Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and State Innovation Exchange (SiX) are launching the State Gender Policy Collective (“the Collective”) that will deepen and expand policy, research, and communications support–and cross-state collaboration–for state policymakers and leaders advancing gender justice across all states.
From abortion bans to erasing Black history to laws attacking trans people and prohibiting teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity, attacks from conservative extremists in state legislatures and governments have been relentless. At the same time, states offer the most immediate opportunities to improve the lives of everyday people. State policymakers are uniquely positioned to advance bold gender justice policies but are routinely under-resourced and face an onslaught of political harassment and fear mongering from conservative extremist actors.
The State Gender Policy Collective will seek to overcome these barriers by creating an infrastructure for state policymakers to learn from and work with their counterparts across all 50 states and receive support navigating issues like reproductive health and access, LGBTQ+ rights, equal pay, child care access, workplace harassment protections, and safe and inclusive schools.
Mid-November, the Collective will kick off with an initial convening of state policymakers from across the country to identify and analyze state gender justice trends from the 2023 legislative session, forecast for 2024, and strategize across state lines.
“We’re under attack, fending off vicious legislative maneuvers against LGBTQ+ people and Black and brown members of our communities made under the guise of ‘protecting women and children’ and ‘supporting parents,’” said North Carolina State Senator Natalie Murdock. “The State Gender Policy Collective’s resources will bolster our ability to meet this challenging moment. This initiative gives me hope that we will successfully reclaim authentic narratives that reflect what parents, students, workers, and families in our communities actually need and want to be safe and thrive.”
“States are already leading progress by implementing their own paid family and medical leave programs, enacting pay transparency protections, investing in Black maternal health policies, and safeguarding abortion access,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “We are thrilled to be working with SiX, along with state legislators and state and national advocacy organizations, to harness our collective power to restore our democracy in advancing gender justice.”
”The only way change happens in this country is when people organize around bold ideas and take action, together. Our communities, especially in the South and Midwest, continue to face extremist attacks against racial and gender justice and bodily autonomy, and the State Gender Policy Collective will center the regions that need investments the most,” said Hon. Jessie Ulibarri, Co-Executive Director of the State Innovation Exchange. “We know that building people power with state legislators and grassroots organizations in the most impacted areas is the only way to make sustainable, durable change.”