Friday, June 11, 2010

Hearing Us Out: FMF Interns Attend Comission Public Hearings

On Friday June 11, 2010 the FMF Campus Choice interns attended a public hearing in Pasadena, California sponsored by the California Commission on the Status of Women. An independent state agency that advocates for the women and girls of the state of California, the Commission welcomed three minute testimonies from any California resident who seeks to discuss his or her position on current issues that they want the Commission to consider for their 2010/2011 public policy agenda. After the agenda is compiled, it is provided to members of Congress and the State Legislature, the Governor's office, and various other agencies.

Chair of the Commission, Elaine Suranie, opened the hearings by explaining the Commission's reputation for supporting women's issues in California. Next, Ellen Eiden presented statistics that illustrated the close correlation between poverty, race and experiencing health disparities among women in Los Angeles County.

Local champions for women's issues were present, including West Hollywood City Commissioner Abbe Land, who addressed the need for continued funding of adult day care programs. Land expressed that the program disproportionally affects women because the majority of attendees are women and the program employs mostly women. She also mentioned that a instituting a statewide Lesbian Health Bill of Rights like the one issued in West Hollywood, CA would help eliminate medical discrimination and judgment against lesbian and transgender women.

Other issues discussed include the need for translators in the California court system for survivors of domestic violence, the importance of promoting breastfeeding as a free solution to enhance women's health, and how the bureaucracy of the CalWORKS system hinders women who are under compromising financial and personal situations from recovering and flourishing.

Personally, we were moved by women coming from all walks of life to influence politicians to advocate for various causes that affect women. Because of their commitment to acting as a mouthpiece for women's needs and rights, those who testified in the hearings are true heroines in the ongoing fight for equality.

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