Our Policy Agenda

The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) includes over 200 member organizations. Together, we subscribe to the core policies listed below. While not all member organizations work actively on each of these concerns, members will not work in opposition to these principles.

We recognize the importance of improving programs and policies that address girls' and women's economic, legal, social and physical well-being throughout their lifespan. Our policy agenda comprises building blocks for a society free from the inequality, oppression and discrimination that face a variety of women and girls from many different backgrounds and experiences.

In order for the following concerns to be fully addressed, the government must appropriately allocate its resources to invest in the needs of its citizens. Domestic spending should not be sacrificed for increased defense spending. Spending should be balanced to invest adequately in the economic security of women and families.

I. Economic and Social Security

We support:

  • Economic security for all women
  • Pay equity legislation that ensures comparable pay for jobs of comparable worth
  • Affirmative action and elimination of occupational segregation that marginalizes women into low-paying jobs
  • Promotion of a living wage and adoption of self-sufficiency standards
  • A higher minimum wage
  • Promotion of increased asset management skills and resources for women
  • Enhanced support to women entrepreneurs, particularly those operating small businesses
  • Welfare legislation that focuses on proven strategies for poverty reduction
  • Strengthened Social Security and Retirement Security
  • Raising Social Security taxation caps on high income earners
  • Assignment of economic value to unpaid caregiving through Social Security caregiving credits
  • Public education and outreach about the importance of Social Security's guaranteed disability and survivor benefits
  • Tax incentives and matching programs to increase savings of low and moderate-income earners
  • Expansion of women's access to pensions and improvement of spousal pension rights
  • Work/Life balance
  • Paid family leave
  • Paid sick leave
  • Protection and expansion of employee rights to job-protected leave secured by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • Flexible work schedules, telecommuting, job sharing and other innovative employment programs that allow parents to balance their work and family lives
  • Affordable, quality child care for all
  • Full-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten
  • After-school and summer care
  • Early intervention and other programs stressing early childhood education
  • Increased quality and safety standards for child care centers
  • Improved training and compensation for workers in the caregiving fields
  • Expanded access to financial and social supports for unpaid caregivers
  • Income tax benefits, including refundable benefits, for unpaid caregiving
  • Affordable housing
  • Homelessness prevention services
  • Food security
  • Protection and expansion of the Food Stamp Program, the WIC Program (Women, Infants, and Children), and other supplemental food programs

We oppose:

  • Weakening Social Security
  • Social Security benefit cuts
  • Privatizing any portion of Social Security

II. Education and Training

We support:

  • Equal educational opportunity for all people and elimination of sex discrimination in all aspects of formal and informal education at all levels ranging from pre-primary to postsecondary and adult education
  • Access to higher education and training throughout the lifespan
  • Enhanced funding for quality public education through a system of progressive taxation
  • Strengthened Title IX protections for non-discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Improved implementation and enforcement of Title IX with special attention to full compliance with the provisions for Title IX Coordinators
  • Legal single sex education for the affirmative purpose of reducing sex discrimination under the 1975 Title IX regulations
  • Increased federal support for research, development and evaluation of programs and activities that increase gender equity
  • Increased use of successful gender equity programs and activities
  • Increased federal, state and local support of girls' primary and secondary educational opportunities in science, math and technology
  • Efforts to increase numbers of women in science, math, technology and other nontraditional fields such as criminal justice that lead to high-wage high-skill employment
  • Expanded education and training programs for welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, teens, single parents and displaced homemakers to enable them to move into jobs with self-sufficient wages

We oppose:

  • Illegal single sex education under the 1975 Title IX regulations and the 14th amendment equal protection clause

III. Women's Health

We support:

  • Universal access to affordable, comprehensive and culturally appropriate health care throughout one's life, including mental health, reproductive health, substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, long-term care and HIV/AIDS services
  • In the interim, increased funding for public health programs such as Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicare
  • Medically accurate, science-based public health policy
  • Access to safe, legal abortion
  • A vigorous defense of reproductive self-determination
  • Universal access to reproductive health services, contraceptives and information for all women regardless of income level
  • Comprehensive sex education that is science-based, age-appropriate and culturally appropriate
  • Strengthened protection from anti-choice terrorism and application of domestic terrorism statutes in response to violence that is directed against reproductive health clinics
  • Elimination of gender bias in research, treatment and access in the health care system
  • Elimination of health-based discrimination such as discrimination based on mental health, genetic information or HIV/AIDS status
  • Expanded funding for a broad spectrum of women's health research including research that addresses gender, race or ethnically-based biological differences and those diseases or health conditions that disproportionately affect women and girls
  • Expanded research on the delivery and appropriateness of women's health services and on health care information technology

We oppose:

  • Policies or regulations that single out reproductive health care for special restrictions such as but not limited to: the Global Gag Rule, abortion restrictions on women in the military, targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws and pharmacy discretion in dispensing contraception

IV. Civil Rights

We support:

  • Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • Strengthened and accountable federal and regional offices charged with enforcing civil rights and equal opportunity in employment, health, labor, education and other areas
  • Judicial and political nominees who will protect fundamental freedoms and civil rights including a woman's right to reproductive choice
  • Affirmative action to redress the inequities based on sex, race and economic status
  • Full enforcement of current laws that prohibit sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination in employment
  • Passage of legislation that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • Continuing efforts to combat violence against women
  • Full funding and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Protecting the confidentiality of victims
  • Effectively addressing the concerns of traditionally underserved victims such as the disabled, elderly, immigrant, rural, and Native women and communities of color
  • Measures to provide economic independence for those escaping violent relationships
  • Transitional housing for battered women
  • Effective measures to address the needs of children in families experiencing violence
  • Adoption and full enforcement of hate crimes laws, including those based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability
  • Expansion and enhancement of cyber-stalking laws to include video, audio, internet, GPS and cell phones
  • Strengthening programs to protect the rights and welfare of trafficking victims
  • Legal and economic parity for and public recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) relationships
  • Removal of prejudicial policies related to parenting (i.e., single, custodial, sexual-orientation, adoptive and foster care status)
  • Removal of prejudicial policies related to immigration status
  • Protection and full defense of all civil and human rights
  • Separation of church and state
  • Constitutional right to privacy
We oppose:
  • Amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage
  • Violence against women in media portrayals and other forms of technology

V. The Federal Budget and Taxes

We support:

  • A progressive tax system that raises adequate revenues to support the programs and services women and girls need to achieve equality, security and opportunity
  • Tax reforms that would ensure the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share by closing tax loopholes and enforcing compliance
  • Tax reforms that would improve tax credits for low-income women and their families and make the system more progressive

We oppose:

  • Regressive tax policies
  • Cuts in tax rates for the top tax brackets, tax cuts on capital gains and dividends, repeal of the estate tax and any efforts to enact new regressive tax cuts
  • An unfair and irresponsible budget process
  • Caps on funding for domestic discretionary programs (e.g., education, job training, medical research, child care programs) and entitlement programs (e.g., Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps) that would force cuts in vital services and require disproportionate sacrifice from those in need
  • Budget rules that require increases in federal spending to be offset by budget cuts but that do not require revenue increases to offset tax cuts