GOSHEN – U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney hosted the "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds" Economic Advancement Forum and Resource Fair last Saturday at the Orange County Emergency Services Center.
The idea was simple: to connect women in the Hudson Valley with information and resources on financial security, food and nutrition, healthcare, legal services, childcare services, elder care, job training programs, higher education and homeownership.
Maloney quickly pointed out that the day’s event wasn’t all about women. "It’s about all of us," he said. He noted that 62% of women are the main wage earners, and still don’t receive equal pay for equal work. "No one should work full time and live in poverty."
He called for an update to the Family Medical Leave Act, stating that most people can’t afford to take unpaid time off from work and therefore can’t take advantage of it. He questioned why 147 other countries have paid family medical leave and the United States doesn’t.
Maloney also spoke about women’s health care, and how employers should not be allowed to make decisions regarding a woman’s health. "A woman should be able to choose what’s right for her and her family," he said. "This isn’t the 1950s anymore. Employers should not decide if women get access to birth control."
Maloney, who has two young girls, said, "I want my girls to be equal to everyone else. That’s the country I want to live in."
Anne Marie Maglione, Director of the Orange County Office for the Aging, spoke of the aging population, and how women are typically the primary care givers.
"New York ranks 48 out of 50 for providing caregiver support," Maglione said. That’s while ranking fourth in the nation with the largest number of seniors. Maglione declared, "We have to do more!"
The conference told most of the women present something they already knew – that women have a lot on their plates. What it offered was the opportunity to hear how other women have managed to succeed, and two rooms full of valuable resources that could help them in achieving their own success.
The main event was followed with breakout sessions that focus on resources for caregivers including senior services available in Orange County, legal advice and registering with Medicare.
Organizations represented at the conference included: YWCA-Orange, Orange County Office of Aging, Safe Homes Orange County, Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Orange County Department of Social Services, Middletown Community Health Center, Social Security Administration, Glenmont Job Corps Center, Workforce Development Institute, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Orange County United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Maternal Infant Services, Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center, Women’s Enterprise Development Center, Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corporation and many more.