March 2013 – National Women’s History Month

 

Chris ChanyasulkitMarch is National Women’s History Month to “ensure the history of American women will be recognized and celebrated in schools, workplaces, and communities throughout the country” so it’s fitting that I write about my work as a Commissioner on the MA Commission on the Status of Women (http://www.mass.gov/women/) and as co-chair of the Brookline Commission for Women (http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=327&Itemid=493) with Casey Hatchett. I am thankful and proud to work with many impressive women in my town and across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts has a rich history of impressive women. Abigail Adams reminded her husband John to “remember the ladies” at the Continental Congress; in 1850, the first National Woman’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester; important American figures like Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, and Emily Dickinson were born in this state.

Today, Massachusetts women continue to become important figures. Whether is in public service, like Justice Fernande Duffly of the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, or in other realms, like Actress/Comedian Amy Poehler, Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman, or former MIT President Susan Hockfield, Massachusetts women continue to have a big impact on the state and country today.

Besides celebrating famous women and their achievements, it is also essential to remember the importance of women’s issues and equality.  The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) works to promote women’s interests around the Commonwealth and provides information about issues pertaining to women. During this legislative session, the MCSW will support numerous pieces of legislation. Among the statutes are An Act to Further Define Comparable Work, which would eliminate ambiguities in current equal pay laws; An Act Establishing a Worcester County Commission on the Status of Women, which would provide a voice for the largest county in the Commonwealth; An Act Establishing Earned Paid Leave, which would guarantee Massachusetts workers earned paid sick time; and An Act Providing Equitable Coverage in Disability, which would end sex discrimination in disability insurance policies. MCSW supports these pieces not only because they would not only help women in the Commonwealth, but also because they will help all people of the Commonwealth.  Victoria Budson, current Chair of the MCSW, has recently been quoted throughout the Boston media on the MCSW’s work to close the wage gap (http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2013/01/gender-wage-gap-men-women-massachusetts/ and http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/02/19/married-women-contributing-more-family-earnings/eQJqep2D7afu2rMjWc1zbM/story.html).  You can also stay posted on MCSW events by liking the MCSW Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MassCSW

My work on the Brookline Commission for Women allows me the opportunity to work throughout the year with a great group of women in my town.  We work to provide information about women’s issues and serve a resource for Brookline women.  Additionally, we sponsor “A Woman Who Inspires Me” essay contest. Each year, students are asked to write about a “Woman Who Inspires Me.” The essay contest winners and the special woman in their lives are invited to a reception to honor these exceptional women who have impacted so many young people.

On March 18th, the Brookline Commission for Women will gather for our 21st Annual Women Who Inspire Us Essay Contest and Awards Ceremony at 6pm in Hunneman Hall of the Brookline Public Library.  The following is the list of essay contest winners from Brookline Public and Private Elementary Schools:

5th Grade:
1: Caroline Clark
2: Yarden Hacohen
3: Sanam Ayub Khan

6th Grade:
1: Lavinia Goessling
2: Elena Trevithick
3: Brandon Chin

7th Grade:
1: Maya Hertz
2: Maddie Nagler
3: “KJ” Kartik Jayachandran

Also as part of this event, the BCW honors one woman from the community who has made a remarkable impact on the town and people who live here. The 2013 Brookline Woman of the Year is Rita McNally for her work to promote cultural,
racial and economic diversity and equality in Brookline and Norfolk County.  I hope to see you at our event on March 18th to honor Rita and celebrate women!  And don’t forget, please like our BCW Facebook page to stay up to date on our programs at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brookline-Commission-for-Women/232922023437553

You can honor the women in your life too – by celebrating Women’s History Month, supporting the issues that are important to them, and thanking them for all they do each day to make our community a better place to live and thrive.

-Chris Chanyasulkit, Commissioner (Asian American Commission, MA Commission on the Status of Women, Brookline Commission for Women), BAAFN Steering Committee Member, Education Board and Joint Policy Committee Member of the American Public Health Association, TMM Precinct 13, Emerge Massachusetts 2012