Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer,
COVID-19 has raged across the United States for more than a year, taking more than 550,000 lives and threatening millions of families financially, physically, mentally and socially. Essential workers and caregivers, a majority of whom are women and are disproportionately women of color, have carried us through the pandemic. They are the health care workers fighting COVID-19, retail and hospitality employees fighting to stay open, moms forced out of the workforce by the challenges of remote learning, caregivers, and the women navigating vaccine appointments on behalf of loved ones. They struggle every day to try and balance work, school, rent, child care, health and finances while living through a public health crisis. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce, and one in 11 Black women and one in 12 Latina women are unemployed1. Economists estimate that it will take a generation for women to get back to the rate of employment prior to COVID-19.2
The We Demand More Coalition, made up of more than 70 progressive organizations, has spent the last year fighting tirelessly for women, and particularly women of color, to be prioritized in COVID-19 relief through the lens of racial equity and gender justice. We grieve for those we’ve lost, while fighting the systemic inequity millions of people live with every single day. COVID-19 has laid bare the historic inequities that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the American Rescue Plan Act delivers critical and much-needed relief to millions of families across the country, and we applaud the Administration’s and Congress’ passage of the ARPA. For many communities, this landmark new law is an important step toward long-lasting change. In particular, we celebrate the ARPA’s inclusion of $50B for the child care industry, child tax credits, and rejection of efforts to expand harmful abortion coverage restrictions.
While we mark this achievement, we must continue to push forward policy solutions and pass legislation that works for ALL women. We cannot build back better without bold and transformative political and economic change that centers women, especially Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color. As the Biden-Harris administration and Congressional leadership develops the framework for its Build Back Better proposal, the We Demand More coalition is eager to continue to work alongside Congress and the Administration to advance policies that result in seismic shifts in women’s day-to-day lives.
The millions of people among our organizations’ constituencies believe the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional leadership must prioritize the following policies in the upcoming Build Back Better proposal, and beyond:
- Equitable vaccine distributionnationwide with federal investment in public education to boost knowledge and belief in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, including support for the full range of vital safety net providers.
- Prioritize enacting The Child Care for Working Families Act as a part of the infrastructure package,ensuring that all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care that is available when and where they need it and investing in the education, compensation and retention of a diverse workforce.
- Make permanent paid family and medical leavethat would ensure all working people have access to at least 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, address a personal or family related illness, or handle needs that arise from a military deployment.
- Increase abortion accesswith Congress taking action to expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion, by providing specific funding for the care, rejecting coverage bans like the Hyde amendment and state abortion restrictions, and advocating for the elimination of unnecessary barriers to medication abortion care.
- Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hourby 2025 and phase out any exclusions, including those that currently apply to tipped workers or people with disabilities, so that everyone is entitled to the full minimum wage from their employer.
The Biden-Harris administration and Congressional leadership must prioritize these policies for women and women of color. We need to build back better for women and create lasting political, social and economic change. We demand it.
The We Demand More Coalition
Endorsement is an indication of solidarity within our movement and a recognition of the urgency of these policies. Endorsement does not necessarily mean that orgs have expertise in or are actively working towards each priority or policy listed.
- Abortion Access Force
- Advocates for Youth
- All Women's Progress
- All* Above All Action Fund
- African American Ministers In Action
- American Association of University Women Action Fund
- Birth In Color RVA
- Black Women's Roundtable
- California National Organization for Women
- Catholics for Choice
- Center for American Progress Fund
- Chicago Foundation for Women
- Clearinghouse on Women's Issues
- Coalition of Labor Union Women
- Daily Kos
- DemCast USA
- End Rape on Campus
- Equal Pay Today
- Equal Rights Advocates
- Feminist Majority
- Feminist Women's Health Center
- Free Speech For People
- Global Justice Center
- The Greenlining Institute
- Hopewell Fund
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
- Mass NOW
- Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable
- MomsRising Together
- NARAL Pro-Choice America
- NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
- National Birth Equity Collaborative
- National Black Justice Coalition
- National Organization for Women
- National Organization for Women - Connecticut chapter
- National Women's Health Network
- National Women’s Law Center
- New American Leaders Action Fund
- New Century Trust
- New Voices for Reproductive Justice
- One Fair Wage
- Paid Leave for All Action
- PathWays PA
- Period Equity
- Public Citizen
- Sisters Lead Sisters Vote
- SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
- United State of Women
- URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
- Voto Latino
- Women Employed
- Women's Fund of Rhode Island
- Women’s March