On Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) testified before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government in support of her bill to establish the MetroWest commission on the status of women and girls (S. 1842).
There are currently four county and regional commissions serving women across the state – Bristol County, Berkshire County, Cape and Islands and Essex County – and the Committee recently reported favorably on a bill to establish a Worcester regional commission. These commissions work together and with other advocacy groups, under the umbrella of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, to promote equal rights and opportunities for women.
The state-wide Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and representatives from the MetroWest community also testified in support of establishing a MetroWest regional chapter.
“There is a real need for Commission coverage in the MetroWest community,” said Jen Maseda, Senior Vice President of United Way of Tri-County. “Local Commissions ensure that we have an accurate understanding of the issues facing women and girls. That understanding will move our businesses and communities towards holistic prosperity. This gap in Commission coverage in MetroWest means more than 400,000 women and girls are not adequately prepared for success.”
The MetroWest Commission would work at the local level to advocate for equality and to promote equal access to health care, employment, education and economic development opportunities for women and girls.
“The Commission would allow women and girls to make their voices heard in the MetroWest region and across the state,” Spilka said. “This is an opportunity to encourage more women to participate in the community, to foster a greater sense of involvement and to help inspire the next generation of female leaders here in the Commonwealth.”
Spilka urged the Committee to report the bill out favorably as soon as possible. Once the Committee reports the bill out, it will be considered by the full Senate, followed by the full House of Representatives. In the meantime, the Committee will continue to receive written testimony about the bill.