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Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and uplift the many women who have blazed a trail for us and fought for equality. It’s also a time to recommit to demanding more for women everywhere- more opportunity, more political power and more seats at the table where decisions are made.

As the new Vice President of Economic Security & Justice with FUTURES, I don’t want this month to end without calling attention to the way women’s economic mobility is so intertwined with women’s equality and the work I do around preventing and responding to gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. It’s foundational to women’s health, safety and prosperity.

Why?

  • Nearly 3 in 4 survivors stay in abusive relationships due to financial insecurity
  • Women who are sexually harassed at work are 9 times more likely to quit
  • Two-thirds of all low-income workers are women

Economic opportunity and mobility are powerful protective factors to prevent gender-based violence and harassment. They also offer pathways to independence and recovery for survivors.

Here are our priorities to advance women’s economic security:

Center women working in low-paid jobs with a foundation of social support

Build a bedrock of social support so every family has the basic economic security required to work, navigate transitions and crises, and reduce disparities seeded in childhood. In addition, it’s imperative to support women pursing employment pathways of choice. That means working alongside local CBOs including housing providers that can build off benefits to support women with their employment pathways.

Drive job opportunity and equity

Expand occupational equity by fairly valuing work done by women in low-paid work (particularly women of color) and creating supportive employment pathways that provide meaningful and high-wage jobs. We can do this by supporting local coalitions made up of CBOs, local government, workforce development, workforce investment boards, CDFIs, and childcare institutions and identify barriers to employment pathways in their local communities in three key areas: care economy; green jobs; tech/other high wage employment.

Transform workplaces

Align standards, norms, policies, and incentives of individual employers and within local economies that would reflect the needs of women and families. Increase employer responsiveness to the safety needs of women through training and technical assistance and address common limitations to low-wage employment.

Economic security for all women is possible if we commit to it together. As Futures Without Violence moves forward with these strategies, I invite you to be in touch. What’s working within your economic strategies? What are potential partnerships? Where can we do better?

Happy Women’s History Month!

Ana Lόpez van Balen
Vice President of Economic Security & Justice



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