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Policy Platform

YWCA Evanston/North Shore (YWCA-ENS) is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. As one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for more than 150 years – from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. As we work to protect the gains made by women and people of color, and continue to advocate for legislation that promotes women’s empowerment and racial justice, we carry on this long tradition of social action and advocacy. To advance our critical mission through thoughtful public policy initiatives, we acknowledge the existence of systemic socio-economic, gender, and racially discriminatory barriers and prioritize the following concerns:

Health and Safety of Women and Girls

Access to Quality Healthcare

YWCA-ENS believes that quality, affordable, healthcare is critical to everyone, especially women and children; many of whom have inadequate healthcare coverage or no healthcare coverage at all.  YWCA-ENS supports policies that promote wellness by ensuring the physical, mental, and reproductive health of women and girls.
We support policies that respect the rights of women to control health and family decisions, and we oppose efforts to limit the ability of reproductive health service providers to provide accessible, safe, and comprehensive services to patients. We support legislation and public policy at the federal, state and local levels that address racial disparities in maternal mortality and improve access to quality maternal services.

Gender-Based Violence

YWCA-ENS supports policy initiatives that work to ensure community well-being by seeking to eradicate violence, against all people, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, trafficking of women and girls, and dating violence. We support legislation and policy initiatives that include the needs of all victims and survivors of violence and provide affirmative supports to survivor’s families and communities.

Racial Justice & Civil Rights

YWCA-ENS rejects racism and bigotry and supports public policy initiatives that work to eliminate racism in all its forms. We support policies that address racism at a systemic, organizational, and structural level and oppose policies and practices that allow for or enable discrimination.

End Racial Profiling and the Criminalization of People of Color

YWCA-ENS opposes laws, policies and practices that enable racial profiling and the criminalization of people of color. We support efforts to provide government agencies with tools and resources to address the role that stereotypes, biases and institutional practices play in their interactions with communities of color and other marginalized groups. To this end, we support the reform of the modern criminal justice system and policies that prioritize restorative justice.


YWCA-ENS supports the passage of broad and humane immigration reform. We support legislation and public actions at the local, state, and federal level that make it possible for immigrants to fully integrate into the nation’s social and economic fabric, with all of the rights and supports of living in the United States.

Women’s Empowerment and Economic Advancement

YWCA-ENS supports policies that work to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls and that work to ensure their access to a safe workplace free from harassment. We support policies that ensure women and girls’ full and effective leadership participation and equality at all levels of political, economic, and public life.

Worker’s Rights

YWCA-ENS believes that women have the right to economic security, and prioritizes their economic advancement and empowerment. We support policy initiatives that work to encourage women’s economic advancement, particularly for women of color, by increasing access to job-protected safe leave, a living wage and paid sick and family leave.


YWCA-ENS believes that access to high quality, affordable, early childhood programming is critical to women’s successful workplace participation. We support policy initiatives and private and public actions that improve quality, accessibility and affordability of child care and early education programs.


YWCA-ENS believes that safe, affordable, shelter is a human right. We support policies that acknowledge housing is a right and a community responsibility; that demonstrate local, state, and federal government’s obligation to increase the supply of affordable housing for women and children; and that ensure access to housing on a non-discriminatory basis.

Human Services

YWCA-ENS recognizes that adequate Human Service funding is necessary to building and protecting community vibrancy, health and well-being. Accordingly, we support policies that financially support the human services field and oppose cuts that take critical resources away from these necessary service providers.