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Affordable Housing , Community Development

PCSW: Monitoring the Stew of Public Policy and Women

25 February 2014

Teresa C. Younger, Executive Director of the CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

Enlightened public policy is a stew: you must collect the wisdom of several cooks, add just the right ingredients, adjust the spices, stir it up, and let it simmer. Sometimes, you need to throw it out and start all over again.

As part of the Legislature, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) monitors the “stew” of public policy very carefully; each year we monitor about 200 bills and testify on several dozen. Our concern is the effect our state’s public policy – including its unintended consequences – will have on the 1,436,000 Connecticut women over the age of 18. The topics we monitor run the gamut from sexual assault to paid family leave to affordable housing.

And, as the voice of women at the Capitol, we hold several events each year to engage the state’s citizens in the process – to help them understand and become involved in the process of lawmaking. Women’s Day at the Capitol is our signature annual event that brings together legislators, public policy experts, members of community organizations and individuals to explore some of the pressing issues facing the state. It’s citizen engagement at its best.

By mandate, the PCSW is charged with informing legislators, citizens and the media about the nature and scope of gender discrimination. It’s our job to help elected officials craft the most informed policy for the women of the state, and to help Connecticut residents understand how laws being formed affect their lives. But in between the lawmakers and the voters are political reporters whose job it is to analyze and interpret bills before the legislature.

This year, on Women’s Day at the Capitol, we’re focusing on women who cover public policy and politics. The public is invited to come hear some of the state’s leading political journalists discuss the stew of public policy as it’s being debated and shaped.

Journalism and Gender: When Women Report on Politics and Public Policy” will ask such critical questions as:

  • Does gender play a role in media coverage given to public policy?
  • Do female political reporters bring a different perspective to a beat often considered traditionally “male”?
  • How does gender bias in mass media affect the citizenry’s understanding of public policy and the elected officials who make it?

All are welcome on Wednesday, March 12 in Room 2-C of the Legislative Office Building, Hartford. Reception begins at 9:30 a.m.; Constitutional Officers bring greetings at 10 a.m.; “Journalism & Gender” panel discussion begins at 11 a.m., followed by first-come, first-served lunch. Call 860-240-8300 for more information or go to our website.

Teresa C. Younger is the Executive Director of the CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.

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