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Women Make Their Voices Heard in General Assembly

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RALEIGH — These days, women's votes not only count, they are critical to an elected official's success. This is especially true in N.C., where women make up 52 percent of the population.

She is not a professional lobbyist, but Durham's Celia Dickerson is trying to get results in the General Assembly. She and her friends are practicing some old-fashioned grassroots politicking, meeting and chatting with state lawmakers.

"It's just uplifting to hear all these legislators say, 'We want to hear from you,'" Dickerson says. She is one of the 400 women who met Tuesday at the Legislative Building for Women's Advocacy Day -- an opportunity to discuss some of the state's biggest issues with lawmakers.

"The big ones that we're discussing today are access to health care, child care, economic self-sufficiency, pay equity and the profession of violence against women," says Susan Markham of N.C. Equity.

Many of the advocates say they rejoice in small victories for women, like having four women on the Council of State. They hope for bigger victories, like legislation that they believe will improve the lives of children and their families.


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