Seattle Women's Commission
SWC made substantial strides to address issues of violence against women, economic opportunities and health disparities in 2010. As the Commission is committed to providing the best support to the women of Seattle as it can in these areas, the following encompass the commission's work plan for 2011.
Policy and Program Priorities:
SWC seeks to address the high levels of domestic violence in Seattle.
- In light of current budget environment, Seattle Women's Commission will ensure that domestic violence issues remain a priority on the Mayor and City Council's agenda.
- SWC believes huge strives can be achieved by cultural competency training for officers regarding how they respond to domestic violence calls. SWC will advocate for opportunities for Seattle police officers who serve as mentors/partners to new officers to receive training on cultural competency on domestic violence in various communities.
- SWC has learned that while it is illegal to withhold housing from an individual because she has filed for a domestic violence protection order, tenant screening companies still provide this information in their reports to landlords. SWC will advocate to make this practice illegal.
SWC will also advocate specifically for resources and policy changes to help victims of prostitution and dating violence.
- It will continue to monitor initial success indicators of the "Bridge" residential recovery program for prostituted youth and advocate for funding beyond the two-year pilot project.
- It is estimated that between 300 and 500 underage girls are prostituted in King County. SWC will promote education of sexual exploitation/youth prostitution issue to educators and parents. It will also research Seattle School District's violence prevention curriculum and advocate for inclusion of teen dating violence and prostituted youth education for middle and high school students. SWC also seeks to explore building stronger connection between Youth & Families Initiative and youth prostitution issue.
- Additionally, SWC will analyze areas of influence in legislative arena and make policy recommendations; advocate for changing law around arresting underage girls for prostitution.
SWC seeks to better understand challenges and services for homeless women, especially young women, women with children, seniors and women in same-sex partnerships.
- In 2011, SWC will create stronger connections to the homeless community by seeking openings for engagement, including attending SKCCH and meeting with providers.
- It will meet with 5-10 women living in Tent City to get their understanding and perceptions on homeless issues and life for women and families in tent cities. Based on the information obtained through meeting homeless women and service providers, SWC will make recommendations to the city of policies to help address homelessness issues facing women in Seattle.
- SWC will also provide city leaders information on how budget and service cuts at local, county and state levels are affecting homeless women and families in Seattle.
As a continuation of the work done by SWC in 2010, the commission will continue to advocate to the City Council for paid sick leave in Seattle.
- Together with community partners, build upon momentum in 2010 to urge City Council to vote in favor of paid sick leave for companies doing business in the city of Seattle.
Jobs and worker retraining are a large issue for the women of Seattle who have lost their jobs. SWC will research green job training opportunities for women and gender inadequacy in worker retraining programs in Seattle.
- Investigate success of City's green jobs program in recruiting and placing women in "green jobs."
- Make recommendations to City Council, Mayor and city departments on how to ensure "green job" opportunities and worker retraining programs are helping women.
Collaborating with the efforts of the economic disparity team effort, SWC will also investigate health issues facing homeless women in Seattle.
- While meeting with homeless women and providers, SWC will also gather information on the top barriers to meeting health needs and currently available resources.
- The Commission will advocate for retaining and/or adding funding to the budget to support health programs for homeless women in Seattle.
- SWC will educate the City Council and Mayor on health issues facing homeless women.
With the new federal health care legislation of 2010 came new laws requiring business to allow for breaks for women to breastfeed and would require employers to build a non-restroom location for women to expel milk. SWC will ensure awareness and enforcement of new federal breastfeeding law among City of Seattle employers.
- SWC will Partner with breastfeeding/health advocacy organizations to raise awareness of new federal breastfeeding law.
- Through this partnership, SWC will publicize the requirements of this law among Seattle business community.
Over the years, SWC has remained committed to increasing the awareness of marginalized populations' access to health care and information. SWC once again prioritizes providing support to the community's work to raise awareness.
- SWC will help publicize findings of Seattle Foundation Report that outlines marginalized communities and their barriers to health access.
- It will also continue to educate about infant mortality disparities and support community partners, such as Equal Start Coalition.