Congressional Action Needed Now

Washington D.C. – Today, in a virtual briefing, YWCA USA brought leaders from five states together to highlight the findings from its 5th national YWomenVote survey.  The findings represent the voices of more than 3,500 women across the nation and reflect their top economic, health, safety, and societal concerns and priorities for Congress ahead of November’s Midterm elections.

YWCA association leaders from Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Birmingham, Alabama; and Austin, Texas joined YWCA USA to lead this in-depth conversation tying the survey’s findings to the work they do each day serving nearly two million women, children, and families.

YWomenVote’s 2022 midterm election survey is unique in that it centers women of color, particularly young women of color —whose voices are critical yet frequently overlooked in policy discussions yet who are among the fastest growing voting constituencies in the nation.

These findings underscore what YWCA USA found in its previous survey, released in February; women are remarkably united—across race, ethnicity, party identification, and socioeconomic and disability status—in supporting policy solutions that address the concerns and needs they have for themselves and their families.

Among significant findings:

  • 81% of Gen Z women of color want Congressional action to protect access to abortion.
  • 70% of women overall want action to expand access to high quality child care.
  • 80% of Gen Z women of color and 75% of Millennial women of color are concerned about mass shootings and gun violence.

Margaret Mitchell, YWCA USA’s CEO, remarked, “Today, as YWCAs work in our communities to return to pre-pandemic service levels, we are still feeling and seeing firsthand what our families need to survive. As Members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. this week, YWCAs are coming together to elevate and remind our elected officials of what must be accomplished to ensure our families and communities thrive. Critical investments in childcare, gender-based violence funding, and other frontline services are critical to our communities, and they need to happen NOW.”

YWCA local association leaders echoed the need for action.

“YWCA Lancaster is proud to be part of a network of nearly 200 local associations across 45 states and the District of Columbia, advocating for practical solutions to protect survivors and eradicate all forms of gender-based violence,” Stacie Blake, CEO, YWCA Lancaster remarked. “Our sexual assault counseling center, 24-hour hotline, and other services for victim-survivors demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the community and the relentless work and skill required to maintain this mentally and emotionally critical work.”

“Women are expressing deep concerns around a broad range of economic, caregiving, safety, and societal issues,” said Naya Diaz, Executive Director, YWCA Greater Austin. “At YWCA Greater Austin, we focus on the intersection of providing mental health services and social justice. The growing concerns highlighted in YWomenVote’s recent findings are alarming but underscores the need for immediate action from our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Dr.Cheryl Watkins, MBA, President and CEO, YWCA Metro St. Louis, agreed, adding, “Young women today are the first generation in half a century to enter adulthood without the fundamental right to make reproductive health care decisions about their bodies. As the the largest generation in the US today, Gen Z—particularly Gen Z women of color—are set to feel the biggest impacts. It is time we listen and make decisions that solidify their futures and allow their voices to be heard.”

“Women are the future leaders of this country and the decisions made now will impact them, their children, their families, and their communities for years to come,” said Kelly Grosser, Chief Mission Impact Officer, YWCA Tri-County Area. “Our communities rely on the critical services – from child care to adult education and so much more – and these findings clearly underscore that women and families want and need to see their elected leaders take meaningful action.”

“YWomenVote 2022 uniquely elevates the concerns and priorities of young women of color, and it is important that we listen with the upmost curiosity and intention,” said Dr. LaRhonda Magras, CEO, YWCA Central Alabama. “What’s most alarming is that so many of women’s concerns – from economic stability to gender-based violence – have sharply risen since they were asked last winter. It’s time for leaders to act – the urgency and need is only increasing.”

“In a time where our country seems so very divided, women are of one mind,” said Margaret Mitchell. “They are more unified and more concerned than ever before about similar issues; no matter where they are in the country, they want their voices heard and for elected officials to act, and to act now. It would be a critical oversight to not anticipate that women will be carrying these concerns and priorities to the polls this November.”

Learn more about other significant findings from YWomenVote 2022 and their implications at ywomenvote.org.

*Survey Methodology: This online survey was designed and conducted by Finn Partners. It reached a total of N=3,354 women nationwide between June 21, 2022, and August 2, 2022. This sample is inclusive of oversamples of women in six states (N=400 in each of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas), younger women of color (N=200 Gen Z, N=200 millennial), and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women (N=81), all of which were weighted down to the appropriate size nationwide. The combined reach of this survey and additional oversamples enabled examination of demographic subgroups by race and ethnicity (Black women, Hispanic women/Latinas, Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and American Indian/Alaska Native women), and by generation.

YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families in a typical year. YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for over 160 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls. Learn more at www.ywca.org.

Picture of seven YWCA leaders during the 2022 YWomen Vote virtual Hill briefing