What do you get when you combine a social services director, an attorney, a local representative, and a state worker from the Bureau of Labor & Industries, with a room full of powerful women? The Oregon Women’s Equity Coalition panel discussion on Friday, January 19th. NWJP’s Deputy Director and attorney Corinna Spencer-Scheurich was a poised and informative presenter on the panel. Speaking to employment rights in general, and more specifically women in the workplace, Spencer-Scheurich joined BOLI Civil Rights Division’s Amy Klare, Representative Andrea Salinas of District 38, and Kristin Schlotterbeck of Clackamas Women’s Services.
The women on the panel kicked off the discussion by each presenting a short but informative bit on their roles within their workplaces. Klare discussed the approximately 200 sexual harassment cases that are assessed in BOLI Civil Rights Division every year. She pointed out that females without work authorization are provided the same protections. Schlotterbeck enumerated a myriad of useful statistics and findings on the #MeToo movement, and explained the social services Clackamas Women’s Services offers to the community. Representative Salinas spoke about being a woman of color in a political role. She said she is “most proud of” her work on HB 3391, the Reproductive Health Equity Act (providing all Oregon women with access to the health care they need), which she helped pass.
Finally, NWJP’s Spencer-Scheurich detailed the often painstaking reality of litigating cases involving sexual assault violations in the workplace, noting that it was often a “long and arduous process”—one which many women fear to undertake. However, she did not to leave us feeling hopeless in the wake of her presentation. “We need to celebrate women who stand up for themselves,” she said. “There is power in what the #MeToo movement is doing to make women feel supported. When workers come together to support each other in the workplace, that’s where the real power is. That’s where I see hope.”
Thank you, Corinna, for speaking on behalf of those women who have been brave enough to come forward. Here’s to those who overcome their fear and let their voices be heard. NWJP is here to say: “We hear you!”