Commission releases report on the status of women and girls

Nonpartisan group’s report includes findings from survey of 3,000 Maine women and girls and covers five key dimensions of women’s lives

Augusta, ME – On March 13, Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women released the 2015 Report on the Status of Women & Girls in Maine. The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women is a nonpartisan, independent advisory board, charged with improving the opportunities for women and girls in the state.

The report, the second of its kind, explores the lives of Maine’s female residents, and focuses on five key dimensions of women’s lives: education, economic security, health, safety & wellbeing, and leadership. It offers a path toward prosperity not only for Maine women and girls, but for the whole of the state.

The Commission gathered surveys from more than 3,000 women and girls across the state, reviewed data and research to supplement the survey findings and worked to build consensus around policy recommendations to offer a roadmap to leaders and policy makers to move the needle on key issues affecting women.

Some of those recommendations include:

Investing in education programs that will help girls succeed. Support early childhood education programs. Foster an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in girls;

Help Maine women achieve economic security. Support single mothers who seek access to continuing education and job training programs, and help teen mothers stay in school. Shift cultural norms around workplace expectations and men’s role in parenting, giving families flexibility to have successful careers and take care of their loved ones. Find ways to alleviate the penalty so often faced by caregivers (who are primarily women): lower lifetime earnings and decreased ability to save for retirement;

Improving access to health care for Maine women with an emphasis on prevention. Economic and geographic barriers prevent too many Mainers from accessing the care they need; accept available federal funds to cover more low-income residents, and make sure that low-income women have access to family planning services. When women are healthy, they are better able to go to school, go to work, contribute to their communities, and care for their families; and

Address violence against Maine women, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Promote responses through not only the criminal justice system, but in all community sectors, including schools, workplaces, health care settings and social services. Recognize the links between violence and all of the other dimensions of women’s lives including their health and economic stability and pursue policies that help survivors achieve safety and hold offenders accountable.

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