COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2022
Senate Unanimously Passes Women’s Rights History Trail Bill
BOSTON- The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday unanimously passed S.2802, An Act relative to the creation of a women’s rights history trail. The legislation celebrates the rich history of the women’s rights movement and contributions women have made across the Commonwealth.
Each year, thousands of tourists visit Boston to walk the Freedom Trail, to learn about the founding of our nation and walk in the history of our founding fathers. This legislation would allow residents and visitors alike to follow a similar trail to learn about the women who have made our Commonwealth, and nation, what it is today. By attracting tourists to women’s rights history trail sites, this bill will also help to stimulate economic activity throughout Massachusetts.
“Women in Massachusetts have played a pivotal role at every step in the Commonwealth’s history, yet their contributions are too often overlooked,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The Women’s Rights History Trail will serve as a visible monument to the history of women—and the women’s rights movement. Understanding this history gives us all a chance to reflect on where we have come from and what it means to leave a legacy that can uplift and inspire future generations. I am glad to see that this trail will give particular attention to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of the women who have transformed Massachusetts. I would like to thank Senator Lovely and her staff for their work to make this a reality.”
“Massachusetts has a rich history of involvement in the women’s rights movement,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “Women have had a pivotal role in shaping the policies of our Commonwealth, and this bill will ensure that those contributions are known and celebrated. I would like to thank Senate President Spilka for her strong leadership and the work she has done to highlight women’s history, and the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators for their advocacy. The history of these women is our history, and we must continue to advance that history forward.”
This legislation creates a 16-member task force responsible for soliciting public input and conducting research to recommend sites, properties, and attractions that are historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s rights and women’s suffrage, and that reflect Massachusetts’ geographic and demographic diversity. The Senate bill also requires the inclusion of accomplishments of women veterans in the trail, as well as recommendations for increasing the representation of women in the artwork of the State House. Members of the task force would include representatives from the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, among others.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and the Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism will be required to develop a program based on the task force’s recommendations, including educational handbooks, maps, signs, and vacation itineraries connected to the trail. The task force will have until January 1, 2023, to file its report.
With versions of this bill having been engrossed by the House and Senate, An Act relative to the creation of a women’s rights history trail now moves to the House of Representatives for enactment.