CWEALF Advances Rights for Women
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) empowers women through direct legal services and strategic policy work.
The bilingual advocacy program run by Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) at Junta for Progressive Action is a place where women who only speak Spanish can go for legal assistance. Many are going through family law matters, or are in a dispute with a current or former employer. Important financial resources are at stake, and many of the women are immigrants who are unfamiliar with both the language and the system. Without the CWEALF program, few would have another place to turn.
“We occupy a special space with our work to close the civil legal justice gap and end its disparate impact on women,” said Executive Director Janée Woods Weber.
In addition to helping women directly with legal needs related to divorces, child support, housing, employment and other issues, CWEALF works to create systemic change through policy advocacy. Working with allied partners, the nonprofit builds campaigns through a combination of research and grassroots organizing and training.
The organization’s policy work, according to Woods Weber, is informed by lessons learned from the women they serve.
“Nobody should be living in survival mode when we live in the richest state in the richest country in the history of the world,” said Woods Weber. “We take what we hear from the women we serve and we think critically, what is the root cause here?”
Learn more about and support CWEALF.
In a recent policy success, CWEALF and other advocates led the successful Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave, which resulted in legislation guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family leave.
In 2022, CWEALF’s legislative agenda has prioritized advocating for the state to allocate more of its federal COVID-19 aid to people in the most disadvantaged communities.
While CWEALF’s legal guidance has focused primarily on family law and employment law for the past several decades, the COVID-19 pandemic created new and different legal challenges for its clients. Many calls came in seeking help with unemployment and basic needs, such as housing, food and child care.
During the beginning of the pandemic, CWEALF spent significant time connecting clients to food pantries, grocery store gift cards and other resources. It also created a “Know Your Rights” campaign with guides about unemployment rules, paid sick days and family and medical leave.
CWEALF recently received a multi-year general operating support grant and a small grant from The Community Foundation, and is a longtime nonprofit partner of the Community Fund for Women and Girls, a leadership initiative of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Did you know?
Women working full-time, year round are paid 83 cents for each dollar a man makes in Connecticut, adding up to more than $11,000 in lost annual income. Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Do you have a long-term interest in supporting local advocacy nonprofits or other causes you care about? Learn about charitable funds at The Community Foundation.