Image by Thought Catalog

Policy priorities

BWPC Logo_Text - Horizontal.png

Black women have been absent from the table for far too long.

 

Our collective voices and demand for change are critical for our communities.

We are expecting a return on our investments in democracy by way of policy changes in concrete and significant ways:

Priority 1 >

Raise Minimum Wage 

Priority 2 >

Increase the TANF cash grant in PA

 

Priority 3 >

Paid family and medical leave

 

Priority 4 >

Extending Medicaid to twelve months post-partum 

Priority 1 | Raise Minimum Wage 

Black women are in a virtual state of crisis and poverty is the biggest challenge they face. The percentage of Black women who are full-time minimum-wage workers is higher than that of any other racial group. We know with poverty, comes a whole host of other issues like access to affordable quality housing, affordable quality childcare, transportation as well as poor health outcomes and increased mental health challenges like anxiety, stress, and depression. Data shows that Black women are looking for work but are not getting hired (in the Pittsburgh region). We surveyed almost 300 Black women in 2020 and more than half of the survey respondents reported being employed full time but also acknowledged that it was still a struggle to provide for their families.

 

56% of those surveyed have taken additional jobs to be more financially secure.

The devaluing of women’s work ultimately results in lower wages, economic instability, and expanding inequality. Low wage workers, many of whom are Black women, are less likely to have key employee benefits like paid family and medical leave, or even a living wage and often are forced to use more of their income to maintain their households.

 

50% of our survey respondents reported making less than white co-workers with the same level of education and experience as them.

 

It is estimated that about 40% of Black women would receive a wage increase if the minimum wage is raised to $15.

Priority 2 | Increase the Tanf cash grant in pa

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally-funded block grant that provides cash assistance to Pennsylvania families with the lowest incomes. Recipients of TANF are required to actively look for work or participate in a job training program. 

Priority 3 | paid family and medical leave

More than 50% of Black women reported being essential workers and working during the pandemic, yet not having access to paid family and medical leave. Black women have the highest labor participation rate among women, even during a global pandemic.

52% of the Black women we surveyed reported not having access to paid family medical leave and 44% reported having no access to sick days.

Priority 4 | Extending Medicaid to twelve months post-partum

Fetal deaths are two times more likely for Black women than white women.

The Black fetal mortality rate in Pittsburgh is 94% higher than in similar cities even though Black women in Pittsburgh begin prenatal care sooner than 92% of similar cities. Black maternal mortality is higher in Pittsburgh than in 97% of similar cities. Most maternal deaths and complications occur post-partum, long after Medicaid benefits have been suspended. Prior to the ARP, Medicaid insurance coverage only covered 6-weeks of post-partum care for women. We now have the option to extend that coverage to 12 months and to save the lives of many women, particularly Black women.

 
 
 
 
Image by Daniel Thomas

TANF
Cash Assistance Grant

WHAT IS TANF?

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally-funded block grant that provides cash assistance to Pennsylvania families with the lowest incomes. Recipients of TANF are required to actively look for work or participate in a job training program. 

TANF is a critical program for families who are trying to escape poverty. Families spend TANF benefits in local communities and businesses on basic needs such as housing, clothing, transportation, and toiletries like toothpaste and soap. TANF recipients have to comply with work requirements, and also must file for child support against any absent parent. 

 

Advocacy & ACTION

THE PROBLEM

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance grant – which provides the only source of income for about 50,000 Pennsylvania children –has not been increased since 1990.

THE ask

Contact your PA Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the bills. The House bill is HB 2015 and the Senate bill is SB 918. The bill will increase the TANF cash grant to 50% of the Federal Poverty Level, currently the cash grant is only 22% of the FPL (extreme poverty). 

Check Out Our Support Letter to Governor Wolf

Check Out Meet The Need 2021 Full TANF Report