The Virginian-Pilot, one of the major newspapers in Virginia and specifically the Hampton Roads area, recently published an opinion piece by RFF Associate Director, Lisa Guide, about how too little has changed for working parents since she had her kids twenty years ago. As Lisa wrote: “Paid leave, affordable child care and greater access to home and community-based health services aren’t just important for Virginia families. These investments are also a boost to our economic recovery, creating jobs and boosting paychecks for workers across the Commonwealth.”
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.
Within a week of one another, Maryland and Delaware passed paid family and medical leave (PFML) laws, setting up systems to provide this important program to families, workers and businesses. These wins are a clear signal of the continued momentum and constituent demand for these policies. There are now eleven states plus the District of Columbia that have passed PFML laws. Congratulations to the advocates who led these fights, including the Maryland Time to Care coalition and the Delaware Cares coalition.