The Power of Public Policy

Each year, the Women’s Foundation of California trains up to 30 women on how to impact change in California through public policy. Our Women’s Policy Institute fellows learn how to write a bill, influence legislators and organize community support to pass proposed legislation. Since 2003, we have trained more than 150 women on California’s legislative process and have passed 10 bills.

Each year, more than 3,000 bills are heard in every legislative session. This year, our fellows are working on four bills to improve the health, safety and economic prosperity of California’s women and girls. These bills tackle issues ranging from the health of pregnant incarcerated women to pesticide poisoning in California.

Two of our newly-minted fellows, Ashley Boyd (Campaign Director for Moms Rising) and Julia Caplan (Project Director for the California Senior Leaders Alliance) sat down with us to speak about the importance of the bills they helped shape and public policy advocacy. Watch the videos and learn about the bills:

Julia Caplan is working to pass the “Elder Economic Dignity Act of 2010” (AB 2114). This bill would provide a standardized tool for measuring the economic needs of California’s aging population. In order to plan for the future, local organizations must undertake costly independent research to understand how best to help older Californians. By streamlining the way California plans services for our growing aging population, the state will save money while better meeting their needs. Download a fact sheet on this bill.



“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

– Julia Caplan talks about the importance of the Elder Economic Dignity Act.

“Go talk to people.”
– Julia Caplan offers advice for future public policy advocates on working Sacramento.

Ashley Boyd is advocating on behalf of the “California Task Force on Economic Security” (SB 1084). Multiple states have created councils, commissions and task forces to highlight the issue of poverty and establish a comprehensive plan to reduce it. By establishing a task force, California will join a state movement and will be able to develop a unified vision and plan to increase the economic security of all Californians.



“It’s difficult to think on a broader scale.”

– Ashley Boyd speaks about the importance of reducing poverty through a state body.

“There is a lot of unspoken etiquette.”
– Ashley Body talks about what she has learned about California’s legislative process.

For more information on how you can help these bills pass, contact Hannah Hill at hannahh@womensfoundca.org.

The Women’s Foundation of California will be replicating the Women’s Policy Institute nationally with a focus on the needs of older Americans. Learn more about this new project.

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