Women’s Law Project

Founded in 1974, the Women’s Law Project (WLP) is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

They leverage high-impact litigation, policy advocacy and constituent education to protect reproductive freedom, improve institutional response to sexual assault & domestic violence, fight for economic justice, and eliminate sex and gender discrimination at school, in the workplace, and on the playing field.

They advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence by working to eradicate victim-blaming practices, protocols and biases that prevent women—especially low-income women and women of color—from seeking assistance in the criminal justice system.

The Women’s Law Project played a key role in eliminating discrimination against domestic violence survivors by the insurance industry after discovering insurance companies used medical records and insurance databases to deny insurance altogether, charge increased premiums, cancel coverage, and refuse to pay claims of domestic violence survivors.

Most recently, the Women’s Law Project worked with the U.S. Department of Justice on “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence,” a report published to assist police in addressing gender bias in their practice and protocol. This work grew out of the WLP’s campaign for the FBI to update the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape for the first time since 1929, leading to more accurate national rape data.

For the last fifteen years, the Women’s Law Project, along with stakeholder partners, has conducted an annual audit of sex crime files of the Philadelphia police department, reviewing interview transcripts, codes, and follow-through. Currently, they consult with several cities across the country to facilitate implementation of a similar best-practice audit, which has come to be known as the Philadelphia model.

The Women’s Law Project has deep roots in organizing for domestic violence survivors in Philadelphia. In 1976, Executive Director Carol E. Tracy was a founding member of the board of directors of Women Against Abuse. In that role, she helped secure the first funding for the organization, which led to the opening of the first shelter in Philadelphia—and one of the first in the Commonwealth–the following year.