CREATING WOMEN’S RIGHTS HISTORY TRAIL PROGRAM

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved a bill that would require the state to develop and implement a Women’s Rights History Trail Program. The measure includes requiring the state to designate properties and sites that are historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s rights and women’s suffrage. Another provision provides that the state promote education and awareness of the struggle for women’s rights in the state.

A 13-member Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force would be formed to research, solicit public input and make recommendations for sites, properties and attractions to be included in the trail.

The House has already approved its own version of the bill. The Senate version now goes to the House for consideration.

“Massachusetts has a rich history of involvement in the women’s rights movement,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “Women have had a pivotal role in shaping the policies of our commonwealth, and this bill will ensure that those contributions are known and celebrated … The history of these women is our history, and we must continue to advance that history forward.”

“Women in Massachusetts have played a pivotal role at every step in the commonwealth’s history, yet their contributions are too often overlooked,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “The Women’s Rights History Trail will serve as a visible monument to the history of women—and the women’s rights movement. Understanding this history gives us all a chance to reflect on where we have come from and what it means to leave a legacy that can uplift and inspire future generations. I am glad to see that this trail will give particular attention to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of the women who have transformed Massachusetts.”

The House approved the bill in the 2019-2020 session on September 18, 2020 and sent it to the Senate Ways and Means Committee where it died without further action and without a vote by the Senate.

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