Policy Updates

 A Look Back at Our Wins  

by Demetria Mosley on Mar 20, 2024

 The Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network (WREN) is committed to creating positive change thoughtfully and intentionally. We have partnered with communities most affected by the issues we address to advocate for change. WREN understands that achieving systemic change requires the involvement of those most affected. Therefore, we prioritize inclusion in our advocacy efforts. Our ultimate goal is to create a future where everyone can have equal opportunities.  

 In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to take a moment to reaffirm our commitment to advancing the rights of women, girls, and gender-diverse people in South Carolina. Over the years, WREN has supported various policies and initiatives that have increased access to care and resources for residents of the Palmetto State. 

Here are just a few examples of the significant policy victories that have positively impacted the people in our state, among many others: 

  1. Pregnancy Accommodations Act

 The South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act, which became law in 2018,  ensures pregnant employees receive reasonable workplace accommodations, such as modified duties, flexible schedules, and restroom breaks. By protecting the rights of pregnant individuals to work safely and without discrimination, this act not only promotes gender equality but also supports the health and well-being of birthing people and their children. 

  1. Lactation Support Act

Breastfeeding is fundamental to maternal and infant health, yet many people face barriers when returning to work. The passage of the South Carolina Lactation Support Act in 2020 was a significant step toward creating a more supportive environment for breastfeeding people in the workplace. Employers must now offer their employees reasonable break time and a private and clean space to express breast milk. By supporting breastfeeding for working parents, we are advancing gender equity in the workforce. 

  1. Ending the Shackling of Pregnant People

 No pregnant individual should ever endure the inhumane practice of being shackled during childbirth. Yet this cruel practice was still legal in South Carolina before our advocacy efforts. Through relentless advocacy and grassroots organizing, we successfully pushed for legislation to prohibit the shackling of pregnant people during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. This 2020 victory not only upholds the dignity and rights of pregnant people but also reflects our commitment to ensuring compassionate and humane treatment for all. 

 

Building a Future  

Although we have achieved significant victories, our work is far from complete. We need to continue advocating for policies that address the various challenges faced by women, girls, and gender-expansive people, especially those from marginalized communities. There is still much progress to be made, from closing the gender pay gap to protecting access to reproductive healthcare.  

 

We feel renewed energy and determination as we reflect on what we’ve accomplished. Together, we will keep moving forward, creating a brighter future for all people in South Carolina. 

 

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