FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legal Momentum Releases Legal Toolkit for Women’s Economic Equality
(New York State)
NEW YORK, NY – On April 25, 2019, Legal Momentum issued its unprecedented, wide-ranging Legal Toolkit for Women’s Economic Equality. Legal Momentum has been fighting for fifty years to advance women’s physical and economic security – from pioneering VAWA to serving as fierce guardians of workplace protections, including Title VII. Yet chronic gaps in workplace protections persist. The Women Valued Initiative was created to address some of these gaps.
Due to persistent gender discrimination, women continue to be undervalued in the workplace. As a result, women face unfair treatment at work and encounter legitimate barriers to securing decent work with a living wage. Despite this reality, most women do not report discrimination. They feel they must suffer in silence in order to keep their jobs, maintain their paychecks, and/or safeguard their careers.
To turn the tide, Legal Momentum’s Women Valued Initiative educates, empowers, and elevates ALL women. As part of this Initiative, its new Legal Toolkit seeks to ensure that all women are better educated about their workplace rights and how to better protect them.
Starting with New York State, the Toolkit takes a holistic approach, providing guidance on 13 core issues that impact women’s economic security:
Sex and Gender Discrimination • Sexual Harassment • Equal Pay • Minimum Wage and Fair Wage Practices • Economic Opportunity • Safe Workplaces and Fair Working Conditions • Workplace Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking • Reproductive and Maternal Health • Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding • Paid Family Leave • Child Care Assistance and Protections for Caregivers • Public Benefits • Collective Action
“The Legal Toolkit for Women’s Economic Equality is a gem of a resource, especially in its thirteen-point framework that is grounded in a whole person approach,” says KC Wagner, of the Worker Institute’s Equity at Work Initiative. “This is a comprehensive and nimble tool for individual empowerment, leadership development, organizational capacity building, community engagement, advocacy, and organizing.”
In bringing the focus to ALL women across these thirteen issue areas, the Toolkit provides targeted guidance for women who are the most undervalued in our economy, including farmworkers, domestic workers, hospitality workers, immigrant women, and survivors of gender-based violence. To provide such guidance, Legal Momentum relied on the expertise of organizations that provide critical support to underserved women across New York State.
“No matter who you are, you have rights in the workplace. The fight for dignity and equality has come a long way, but there is still far to go,” says Lisa Zucker, Legislative Attorney, New York Civil Liberties Union. “Low income women, women with precarious immigration status, and women in industries with minimal labor protections, like farmworkers, face the biggest obstacles. Like all other workers in the state, they have the right to a decent workplace free of harassment and exploitation. This guide is a critical resource for women in all lines of work.”
Legal Momentum hopes that the Toolkit will empower women in the workplace to come together and claim their value: “The more we assert our rights, and when we do so together, the more meaningful these legal protections become,” says Seher Khawaja, Legal Momentum Senior Attorney for Economic Empowerment.
“ROC United, representing nearly 14 million restaurant workers nationwide, nearly 70% of whom are women, celebrates the launch of Legal Momentum’s Women Valued Legal Toolkit. These resources are especially important to our membership because 90% of tipped restaurant employees experience unwanted sexual behaviors and many may not be aware of their right to work in a safe environment. We will use the Toolkit to improve gender parity and create safer spaces for women at work and at home,” says Veronica Avila, Director, ROC-NY.
The Legal Toolkit for Women’s Economic Equality, and accompanying materials, are available online for free at https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-toolkit-womens-economic-equality.
About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the physical and economic security for all women and girls. Founded in 1970, Legal Momentum advances the rights of women and girls through the power of the law in the areas best positioned to assist all women and girls: economic justice and freedom from gender-based violence. To learn more about Legal Momentum and how you can support our work, visit www.legalmomentum.org or email Lena Barsky, firstname.lastname@example.org.