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Our advocacy plan supports the mission of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh by engaging in strategic initiatives that empower women, especially women and girls of color. We bring attention and focus on the ways they are marginalized so that we can influence the systemic policy change needed to advance race and gender equity locally, statewide, and nationally.

YWCA’s Current Advocacy Priorities

The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the ways that women continue to suffer. In response, we have shifted our focus to a 2-Year Pandemic Recovery Advocacy Initiative that addresses:

    • Food Insecurity
      The City of Pittsburgh reports that one in five Pittsburgh residents is food insecure. This means that over 60,000 residents struggle to have healthy, adequate, and culturally appropriate food. Food insecurity exists when a family is unable to provide enough food for each member of their household. The presence or lack of a grocery store accessible via public transportation; the ratio of fast-food and convenience stores to grocery stores; the availability of organic and local food options; and the accessibility of produce vendors or organic and local food sources are all issues that impact food insecurity.
    • Housing Insecurity
      Housing insecurity and homelessness are both causes and effects of poverty. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a quarter of all renters – and 71 percent of extremely low-income renters – were paying over half their incomes for housing, too often leaving them one emergency away from eviction. The presence of a stable home and housing also impacts physical and mental well-being. Community engagement, education, and advocacy are crucial in bringing awareness and change to housing insecurity in the Pittsburgh region.
    • Employment Needs
      According to The Women’s Law Project, women in Pennsylvania are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,507. The wage gap is larger for women of color. Among Pennsylvania’s women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, African-American women are paid 68 cents, Latinas are paid 56 cents and Asian women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

YWCA Awareness Campaigns

    • Stand Against Racism
      Founded in 2007, Stand Against Racism is YWCA’s annual signature campaign to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities and to build coalitions among those who work for racial justice. Groups of all sizes take part across the nation as they host their own events.
    • Week Without Violence
      Since it was launched in 1995, the YWCA Week Without Violence has grown from a grassroots initiative into a global movement to end violence against women and girls. At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. YWCA’s objectives are to educate individuals about their role in preventing the spread of violence and hatred and to heighten awareness of alternatives to violence.
    • 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge
      The 21 Day Challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to learn and strengthen effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.

Voter Education & Empowerment

YWCA is committed to educating eligible individuals and groups about registering to vote, protecting voting rights, and accessing accurate voter information. Activities include National Voter Registration Day, providing assistance updating and applying for voter registration, and educational opportunities that promote voter empowerment.