Women's Day Focuses on Intersectionality

"Intersectional Feminism 101" was the theme of the CT PCSW's Women's Day at the Capitol earlier this year.

More than 200 leaders gathered in March at the State Capitol to celebrate Women's Day 2016.

Guests received a warm welcome by Carolyn Treiss, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) which hosted the event. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman quipped, "I have granddaughters in this state. They look up to you all as leaders. Don't screw up!"

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is signed into law by Governor Thomas Meskill in 1973. This year, the CT General Assembly eliminated the PCSW. Photo courtesy of PCSW.

Women's Day is an annual gathering of passionate advocates for women to stay informed, discuss public policy and connect with legislators. 2016's featured topic, intersectional feminism, recognizes the relevance of race and ethnicity in advancing gender equity.
Featured speaker Monica Raye Simpson, executive director of SisterSong, the Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, gave the keynote presentation.

Simpson noted that intersectional feminism goes back to the 1850s with Sojourner Truth's writings about gender and slavery.

"[Intersectional feminism] challenges people personally and politically by asking them to adopt a world view that is diametrically opposed to the status quo."

"We can't be on the frontlines for pay equity or paid parental family leave if we're not talking about the inequalities that women of color face in regards to pay equity. We need to address both at the same time."

SisterSong's platform of reproductive justice is a natural embodiment of intersectionality, arguing that every individual has the right to have a child, or to not have a child, and to parent that child in a healthy and sustainable environment. Every human also has the right to "bodily autonomy," free from all types of reproductive oppression.