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

Act to Establish Pay Equity (H. 3183 and S.514)

These sister bills would make pay discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender identity, age, national origin or disability illegal in South Carolina.

Policy Priority

Paid Family Leave for State Employees (H. 3560 and S.11)

This bill would provide state employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Paid family leave is crucial to supporting working families’ economic security and promoting gender equity in workplaces. No one should have to risk their job or face financial loss when they need to welcome a new child.

Partner Bill

Prohibit Paying Sub-Minimum Wages to People With Disabilities (S.533)

S.533 would assemble a taskforce to create a three-year transition plan to phase out subminimum wage by August 1, 2024. Currently, the United States still operates under a law in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which grants certain employers a 14(c) certificate to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage—sometimes pennies an hour. In South Carolina as of 2020, approximately 1,200 people with disabilities are making less than the minimum wage. Several states have already restricted the use of subminimum wage, and South Carolina looks to be the next state to eliminate this.

Partner Bill

Paid Sick Leave Act (H.3469)

This bill would provide earned paid sick leave to employees statewide.