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Women's Forums Under Way Across Maryland

A series of forums sponsored by the Maryland Commission for Women is being held across the state so women can talk about issues that affect them. (marylandwomen.org)
A series of forums sponsored by the Maryland Commission for Women is being held across the state so women can talk about issues that affect them. (marylandwomen.org)
August 26, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - While Maryland has been hailed as a state that's made significant progress in securing equality for women, advocates say there's still a lot of work to be done.

Today is Women's Equality Day and Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said issues such as equal pay and the right to reproductive health are the reason women can't back down.

"Some 300 laws have been put on the books, actually passed and signed by governors, at the state level, restricting in one fashion or another women's access to reproductive health care, whether it's through defunding family planning clinics or outright banning abortion care," she said.

The Maryland Commission for Women is holding forums across the state to find out what issues women think are crucial, with the ultimate goal of putting together a report to present to the Legislature. There's also a survey for those who can't attend on the state's Department of Human Resources website.

Judith Vaughan-Prather, executive director of the Maryland Commission for Women, said they want to know if there are issues that affect all women in the state or locally specific issues that need to be addressed.

"So far, we've heard everything from the need for affordable and accessible child care, issues with child support, women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math, domestic violence, human trafficking, really a wide wide range of issues," she said.

Vaughan-Prather said Maryland is very progressive on most issues, including women's rights, but there's still work that needs to be done.

"It doesn't mean that the women who are having problems aren't really suffering and that there's still a long ways to go,"

August 26, which is Women's Equality Day, was set aside by Congress in 1971 to mark the 1920 passage of the law that guaranteed the right to vote to women.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD