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Public Policy


The Women's Policy Conference will be August 23-24, 2018 in Salt Lake City.

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YWCA Utah Director of Public Policy Erin Jemison was at Capitol for the 2017 legislative session and continues into the 2018 session focusing on YWCA Utah's advocacy priorities:

  • Economic Empowerment and Stability for Women and Girls
  • Racial Justice & Civil Rights for Women and Girls of Color
  • Health and Safety for Women and Girls
We anticipate a number of bills to advance Economic Empowerment and Stability for women and their families in Utah by expanding workplace leave policies, addressing gender wage discrimination, creating an Earned Income Tax Credit for families experiencing inter-generational poverty, and tackling the sales tax on food for families trying to make ends meet.

The YWCA will continue to advocate for Racial Justice and Civil Rights policy change, specifically as it relates to women and girls of color, by supporting criminal and juvenile justice reform efforts, strengthening workplace discrimination protections, and increasing access to community-based healthcare.

Other expected bills related to Health and Safety for women and girls will address gaps in services for women and families experiencing postpartum depression, increase family planning services for women who do not have healthcare coverage, and improve enforcement systems for laws that keep firearms out of the hands of abusers.

These are just a few of the legislative issues on the horizon. Sign up for YWCAdvocacy Connect below for policy updates as we near the 2018 General Session.

YWCA Utah Public Policy Priority Areas


The following policy priority areas were selected based on a comprehensive process carried out by the YWCA Utah Public Policy Committee to:

    • Gather, discuss, and understand potential policy issues and bills connected to the YWCA Utah mission that we expect to arise during the 2017 Utah legislative session;
    • Review input from YWCA members, allies, and community partners who attended YWCA Utah’s first annual policy convening,Utah Women’s Well-Being: Leading the Policy Conversation;” and
    • Evaluate results from the policy priority survey conducted with YWCA Utah members and allies.

Note: There are long-term policy advocacy efforts being led by various community partners to address an array of critical issues affecting women and girls in Utah. The YWCA is, and will continue to be, part of this work while exploring opportunities for providing policy advocacy leadership. The following broad policy areas are the priorities when contributing YWCA advocacy support during the 2017 session of the Utah Legislature.

Economic Empowerment and Stability for Women and Girls

  1. Reduce gender wage discrimination and work toward pay parity. 
  2. Support tax benefits for low- and moderate-income workers.
  3. Advance strategies to assist with retirement saving and planning.

Racial Justice & Civil Rights for Women and Girls of Color

  1. Contribute to criminal and juvenile justice reform efforts by highlighting and addressing racial and gender disparities in these systems.
  2. Enhance penalties for crimes where victim is selected due to race, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Health and Safety for Women and Girls

  1. Ensure access to healthcare benefits to all women and girls in Utah.
  2. Advocate for resources to support women and families experiencing postpartum depression and other maternal mental health issues.
  3. Work with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC) to ensure availability of comprehensive victim services and effective offender accountability systems.

See our Priority Bill Tracking for the 2017 General Legislative Session.


For more information about the YWCA’s policy advocacy priorities or the Utah Women’s Well-Being Initiative, please contact Erin Jemison, YWCA Utah Director of Public Policy, at ejemison@ywcautah.org or 801-537-8603.


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