Brandeis University law and women's studies professor Anita Hill, says she's concerned about the issues impacting women at every stage of life, from single mothers raising children and the wage gap to quality housing and the need for paid sick leave.
"Only four states have actually passed laws providing paid sick leave for women when they have children who need care," said Hill.
Hill first came to prominence in 1991, when she testified that she was sexually harassed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He denied the allegations. But, the hearings led to tougher laws against the behavior in the workplace. Since then, Hill has focused on women's policy issues. According to the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative, women in the state earn less than men in almost every field and make-up half of the state's workforce. State Senator Derrick Simmons is a member of the Labor Committee.
"We do protect our public employees like teachers, state employees and law enforcement officers, but you know we have more Mississippians that we should protect as well," said Simmons.
A federal bill called the Healthy Families Act would allow employees who work for a company with 15 or more workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year. Attorney Pepper Crutcher represents employers. He doesn't think congress will pass the bill.
"When the government commands the employer to spend money in one area of its labor cost budget, the employer all most always takes that money from somewhere else in its labor cost budget," said Crutcher.
Anita Hill will be the keynote speaker at the Mississippi Women's Economic Security Policy Summit, Saturday, at the Jackson Convention Center.