Wareham forum highlights struggles of women on variety of topics

By Andrea Ray | Feb 28, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray Rep. Susan Gifford (R-Wareham) addresses the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, including (left to right) Lauren Scribi, Mary-dith Tuitt (who is recording Rep. Gifford's speech) and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

Women’s voices were heard loud and clear on issues such as immigration, a living wage, the opioid crisis and others during a Tuesday night hearing on “The Status of Women.”

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women hosted the event, which was held in the Wareham Free Library and featured Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham).

“This is a place to share your views, thoughts and concerns with the commonwealth,” she said, before taking a seat in the front row.

Commission Chair Victoria Budson of Wellesley encouraged all women in the audience to give testimony, even if they had come planning to stay silent and observe.

“I know a lot of people want to speak, but they don’t feel they should because they don’t think they’re an expert,” said Budson. “I’m telling you, if you live in Massachusetts and you care what your life looks like, if you care what other peoples’ lives look like, you’re an expert.”

Various women spoke out, some as they had originally planned to do, and others joining as they heard the others speak. Topics included mental health, living wage, climate change, immigration, affordable healthcare, and discrimination. The opioid crisis was a topic which many of the testifiers were concerned about. Several requested better sexual health education and drug education for young women.

One of the more stirring testimonies of the night came from Katia Dacunha, who traveled to the forum from Hyannis. Dacunha immigrated to Massachusetts from Brazil several years ago with her husband and children, and her mother also joined them.

She spoke to the commission in the hope of finding better access to English education for immigrants.

“When I came here I didn’t know any English,” she said. “My mother is at home now, trying to learn. She’s on a waitlist to take a free class, but the waitlist is so long that she won’t be able to take the class until September of next year. She’ll be out of the work force until then.” Dacunha said that the limited access often makes immigrants feel left out of a new country, when they want to be useful and productive.

The testimony given by members of the public was collected by the commission, and it will be used to shape and influence the Commission’s legislative advocacy work.

At the end of the meeting, Budson thanked all of the people who spoke for their insight and testimony, and led the room in a round of applause for all the speakers.

The commission was formed in 1998. Its mission, according to its website, is “to provide a permanent, effective voice for women across Massachusetts.” The commission is made up of 19 women, acting in a voluntary capacity, who are appointed by various legal bodies in Massachusetts.

Comments (9)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2017 10:04

A glance at the photo made me not want to take the time to read this.  Seeing someone texting right up there in the front seat is not very attractive. 


Mary-dith Tuitt should know better than that.  How embarrassing.  She's caught on camera texting away like a teenager and not paying attention to Susan Gifford at such an important event.  


Compulsive cellphone use and the lack of cellphone etiquette seems to be the accepted norm nowadays.      



Posted by: Uptohere | Mar 01, 2017 10:48

Maybe she was video taping the speak. Or maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions when I have no real facts to back up my statement.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 01, 2017 11:59

Perhaps taking a picture? Or making note of information speaker was providing, perhaps a contact number for a specific issue of concern? Maybe she had a question(s) she wished to ask and was consulting a pre-written list to refresh her memory? Or maybe I'm also jumping to conclusions when I have no real facts to back up my statement.

Posted by: cranky pants | Mar 01, 2017 12:56

Hopefully she's recording the event...

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2017 13:39

I thought about those points as well.  She may have been using her phone in place of a good old fashioned notebook, although I can see what looks like a notebook in front of her.  I don't have those facts.  One fact I do have is about appearance.  A phone in hand like that is perceived as texting. 


Maybe it's just a bad choice of photos that caught her during the split-second when she was simply checking the time.


The "what-ifs" can go on forever.  Bottom line is that it looks like she is texting in that photo. 

Posted by: Archangel | Mar 01, 2017 16:56

The bottom line is that you simply don't know. Given today's phone technology she could be performing a whole host of activities that are directly pertinent to the meeting. Several others have posted several obvious examples of what she may have been doing. So, I wouldn't be so quick to condemn her.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2017 18:16

Alright, I agree that it could be a whole host of appropriate activities. However, more often than not, folk are texting away nowadays at every moment.  Because of the negative opinions associated with such excessive texting nowadays, it would have looked better to not have her pictured with phone in hand.  Rather than condemn her, I guess I'm merely suggesting that it was a bad choice of pictures.

Posted by: TROLL BY THE SEA | Mar 12, 2017 12:51

If you took the time to actually read the caption,WBTS...it explains exactly what she is doing with her smartphone. You seem very quick to pass judgements upon others..? Ask yourself this; if all of your negative comments on this site were to be compiled into a book...how would you be judged..?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 12, 2017 15:34



That was added to the caption after the comments.  I did read the caption. Where do you think I got her name from in my original comment?  That happens on here.  They add and adjust.  It's a good thing.  It means that Wareham Week does consider our comments.  It's actually a good thing that my comment brought it to their attention.  Now others won't think the same thing.


It's not against the rules on here to post negative comments.  Just like it's not against the rules to create a moniker that resembles someone else's and then single them out.


I dont worry about being judged.  Not all of my comments are negative.  Look, you jumped in right below my positive comment on the Boy Scouts.  I have a style and you have a style.  Leave it at that.  It's not your job to police the comment section of Wareham Week.


It's a comment section in a free newspaper.  It's fun and interesting. That's it.  I enjoy it the way I want to enjoy it.  Otherwise I wouldn't do it. You are free to do the same.



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