Economic Blueprint for Women

Action Plan 2017-2020

After honing in on the goal to increase the percentage of women earning a living wage, the Women’s Fund convened the Task Force on Pathways for Women to a Living Wage, a cross-sector collaboration of over 40 individuals and organizations, to determine how best to move the needle on women's economic independence. Co-chaired by Val Bassett and Jean Fox, the Task Force studied key barriers and best practices and identified 27 concrete recommendations for action in these categories, agreeing to focus in particular on changes that will increase opportunities for low-income girls and women and girls and women of color, while also benefiting all women. Here are their recommendations

1. Increase access to quality free/affordable early education and child care through:

  • universal pre-K

  • increased reimbursement and wages for providers

  • longer day programs and after-school for school-aged children.


2. Create gender, racial and ethnic equity in employment, benefit and wages through legislative, legal and collaborative partnerships including:

  • equal pay legislation

  • paid family and medical leave

  • increasing the minimum wage, especially for national chains, including tipped workers in the minimum wage increase and enforcing minimum wage laws

  • employer pay equity initiatives

  • low-wage worker advocacy and litigation.


3. Increase living wage-focused education access and completion for low-income girls and women and girls and women of color by:

  • expanding comprehensive supports and cohort programs for female students

  • starting girls on career and college readiness paths by middle school including living wage awareness, financial literacy, internships, mentorships and summer jobs

  • creating a building trades union pre-apprenticeship program for women

  • expanding bridge and retention programs for women from high school to college and from 2-year to 4-year programs

  • increasing access to free and low-cost child care for students, ideally on college campuses

  • investing in financial literacy programs

  • creating and connecting women to living wage career ladders

  • increasing access to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, especially contextual learning related to employment

  • promoting STEAM and nontraditional training and education participation and retention across age groups.


4. Improve funding, services, access and awareness for all girls and women, especially low-income girls and women and girls and women of color to assure health, safety and well-being, including:

  • increasing family planning and contraception access, especially for younger women

  • investing in domestic and dating violence services and healthy relationship and domestic violence prevention education

  • fostering a healthier sense of self and resilience by identifying trauma early and connecting girls and women to needed supports, including mental health and substance use services.


5. Prioritize funding, needed policy changes and services for low-income women and women of color in stabilization and safety net programs, including:

  • pushing for TAFDC to provide childcare vouchers for the full duration of education/degree programs and to spend more of federal block grant on education and training

  • expanding eligibility for emergency shelter assistance

  • supporting housing for all, in particular, increasing transitional housing for women

  • supporting increased funding for, access to and promotion of public transportation

  • supporting federal immigration reform.


6. Increase women’s civic leadership and political participation, especially low-income women and women of color, by:

  • developing a coordinated and diverse women's advocacy voice for the region to support a consensus agenda that includes policy priorities in these recommendations

  • creating and expanding leadership development programs that include civic participation and advocacy skills for low-income girls and women and girls and women of color.

Did You Know?

The average cost of daycare per year in the US: $9,589. The average cost of college per year in the U.S. $9,410.

Did You Know?

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields, U.S grads are on track to fill 29 percent of those jobs. Women are on track to fill just 3 percent.

Did You Know?

Women make up about 51 percent of the Mass. population, but only 26 percent of the Legislature. Mass. ranks 23rd among 50 state legislatures for the proportion of women holding office, placing it behind all other New England states.

 We are grateful to the sponsors of the Economic Blueprint for Women's Action Plan: 


The Women’s Fund advances economic security for women and girls in Southeastern MA, promoting equity across race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender identity and country of origin.  We build partnerships and use our voice, advocacy, and grantmaking to foster a more just region.

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The Women's Fund is a Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts

135 Union Street| New Bedford, MA 02740 | 508-717-0283 |