Legal Authority

Honoring humanity creates an equitable and just society.

Often, in the United States, the guarantee of human rights starts with recognition in the law. The Washington State Office of Equity champions equity and justice for everyone in the state, working to ensure that the civil rights of women are protected based on the law. We are committed to promoting policies and laws in Washington state that protect the human rights of womenbased on principles of humanity, justice, and belonging.

Below are laws that protect the human and civil rights of women. Please visit Policy for more information on federal and state laws that protect human rights and outlaw discrimination.

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Laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission include:

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Laws recently enforced through legislation in Washington state:

In 2020 –

  • Senate Bill 5068, Extending Postpartum Care- extend healthcare coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum, a critical step to improving maternal health care for Black, Native American, and Alaska Native communities.
  • Senate Bill 5313, the Gender Affirming Treatment Act (GATA) – this bill prevents insurance carriers in Washington state from automatically denying medically necessary gender affirming care as cosmetic which would limit access to often life-saving healthcare for trans and non-binary people.
  • Paid Family Medical Leave Program (PFML) (began Jan. 1, 2020) - up to 12 weeks of medical leave for pregnant women and up to 12 weeks of family leave. Combined leave cannot exceed 16 total weeks, unless there is a serious, incapacitating health issue related to pregnancy, which adds two more weeks (18 weeks total). Available to all employees, except tribal employees or self-employed individuals who have not opted-in to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program. Federal employees are not eligible.
  • Senate Bill 5140 – Effective 7/25/21 Protecting pregnancy and miscarriage-related patient care.
“As women, we must stand up for ourselves. We must stand up for each other. We must stand up for justice for all. Michelle Obama
The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of the truth upon them. Ida B Wells