Our History


Our story starts in 2015, when a group of donors, academics, and activists came together at Harvard University for a one-day meeting called “The Women Effect.” WEF co-founder Fran Rodgers prepared a paper “A Long Term Agenda for Women”, to outline what’s been missing in the fight for women’s rights and how the next decade of activism can do things differently to create measurable change. We started this fund as a vehicle to make that change happen. This paper is available in our Resources & News Section.

Since our founding, we’ve helped made progress for working families. We’ve partnered with 25 organizations in 16 states to achieve real progress on economic reforms that benefit women.

The WEF has supported numerous earned sick leave campaigns, resulting in millions more people gaining access to this fundamental workplace right. In addition we support campaigns for paid family and medical leave and efforts to reframe these policies as central to a broad economic plan that puts the interests of families first. The WEF also supports multi-issue agenda platforms through the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, which organizes around issues like affordable child care and elder care, a higher minimum wage, and affordable college.

Advancing policy solutions: In 2017, the New Hampshire Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy successfully secured a 25% increase in childcare scholarships through the state legislature. In 2019, both the New Hampshire House and Senate passed a comprehensive paid family and medical leave insurance policy for the first time ever.

Catalyzing grassroots energy: In early 2017, as a response to the federal attacks on healthcare, the WEF organized a tele-town hall with the United State of Women with nearly 57,000 participants, who were then channeled into on-the-ground town halls, rallies, stake-outs at congressional offices, and other on-the-ground tactics. The Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy in 2019 has already identified 57 grassroots groups in Virginia wanting to engage on paid family and medical leave.

Our Partners

  • Partner With Us

    We invite you to join with others around the country who want to be a part of this important work. For more information on what you can do to support these efforts please complete our form below.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.