On December 4th, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College hosted a women’s conference with the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, a government commission that advises the Florida Legislature and the Governor, on Seminole campus.
The 19 member commission is appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the Florida House, President of the Florida Senate, the Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Secretary of Agriculture for a term of four years. The commission gathers information in discussions like the one held on Seminole campus and compiles a report for the state government in the first quarter of each year. The next report will be released March 24th, 2015. After discussing the commission’s work, Hebert introduced Florida Representative Kathleen Peters (R-69).
Representative Peters asked members of the group to introduce themselves. Among those in attendance were Chief Operating Officer of Operation PAR Dianne Clarke, Nancy Hamilton the CEO of Operation PAR, and SPC Chief of Staff Deborah Boyle a board member of Religious Community Services with their domestic violence shelter. Another member of the audience served on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and is active in the fight against human trafficking. After introductions, Rep. Peters polled the audience on what they thought were the top women’s issues in Florida and around the United States.
Members of the audience told Rep. Peters that affordable childcare, the wage gap between women and men, and sexual violence were the most important issues facing women. Others felt that women need to be more supportive of each other and expressed concern with how women are portrayed in the media. Another member of the audience wanted meaningful work and a living wage.
The conference went on to discuss how to encourage women to take leadership positions, particularly visible leadership roles and the barriers that prevent that from happening. The group also discussed the role that professional organizations for women and college clubs, like Women on the Way, can play in developing women for leadership. In closing, Rep. Peters asked members of the audience what message they would like her to take back to the legislature.
A complete audio recording of the evening’s discussion is available for download. This event was covered live on The Sandbox News Twitter and Instagram accounts. Follow us for coverage of events on campus and around Tampa Bay.