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NEW GROUP AIMS TO MAKE WOMEN POLITICAL FORCE

The next gathering of St. Croix Women For Positive Change will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Gertrude's in Castle Coakley. The group is a new, grassroots organization that aims to empower women throughout the Virgin Islands.
The group, founded by former legislator Stephanie Scott, aims to attract women — the territory's largest voting bloc — who are interested in working together on community issues ranging from safety to health care to education and beyond.
"Women are taking the lead now to begin the healing process, not just to be political, but to get things back in some sort of order in our communities," Scott said.
The first priority for Women for Positive Change is to focus on female voting power, particularly concerning legislative elections on Nov. 7.
"People see the Legislature yielding to big business but they don't see how Jane and John Doe can make a difference," Scott said. "The feeling is my vote doesn't count. But there are 15 people we hire every two years, who get salaries of $65,000 a year, and yet have no supervisors and no job description. We want to make them accountable."
And, she says, this group is uniquely qualified to do so. She cites voter registration statistics that show, as of August 2000, that of the territory's almost 52,000 registered voters, nearly 30,000 are women.
In addition to grassroots-style island meetings, Women for Positive Change is planning its first territory-wide event. On Sept. 30, volunteers will fan out to shopping centers, malls, beauty salons and other locales on all three islands to pass out the organization's issues survey to anybody willing to fill it out.
The St. Thomas group will meet at 3 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Gladys' Café.
"Sometimes," Scott says, "we need some external motivation to say, 'Go, girl — you did it'!" For more information, call 774-6683 or 775-0635. On St. Croix, call A. Saleem at 773-0364 after 6 p.m.

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