Women’s Economic Opportunity

Women serve as the primary or co-breadwinner in two-thirds of South Carolina’s families, so women are key to our state’s economic health. Yet women are more likely to live in poverty, are not paid wages equal to men, and many women face discrimination in the workplace. Fewer opportunities and lower pay undermine women’s lifetime income, which not only affects her own life, but also her children and family members. Economically empowered women and moms are the key to healthy and successful families and intergenerational economic mobility.

WREN is working to educate and advocate for better economic opportunities for women across the state. In the past year, one of WREN’s top legislative priorities, the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act shattered barriers as the first state-level bill in the south to offer crucial protections to pregnant employees. Bills like these ensure that women can remain in the workforce and provide for themselves and their families.

Click here to learn more about related legislation and advocacy opportunities.

Power Up Your Workplace: A Playbook for Advancing Gender Equity

This 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.

This resource was made possible by the generous support of the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

Click here to view the full guide.

Click here to access rich text version. 



WREN’s Workforce Advisory Group for Equity (WAGE) consists of leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds, who are committed to WREN’s efforts to support women in the workforce. Advisors provide input on strategies to increase women’s participation and advancement in South Carolina’s workforce, including: hiring and recruiting practices; training and educational opportunities; shaping workplace and public policies; and other key strategies. If you are interested in learning more about WAGE, contact Brandi Parrish Ellison, Director of Policy and Government Relations at bpellison@scwren.org.

WREN Summit for Women’s Economic Empowerment

WREN hosts an annual statewide event to bring a diverse group of business and non-profit professionals, researchers, policymakers, students, and advocates to learn more about the role of women in South Carolina’s economy and society.

2017 Statewide Summit Review

2018 Statewide Summit Review

2018 Upstate Summit Review

2019 Statewide Summit Review

To learn more about the  2019 WREN Summit, click here.

Tremendous Potential

There is a significant, projected workforce shortage in South Carolina over the next decade. By addressing this workforce need, women have the opportunity to create a net gain in economic activity for our state and simultaneously make strides in reducing the gender wage gap.

Click here to read more.

Why It Matters In SC?

WREN advocates for closing the wage gap. We support policy strategies that will make it easier for women to earn a living, advance in their careers, and support their families.

Legislative Agenda

Policy Priority

Campaign Funds for Caregiving

Currently, candidates and officeholders in South Carolina cannot use campaign funds to cover dependent care expenses incurred during official and campaign business. No parent or family caretaker should be barred from running for office and representing their community because of the cost of caring for their loved ones. Caregiving is a societal responsibility, not just an individual one, and allowing campaign funds to cover caregiving costs recognizes that.

Policy Priority

Increasing Paid Parental Leave (S. 27, H.3617)

Parental leave is crucial to supporting health, economic security, and gender equity in the workplace. No parent should have to choose between bonding with their child and financially providing for their family. In the 2021 legislative session, WREN led efforts to secure South Carolina’s first parental leave legislation, guaranteeing 6 weeks of paid leave for over 55,000 state employees. In the 2023 session, WREN will fight to expand paid leave to a 12-week standard and expand the number of South Carolinians who have access to the benefit.

Policy Priority

Paid Leave for Education Workforce (H.3429, H.3908, S. 552)

South Carolina’s 56,000 teachers make up one of the largest workforces in the state. Parental leave is essential to a healthy and functioning economy; no parent should have to choose between bonding with their child and financially providing for their family. WREN will lead efforts to ensure teachers are included in the state’s parental leave benefits.