What is your organization’s issue focus?
Texas Women’s Foundation is a catalyst for positive change across the state, with a focused mission and vision to empower strong women to build a better world. Our advocacy focuses around the four pillars of women’s economic security: housing, education, child care, and health care/insurance. Texas needs policies that will make the state a more equitable place for all Texans. When all Texas women are able to thrive and be successful, everyone benefits.
What is something your organization is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project?
Texas Women’s Foundation recently released our fourth edition of Economic Issues for Women in Texas. This 2022 study, based on research conducted by Every Texan, examines the impact of COVID and related economic downturns on women and their families. In the past, our studies have focused on the key Pillars of economic security – education, child care, health insurance and housing – and this “mini-update” continues to focus on these key pillars while highlighting new components such as digital access, cost of caregiving on women staying, or leaving, the workforce, and eviction.
This study also outlines more than 20 specific policy recommendations related to Texas women, including the need for paid family and medical leave, Medicaid expansion and stronger tenant protections. We encourage our Army of Advocates across Texas to use the study—and its platform of specific recommendations and potential actions—with lawmakers, as well as business and community leaders, to help shape policies and practices that impact women and girls.
Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy? Speak peer to peer in this response.
Advocacy not only involves interaction with elected and appointed officials, but engagement with partners and the broader community. Our research report is available for anyone to download and distribute or use as a basis for discussion with elected representatives or within social and work circles. Additionally, we share research outcomes with grantees and foundation partners and broader community through forums and in print. By focusing our advocacy efforts not only on office holders, but also other organizations and the general public, we can elevate our efforts to drive discussion and action in a coordinated effort. Increasing the number and type of voices speaking out for Texas women will only help us make the changes we want to see in Texas.
Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative and our Justice program. How has either or both most helped you? How have you worked with either or both?
TXWF “discovered” Bolder Advocacy in 2014 as the Foundation began to see policy advocacy as an important way to impact the lives of women and girls in Texas. We started with staff training, moved to Board webinars and then brought Bolder Advocacy Texas staff to a Board meeting. Now we continue to soak up Bolder Advocacy resources while also funding them to help spread the trainings and information to nonprofits across Texas. One of our advocacy goals is to, “increase the voices speaking out on behalf of women and girls” and Bolder Advocacy certainly helps us do that.
Who inspires you?
There is a lot of attention given to the upcoming generation and their energy around voting. This is exciting but what also speaks to me is the dedication to voting and our democracy of our elders. Some of my best memories are of taking my 86-year-old aunt to vote. It was not an easy task physically but she would ask and ask, “when are we going to vote?” She did not want to vote from home but wanted to go in person. I took my father to the polls and then made sure he got a mail ballot until the end of his life. I have heard similar stories from my colleagues, in one case it is her 97-year-old grandmother. Respecting and caring for our democracy is an “all hands on deck” activity and I am glad I get to continue that both professionally and personally.
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