Sen. Breen joins business leaders, activists for “Women Who Dare” panel
AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, spoke to a group of Maine women business leaders, advocates and activists for Women Standing Together’s monthly “Women Who Dare” panel. Sen. Breen spoke about her experience in the Maine Senate, her efforts to pass policies that support the health, well-being and economic security of women in the Legislature, and the barriers to success women continue to face today.
Women Standing Together is a nonprofit organization seeking to create a community that comes together to support and accelerate the advancement of women as entrepreneurs and leaders. Sen. Breen served as a panelist alongside Julia Hansen, Founder of The Yellow Tulip Project, Stephanie Brock, VP of Sales & GM of Red Thread Maine and Paula Mahony, Owner of Words @ Work.
“Today, women continue to face an uphill battle for representation in government and business, especially at the highest levels,” said Sen. Breen. “This reality doesn’t just hold back half of our population, it undermines the success of our communities and economy. It’s important that we join together to promote women in leadership so we can unleash the potential of all Mainers and reap the benefits.”
In the Legislature, Sen. Breen has been a strong and vocal champion for women by supporting legislation to promote freedom from harassment and violence, paid family leave, affordable child care, access to quality health care and wage parity.
Last year, Sen. Breen spearheaded efforts to close the gender wage gap by sponsoring a bill to require employers to pay workers fair, market-based wages regardless of the employee’s wage history. Women typically earn less than their male counterparts for the same work. Studies show that paying employees based on previous wages discriminates against women, who have consistently been underpaid in comparison to their male colleagues, who have taken time off to care for their children or both.
While this bill initially passed in the Legislature, it was unfortunately vetoed by the governor. Sen. Breen plans to introduce a similar measure in the next session and will continue to fight to end discriminatory wage practices.
Sen. Breen currently serves as the lead Senate Democrat on the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. Previously, she served on the Falmouth Town Council from 2005 to 2011, including two terms as chairwoman. In 2007, she shepherded the passage of the Open Space referendum, one of the most successful municipal efforts to conserve local land and wildlife habitat in Maine history. Since joining the Senate, she has been a champion for the advancement of women and conservation projects, including the Land for Maine’s Future program.