About Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund
CWEALF envisions a world where gender equity is realized, differences are embraced, and women and girls thrive. In this world, women and girls build strong, supportive networks; experience widespread opportunities for advancement and fulfillment; command the resources to advocate for themselves as well as for others; and are empowered to lead and be agents of change. CWEALF advances women’s rights and opportunities through three core program strategies: legal education, policy and advocacy, and advancement and leadership initiatives. CWEALF serves clients statewide and primarily serves low-income women of color, including immigrant communities, who have at least one dependent.
Legal Information and Access
CWEALF helps bridge the justice gap by providing information about the legal rights of women and girls, as well as connecting them with resources and providing them with individual support as they navigate the justice system. The program components include information and referral, client advocacy services, and “know your rights” community education.
Public Policy and Advocacy
CWEALF protects and promotes the rights of women and girls by identifying and articulating the challenges they face and elevating their interests and voices through public policy and advocacy. CWEALF fights gender discrimination with a focus on: a) economic security, b) access to justice, c) workplace and education equity, d) freedom from violence and harassment, and e) sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Advancement and Leadership Initiatives
CWEALF provides a platform for women’s and girls’ voices and issues. CWEALF promotes advancement opportunities for women and girls to reach their potential in school, at work, in the home, and in the community. This work includes coalition building with partner organizations to increase impact.
- CWEALF’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND IMPACT
CWEALF leads the Campaign for Paid Family Leave, a coalition of more than 75 organizations from across Connecticut. In 2019, CWEALF led the Campaign’s advocacy efforts to pass one of the strongest paid family and medical leave programs in the nation.
- CWEALF founded and has continued to serve in leadership of the Connecticut Collective for Women and Girls, a coalition of organizations and funders from across the state who are committed to the advancement of women’s and girls’ (including those who are cisgender, transgender, and non-binary) rights, equity, and justice through collective power.
- CWEALF launched She Leads Justice, an exciting and innovative program that develops former CWEALF clients into advocates and agents of change in their communities.
- CWEALF is a leading voice for pay equity in Connecticut. In 2018, CWEALF led the advocacy effort to prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history during the application process.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CWEALF has convened a group of advocacy organizations to collectively urge state leaders and lawmakers to prioritize the needs of the state’s most underserved populations in its ongoing response to the pandemic.
- CWEALF increased its advocacy and free legal services to the undocumented community in response to the Trump administration's aggressive anti-immigration and xenophobic policies. CWEALF was one of the only organizations in the state to educate and guide undocumented community to understand and complete Connecticut's Family Preparedness Plan, which provides undocumented parents and guardians a clear legal plan for the care of their children should the parent face immediate deportation.
- CWEALF created a comprehensive Know Your Rights guide, in English and Spanish and provides free virtual workshops to support workers to understand their rights and what programs are available to them in the workplace during the pandemic.
- CWEALF led the evaluation of the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, a federally funded grant awarded to the City of Hartford. The project successfully reduced teen birth rates in Hartford by 56% through evidence-based sexual and reproductive health programs, clinical partnerships, and youth-led community mobilization initiatives.