Advocate Stories

It takes a village (with good laws and policies)

by Ashley Lidow on Oct 15, 2019

As many of you may know, 2019 has been the year where I decided to become a parent. When folks say that it takes a village to raise a child they are not exaggerating. Without writing a novel about what it has been like to be pregnant I will tell you: *spoiler alert* it is hard, and I am privileged.

WREN is committed to ensuring that all people are able to decide if, when, and how they parent. We live out this commitment through our legislative agenda, advocacy with private employers, and our own workplace practices.

I am privileged to work in an organization that compensates me for my skill, effort and responsibility; provides me with comprehensive health insurance; allows me to accrue paid sick days; and provides me with paid time off, including 12 weeks of paid family medical leave.

Everyone deserves these same rights and benefits. We are working hard to make that a reality beyond our own workplace.

We are providing employers in guidance on workplace policies.

Power Up Your Workplace: A Playbook for Advancing Gender Equity

This new resource is designed to provide employers with strategies to improve workplace culture and support cisgender, transgender, and nonbinary women as full and equal participants and leaders in the economy and workplace. While the guide focuses primarily on gender diversity, many of the recommendations can also improve diversity in different dimensions that include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, national origin, and disability status.

Click here to view the full guide. And to learn more or share your own experiences with workplace practices that advance gender equity, reach out to us at

We are improving South Carolina’s laws to protect pregnant people and promote equity in the workplace.

WREN’s first legislative victory was to pass the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act, making South Carolina the first state in the south to have a comprehensive law preventing pregnancy discrimination.

As of May 18, 2018, if you are pregnant while working, recovering from childbirth, or need to express milk at work, you don’t have to risk your health to stay at your job. South Carolina law now gives you an explicit right to reasonable pregnancy accommodations so you can stay healthy and keep earning a paycheck when you need it most.

In this current legislative cycle we are building on that success with a Lactation Support Act to ensure all workers have the right to break time and private space to express milk in their workplaces. But we are not just stopping there.

We are also addressing the wage gap with the Act to Establish Pay Equity because we know that along with many other factors there is a motherhood penalty when it comes to pay in the workplace. We are working to ensure women who are incarcerated can give birth with dignity by supporting H.3967. We are fighting to ensure that insurance covers an extended supply of contraception so people have control of when they become pregnant. AND we are fighting to defeat an outrageous 6 week abortion ban because politicians do not get to decide if and when someone is pregnant.

At the federal level WREN is a part of a large coalition that supports the FAMILY Act.

Join WREN, Black Women’s Roundtable, the YWCA, and the Center for American Progress in hosting Representative James E. Clyburn at the Richland Library on November 7th, 2019 for a screening of Zero Weeks, a documentary that explores our country’s desperate need for paid family and medical leave policies.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the importance of paid leave as a critical priority for working families.

As a part of the WREN village I hope you will stay connected to our work while I am out on leave. I will be back in January to rejoin you in the fight to ensure South Carolina becomes the place we all need it to be.

Photos of some of my village:


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