We want to talk for a minute about the Wyoming Women's Action Network, our vision for Wyoming, and where things stand 10 months into our work.
We launched the Wyoming Women's Action Network in January of this year to inspire action and advocacy to advance the economic well-being, health, and representation of Wyoming’s women and families.
We envision a state in which all women and girls are thriving, included as vibrant and essential parts of the state’s past, present, and future, and valued for their inherent worth. And, because we believe that policy is the essential tool to ensure longitudinal change, we envision a state in which policy and statute reflect the full worth of women and girls.
We want to stand alongside other groups around the state and ensure that women and girls are excluded no longer.
Our role is to step into a space that continues to be left vacant: Advocating for public policy, legislation, and representation that includes and supports women and girls.
Wyoming’s public policy is not currently viewed through a gender lens, nor is the benefit of emphasizing the role of women apparent to many lawmakers or citizens of our state. So we're here to change the conversation by providing education about the data behind the issues, to dispel myths about who is affected by policy decisions, and to give a voice to women across the state so that lawmakers know that we are listening and taking action.
We give presentations around the state—to service clubs, lawmakers, groups of interested citizens, you name it—work with partners like Equality State Policy Center and the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, generate fact sheets, post to social media, create original content on the website (thanks for reading!), and we're about to produce our first whitepapers and policy briefs (because we're nerds).
We're concerned first and foremost with women's economic security. Wyoming consistently has among the nation's largest gender wage gaps. Women in Wyoming are more likely to age into poverty. We don't have access to capital to start businesses. We lack basic resources to care for our families. And we're not seen as fully equal economic drivers of the state's economy. We want to change this picture.
We’re also concerned with access to healthcare. Here's the short (and obvious) explanation: When people are healthier, they’re more employable and more productive. They're also happier. Better parents, better neighbors, better friends. Women in Wyoming--and across the country--are disproportionately impacted by lack of access to healthcare. (Not to mention the existing structural biases that create a medical care gap by gender.) We want Wyoming's women and girls to thrive, and healthcare is a large part of that thriving.
And representation matters. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles across the Equality State, especially in our State Legislature. Although roughly half of Wyoming’s population is female only about 15% of state legislators are women. When almost nine out of 10 lawmakers are men—and legislative committees and panels are often 100% male—but 7 out of 10 minimum wage workers are women, it is clear that the Wyoming is failing to consider 100% of its citizens in its decision making.
This work is important. We can't do it without the partners across the state like Equality State Policy Center and Wyoming Women's Foundation (yes, those hotlinks go directly their donation pages). And we can't do it without you.
The year is winding down. The legislative conversations are heating up. We're looking to all of you to stand alongside us and raise your voices in 2020. The Equality State needs you.
We know you're ready.