Duluth, MN — TakeAction Minnesota and the Center for American Progress Action Fund hosted a day-long forum focused on placing women and families at the center of Minnesota’s public policy debate. Minnesota Speaker of the House Paul Thissen gave the lunch-hour keynote and spoke about how Minnesota will work to ensure that women and families have a fair shot at getting ahead, not just getting by. The conference comes on the heels of passage of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act, which is nationally recognized for its potential to improve the economic status of women and working families.
“We cannot grow our middle class unless ladders of opportunity exist for all women,” said Speaker Thissen. “The Women’s Economic Security Act is a vital step toward making Minnesota a place where women earn equal pay for equal work and where all Minnesotans have a fair chance at success. We need to continue our efforts to expand economic opportunity to women and all Minnesotans because when women succeed, Minnesota succeeds.”
State Senator Sandy Pappas, President of the Minnesota State Senate, was the featured opening speaker. Sen. Pappas led the successful Senate passage of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act, signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on Mother’s Day. “The goal of the legislative reforms known as the Women’s Economic Security Act is to provide equal opportunities and pay for women who comprise half of the state’s workforce,” said Sen. Pappas, who walked summit attendees through the current landscape on the economic status of women and families in Minnesota and the legislative work that still remains. “While numerous gains have been made at various levels of government in this respect, inequities remain for working women in Minnesota—and we hope to change that.”
Thursday’s event in Duluth was part of a series of state-based strategy summits hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund that focus on how to meet the needs of women and working families leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families in June. The summit in Duluth brought together more than 130 people, influential organizing groups, local elected officials—including Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Duluth City Councilor Emily Larson—and activists to help plan, educate, and train new and experienced organizers on how they can collectively contribute, locally and nationally, to build a campaign for economic security and opportunity for hardworking women and families.
“Our partnership with TakeAction Minnesota is calling attention to the issues that matter most to women and families and is sparking conversation about how local business leaders, elected officials, and advocates can collectively take action,” said Lori Lodes, Senior Vice President of Campaigns and Strategies for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Women and families face enormous obstacles, and it is important that elected officials and other leaders focus on policies and business practices that will help women and their families get ahead, not just get by. Today’s forum gave us a chance to talk about how we turn these policy ideas into reality.”
Liz Olson, Organizing and Policy Manager for TakeAction Minnesota in Duluth, helped to organize Thursday’s event. Olson believes passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act in Minnesota has inspired women around the state who are still struggling with a lack of earned sick leave, caregiver challenges, and insufficient retirement security to build on the successes of this past legislative session. “Passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act, led by Sen. Pappas and Rep. Carly Melin, was critical to improving the economic health and equity for Minnesota women, especially those in Greater Minnesota. But there is much more work to do and today’s summit will give women the tools to organize and lead this work going forward.”
Learn more about the Fair Shot Campaign here.
Learn more about the White House Summit on Working Families here.
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TakeAction Minnesota is a statewide people’s network of individual and organizational membersworking together to motivate people to act publicly in order to advance economic and racial equity in our state. The organization has offices in St. Paul, Duluth and Grand Rapids.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund is the sister advocacy organization of the Center for American Progress. The Action Fund transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world. The Action Fund is also the home of the Progress Report.