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Tennessee Agency Focused on Women Set to Close

As of the end of this week, the Tennessee Economic Council on Women will shut its doors, because of lack of support from the State Assembly. (Goretex/Flickr.com
As of the end of this week, the Tennessee Economic Council on Women will shut its doors, because of lack of support from the State Assembly. (Goretex/Flickr.com
June 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A state agency focused on the economic growth of women in Tennessee will shut its doors this week.

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is closing after 18 years because it didn't get enough support in the State Assembly to remain open. The mission of the organization was to perform research, provide advocacy and share its findings with policy makers and citizens.

With the council's doors closed, said executive director Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, there's now a gap.

"I do fear that because our focus was so narrow and so intentional and the credibility that was afforded to our agency's work, and because of our status as a state agency, it's going to be a challenge to replace what we do," she said.

The existing research from the Economic Council will reside in the state archives, and some organizations are working to continue the agency's work. For nearly two decades, the agency's work was utilized by state and national groups in their policy decisions. Qualls-Brooks said Tennessee women and men already recognize the void left by her agency.

"We're talking about 3.3 million women in this state who no longer have a voice from that perspective," she said, "and from the women and men, organizations and individuals who have contacted me or our office since it's been clear we were closing, they are highly disappointed."

The council also created the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame, which identifies and honors women across the state for their accomplishments. Qualls-Brooks said work is under way to preserve the Hall of Fame's efforts.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN