YWCA Lancaster Public Policy Positions

Check back often to see our continuously expanding list of issues and resources you can access to educate yourself. Make sure to check out the events calendar to learn about our ongoing events, workshops and trainings that address these issues, and our blog where we discuss all things racism and empowerment.

Our mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

YWCA Lancaster addresses contemporary political issues and advocates for the rights of women and minorities.  The Board of Directors supports the following public policies:

Prevent Gender-Based Violence and Support Survivors

Women and girls of all ages, income levels, racial and ethnic communities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious affiliations continue to experience violence in the form of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking.  YWCA Lancaster is the county provider of sexual assault prevention and counseling services and provides a 24/7 hotline.  We support practical solutions to protect survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and eradicate all forms of gender-based violence.

What we support:

  • Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Reauthorization Act (FVPSA)
  • Prevent rapists from asserting parental rights—Pennsylvania HB 1984: In Pennsylvania, a convicted rapist can still assert parental rights over the victim’s child. While a convicted rapist cannot be awarded custody, they still possess and can assert legal parental rights through the courts and other avenues. This results in the re-victimization of the victim and their child/ren over course of their lives. It is time to pass legislation that would close this inadvertent and antiquated loophole that harms victims and their children in the Commonwealth.
  • End child marriage in Pennsylvania—Pennsylvania HB 360 and SB 81: Nationally, over 250,000 children were married between 2000 and 2010, some as young as 11 years old. Marriage is a legal contract, yet minors do not have full legal rights, establishing a stark and problematic power imbalance. Child marriages negatively impact victims, their families, and our larger Commonwealth. It is time to establish 18 as the minimum age of marriage in Pennsylvania.
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders-Pennsylvania HB 1075and SB 90: would aid individuals, communities, and law enforcement in preventing suicides, homicides and mass shootings and enhance public safety. Although family members may be the first to notice early warning signs of a person in crisis, they currently have little recourse to take steps to protect their loved ones. We encourage legislators to support bills that would rectify that problem by authorizing local courts to issue “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” in this Commonwealth.


Health Care-

Ensure health care for women, girls, and marginalized people
Quality, affordable, culturally-competent health care is critical to everyone, but for many women, children, people of color, and trauma survivors, getting the medical care and insurance coverage they need is a struggle. Moreover, unequal access to health care is a driving factor in racial disparities in maternal and other health outcomes in the U.S.

What we support:


Racial Justice-

Eliminate policies and practices that criminalize people of color
YWCA is committed to ensuring that everyone is afforded equal opportunity and equal protection under the law. Too often, however, stereotypes, biases, and racial power dynamics are embedded in our laws and public policies. They are also reflected in the use of racial profiling, heightened surveillance tactics, targeted enforcement strategies, and other practices that increase policing of certain racial and ethnic communities (but not others) and criminalize people of color.

What we support:

  • The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act
  • Ending school discipline disparities and the “school to prison pipeline”
  • Ending mass incarceration


Civil Rights-

Protect the Rights and Safety of Marginalized Communities
YWCA’s intersectional mission to eliminate racism and empower women demands that we show up to advocate against the oppression that many groups and individuals endure. We recognize the interconnected experiences of discrimination and disadvantage that women face from their overlapping identities. 

What we support:

  • A full and fair census
  • Full implementation of the Pennsylvania Fair Funding Formula to address educational inequities across the Commonwealth including Lancaster.
  • Restoration of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Legal protections for LGTBQ+ people
  • Equal rights amendment


Equal Pay & Workplace Fairness-

Improve Women’s Economic Security

Removing barriers and expanding opportunities for women’s successful workplace participation is at the heart of YWCA’s mission to empower women.  No one should have to choose between their livelihood and their health, their family, or their safety. Yet far too many women and families, particularly women and families of color, must make this choice every day.

What we support:

  • Fair wages and equal pay
  • Safe, fair, and inclusive workplaces free of discrimination and harassment
  • Job-protected safe leave, paid sick leave, and paid family leave
  • Quality, affordable child care and early education programs
  • Access to workforce development and STEM opportunities
  • Safe, decent, affordable, and fair housing



Protect Immigrant Women, Children, and Families

YWCA is committed to ensuring that those seeking safety and opportunity in the U.S. can arrive and live without fear, harm, or discrimination. Current immigration policies, however, have retraumatized survivors of violence, heightened fears, and exacerbated discrimination against immigrant communities. Any discussion of immigration must prioritize the safety of immigrant women, children, and families who often have experienced violence, trafficking, extreme poverty, and other threats to their safety and health.

What we support:

  • The DREAM Act
  • An end to family separation and family detention
  • Asylum for survivors of violence
  • Full and fair immigration and asylum proceedings