While the Connecticut legislators hurl their way toward Wednesday, the end of this legislative session, can we take a quick moment to thank the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, a 43-year old powerhouse of an organization that works tirelessly for the women of Connecticut. By Connecticut General Assembly mandate, the commission
monitors, critiques and recommends changes to legislation to inform public policy, and assesses programs and practices in State agencies for their effect on the state’s women. The PCSW serves as a liaison between government and its diverse constituents, and convenes stakeholders, including the business, non-profit and educational communities, local governments, and the media, in order to promote awareness of women’s issues.
The work of the commission this legislative session leaves Connecticut women a little safer, and a lot more hopeful. Just last week, four significant bills — legislation that would not have existed without the commission — passed the state House of Representatives. Let’s hope the bills reach the governor’s desk, and he signs them.
Yet the Democratic majority (you read that right) has called for consolidation with other commissions that do similarly important, but very different, work.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve written about the threatened demise or consolidation of PCSW, I’d be a rich woman. So here we go again:
Are you happy that women on college campuses are safer because of the Affirmative Consent bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the House last week? Relieved that people who abuse other people can no longer keep guns in the house when there is a temporary restraining order during the most critical and vulnerable time for a family? Stunned that until last Wednesday night, rapists had parental rights over a child born of rape? Do you believe human trafficking of children and women is a terrible crime?
If your answer is yes to any of these, say a big thank-you to PCSW.
Each of those bills was built on years of PCSW’s research, advocacy and collaboration with lawmakers.
If PCSW’s work is diluted and their autonomy stripped, who is going to do this work? If you are a women living in Connecticut, or a man who cares about women, let your legislator know: Hands off the PCSW.
UPDATE: The Connecticut Senate has approved the domestic violence bill. It now moves to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk. He is expected to sign it.