The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provided not only immediate relief to Americans who have suffered throughout the pandemic, but also signaled the importance of addressing the needs of women and their families.

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis have devastated our nation. The two major pieces of legislation in 2020 — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Omnibus COVID Relief Deal — focused on direct emergency response and relief that Americans needed immediately to survive, including direct checks, unemployment insurance and eviction moratoriums. But by the end of the year, one thing was certain: This catastrophe is far from over.

Key emergency protections were set to expire by March 14, and many national safety concerns remained unaddressed. As crisis relief negotiations continued through winter 2020, AAUW took action to make sure that our elected officials heard us loud and clear: Do your job and pass comprehensive relief.

Through a slate of engagement opportunities, our advocates made it clear to elected officials that any response must address the needs of women and families during the pandemic and beyond. The American Rescue Plan Act incorporated many vital AAUW priorities, including:

  • Expanding child tax credits.
  • Providing funding to support education, with an eye to reducing educational disparities..
  • Extending unemployment compensation.
  • Providing direct stimulus payments to all taxpayers.

AAUW celebrated this robust relief package but will continue to work with Congress and the administration to address additional pressing needs of women and families, most notably raising the minimum wage, providing permanent and expansive paid family and medical leave and ensuring pay equity for all. AAUW is committed to advocating for the rights and protections of women and families during this time of extreme hardship. Congress must be too.

Check out our full list of advocacy actions in the Crisis Recovery Activist Toolkit to ensure that a stronger tomorrow includes the critical services women and families need today.