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National Women's Law Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, MeToo Movement, Public Interest Law, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: The National Women's Law Center has worked since its inception in 1972 to protect and advance the progress of women and girls at work, in school, and in virtually every aspect of their lives. The Center brings to its work extensive subject expertise in such areas as family income security, employment, education, health and reproductive rights. The Center uses a variety of tools to maximize its impact in bringing women's concerns to public policy makers, advocates and the public alike, including public policy coalition-building; and public education.

Programs: Health and reproductive rights: helped women and young adults sign up for health insurance by launching word of mom, an innovative new website (wordofmom. Org) that gives mothers the tools they need to gently nudge their children via facebook, twitter or e-mail to learn about and sign up for new affordable insurance options, and by creating user-friendly toolkits that physicians and others can use to explain the health care law to the public. Helped women secure no-cost coverage of birth control and other essential preventive health services by creating the user-friendly cover her hot line, which provides personalized tools to help women navigate the health insurance system and identifies and addresses systemic barriers to achieving coverage. Fought back against the harmful supreme court birth control ruling that allows closely held corporations to deny women birth control coverage, by championing federal legislation to overturn the ruling, authoring amicus briefs in cases brought by dozens of employers trying to evade their responsibilities to provide contraceptive coverage, and activating tens of thousands of supporters to press for full contraceptive access. Worked with various state partners to block efforts to shut down women's health clinics and otherwise restrict abortion rights.

Family economic security: helped win federal contractor and state minimum wage increases through a presidential executive order and legislation in four states, by analyzing and disseminating new data, producing materials and infographics highlighting the impact of a higher minimum wage on women-who are two-thirds of minimum-wage workers-working with national and state coalitions, testifying before congress, and educating the public, administration officials and lawmakers about what is at stake for women and families. Helped secure minimum wage and overtime pay for home health workers-90 percent of whom are women-by generating thousands of public comments to support the department of labor's proposal to provide these basic labor protections. Won nearly $1. 5 billion in new investments in early learning in the federal spending bill for FY 2014, and otherwise worked to improve child care and early education through sustained leadership of the strong start for children campaign and its nearly 400 organizational partners, organizing high-profile events, releasing reports, advising policymakers and mobilizing supporters. Documented and publicized the persistent overrepresentation of women in the low-wage workforce, its causes, and the public policies that would help to redress it in a widely disseminated report and a series of fact sheets, and engaged in advocacy efforts at the federal and state level designed to secure these policies.

Women's legal rights, education, and employment: won a presidential executive order that strengthens equal pay laws by prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay and a presidential directive requiring federal contractors to provide pay data based on sex and race-affecting nearly a quarter of the american workforce-by leading a broad coalition of women's organizations advocating for these actions and garnering significant media coverage on the ways in which pay transparency can reduce the wage gap. Won protections for pregnant women by successfully securing equal employment opportunity commission guidance underscoring employers' obligations to make the same accommodations for pregnant workers that they make for other workers with medical needs; securing the rescission of a peace corps policy that terminated pregnant volunteers from service after the fourth month of pregnancy unless supervisors determined they would be able to serve effectively after the birth of a child-a determination not required to be made of new fathers; securing a new policy at a Missouri college permitting all pregnancy-related student absences to be excused, after filing a title ix complaint with the department of education's office for civil rights on behalf of a student; working with state advocates, to secure laws to ensure fair treatment of pregnant workers in three states. Secured the opening of over 33,000 positions in army combat units to women by pressing the armed services to promptly implement the defense department's directive rescinding the direct ground combat exclusion policy for women, through meetings with pentagon officials, marshaling defense department advisory committee support, and engaging the media and the public in the debate. Advanced efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses and in the military by securing new federal guidance and, in the case of the military, new laws, to improve the policies, procedures, programs and enforcement of existing laws designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault. Spearheaded the effort to increase the number of women judges in federal courts by educating the public and policymakers on the importance of women in the judiciary, leading to an increase in the percentage of women judges actively serving on the u. S. Courts of appeals to almost 35 percent.

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