since 2008, RFF has worked to educate the public about economic inequality and its detrimental effect on the economic growth of the country, as well as the prosperity of families. RFF has supported public education campaigns on a suite of economic reforms that are central to achieve a family friendly economy – policies like paid leave, affordable childcare and quality long-term care. For example, when RFF began investing in this work in 2008, there were only two paid sick days laws on the books—and now there are 14 states, including DC, and more than 35 cities across the country with a paid sick days law, covering more than 15 million people. RFF has also launched and supported successful campaigns for paid family and medical leave.
Women Effect Fund
RFF is a founding donor to the Women Effect Fund (WEF), which brings donors together to achieve economic equity for women and families. WEF develops and funds intersectional campaigns to address the concurrent crises affecting our nation: gender, racial and economic inequity. By fighting for family friendly economic policies like paid leave and affordable child and long-term care and building a movement of people who share these goals, WEF fosters the conditions for broader culture change.
Starting in 2015, the Women Effect Fund supports organizing work in multiple states under the banner of “the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy” to talk directly with women voters and build public support for a range of family friendly policy solutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed how desperately we need to invest in these policies. With new opportunities emerging on the federal level, these state-based policy campaigns are also engaging constituencies on federal efforts to establish family friendly policies. With each campaign, we use these issues to connect with and engage women activists and voters.