COLUMBUS— Today, State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville), Secretary of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus (ODWLC), helped plan and participated in the virtual Women’s Lobby Day. The virtual event gathered participants from across the state to discuss policy solutions to challenges Ohio women and families face.
This year’s theme was Women Still Rising. The annual event featured guest speakers, policy briefings from women legislators and video messages from elected officials. The group focused its efforts on equal pay, paid family leave, access to comprehensive healthcare and affordable childcare, infant mortality and commonsense gun safety.
Lawmakers addressed participants about legislation they have introduced that would build better lives and brighter futures for women and working families in Ohio. Rep. Lightbody highlighted House Bill (HB) 145, her legislation to increase income eligibility for federal childcare assistance.
“HB 145 is a workforce bill that will help Ohio families recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic. This legislation would increase eligibility for childcare assistance and transitional benefits to 200 percent of the federal poverty line. HB 145 would help working parents, particularly single moms, get the childcare they need in order to return to the work force,” said Rep. Lightbody.
The event follows a year in which the pandemic has amplified existing gender inequalities, causing COVID-19 to have a disproportionate impact on women. Between February 2020 and January 2021, 2.5 million women left the workforce. Female dominated industries like hospitality have struggled during the pandemic, forcing many women out of work, and others who made the hard choice to resign from their jobs due to a lack of child care options or workplace flexibility.
The mission of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus (ODWLC) is to develop and pass policies and legislation that improve the lives of Ohio women and their families; to identify and support emerging women leaders by serving as mentors; to educate and empower women and increase women's involvement in public life and in the Ohio General Assembly.