Women's Issues Take Center Stage With New Commission

Marianne Hill has been studying ways to improve the status of women for more than 30 years. Hill also spearheaded the state's latest initiative to create a Womens Commission. The group will study women of all ages, races and economic backgrounds.

"The commission will provide information on women in Mississippi, will study the issues that confront women in Mississippi and will make policy recommendations,"

Some of those issues include child care, pay equity and health care needs. Hill says it's clear to her that women's voices are not being heard to the extent they should be.

"If we don't do anything this could continue on," Hill said. "If women hadn't asked for the right to vote, the odds are we wouldn't be voting today or be on juries. Unless we stand up for our rights and ask for what's right, things will stay that way."

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck was instrumental in getting the legislation passed. Tuck is the second woman in state history to hold her position.

"Certainly there have been so many strong women in our state that have paved the way for those of us that want to achieve our goal," Tuck said. "I think what my election says is in Mississippi you can achieve anything."

Activists say the status of women has improved in Mississippi but in comparison to the rest of the nation we still rank at the bottom. And it's those statistics Marianne Hill and many others want to change.

The Commission will have its first meeting in October. Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker was appointed to the 13 member commission.