POLICY RESPONSE TO COVID-19


Women and girls are at the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis and must be at the forefront of our response.

Below is an outline of our advocacy priorities to address inequities created and amplified by the pandemic and impacting women and girls in our communities. As there are many organizations working to support women and girls in a number of important areas, this evolving list represents where the Women’s Fund believes we can offer critical support. This is not exhaustive, definitive or exclusively representative of all needs but highlights key and emerging recommendations by the Women’s Fund at this moment in time. These are not competing priorities—we will support and continue to lift up all those who are working to address the economic and social crisis on behalf of all women and girls.

Full recommendations and steps to implement effective public policies are being shared with policymakers and leaders in our community and across the state. We are committed to working with them to center the needs of women and girls as they take action to respond to this crisis.

ECONOMIC SECURITY AND LEADERSHIP

  • Paid leave for all employeeshourly and salaried, full- and part-time, public and private sectors, small and large businesses.
    • Paid sick and safe time.
    • Paid family and medical leave.
  • Investments in public assistance programs to stabilize families and our economy.
    • Increase access to affordable child care through the child care subsidy program.
    • Waive co-pay requirements for child care subsidies.
    • Increase access to food assistance through SNAP.
    • Implement Pandemic EBT program to provide meal replacements for those children eligible for free/reduced meals.
    • Suspend work requirements, eligibility redeterminations and other administrative actions that could result in loss of public assistance during this crisis.
  • Provide for housing stability and prevent homelessness.
    • Invest public dollars in rent and utility assistance.
    • Extend and expand the suspension of evictions.
    • Prohibit fees for non-payment of rent during the crisis.
    • Prohibit the reporting of missed or late rental payments to credit agencies.
    • Explicitly provide the authority for local governments to implement eviction moratoria.
  • Ensure access to affordable and comprehensive physical and mental health care.
    • Implement Medicaid expansion immediately.
    • Expand access to reproductive health care and family planning through telehealth and Medicaid coverage.
    • Expand Medicaid eligibility for pregnant and postpartum women.
  • Support a strong and responsive Unemployment Insurance program. (Spanish)
  • Support essential workers.
    • Ensure access to child care, mental and physical health care and paid leave.
    • Ensure access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Commit to pay equity for all workers.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND SEXUAL LITERACY

  • Access to reproductive health care and contraception.
    • Provide access to extended supplies of hormonal birth control, six months to one year at a time.
    • Ensure access to abortion as essential health care, including via telehealth.
    • Expand access to reproductive health care and family planning services through telehealth and Medicaid coverage.
    • Expand Medicaid income eligibility for pregnant women and provide a full year of postpartum coverage.

FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE

  • Ensure access to protection orders for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and harassment as local court systems become less accessible.
    • Ensure the availability of all protection order forms online and in multiple languages.
    • Allow the electronic submission of protection order forms without the assistance of an attorney.
    • Waive notarization requirements of protection orders through the duration of the crisis, as long as access to local courts is limited.
    • Automatically extend expiring orders through the duration of the state of emergency.
    • Grant temporary (ex parte) orders until show cause hearings can be held, if show cause hearings are delayed because of limited access to local courts.
    • Ensure access to an advocate during the state of emergency as access to local courts are limited.
  • Provide support for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
    • Ensure that systems and programs have sufficient capacity to meet the complex needs of survivors during this crisis and beyond.
    • Ensure domestic and sexual violence and sex trafficking survivors and sex workers can access income support and other public assistance programs.
    • Create a system of supportive services for sex trafficking survivors, as the pandemic threatens the economic stability of Nebraskans and prior economic recessions have shown increases in sex trafficking.

If you would like to share your experiences and provide insight on these issues and more, please fill out this survey. And then stay connected with us as we work to use our voices for women and girls.