Conference promotes equality for women

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Hundreds of powerful women from all over the country are in Sarasota for the 44th annual conference of the National Association of Commissions for Women. Their major purpose is to promote equality for women.

At the 2014 Equity Day celebration, actress Sally Matson portrayed Susan B. Anthony, the driving force in winning the passage of the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote.

Dr. Mona Jain started these annual celebrations 20 years ago. "We celebrate the woman who struggled hard to give us this right to vote."

She says this annual conference brings some of the brightest women in the country together to work on solutions to the major issues facing women today.

Number one: equal pay for equal work. "We took every state to compare the pay of men and women. 83 was the highest, and 63 was the lowest."

That means nationally, a woman earns from 63 to 83 cents an hour for the same work a man gets a dollar an hour for. In Florida a woman earns 73 cents, compared to a dollar an hour a man gets for the same work.

The women here are working to change that.

Another issue they're working on? "I think job promotions. We used to talk about breaking the glass ceiling; we might have to use a hammer," says Dr. Anila Jain, Mona Jain's daughter.

She says health care is also a big problem for women. "I think basic affordable health for every citizen is something we really need to do."

Other issues these female movers and shakers and their supporters are grappling with? "Our big issue also in Florida is homelessness. Again, women and children talk about human tracking. It's in our back yard."

Through her hard work 94 years ago, Susan B. Anthony was able to improve the lot of women. The aim of this conference and the equity luncheon is to continue her work. Susan B. Anthony will be thrilled to see these women are not giving up the fight for women's rights.