MAKING MUSIC — Bev Grant and the Dissident Daughters perform at
the women’s conference in New York City. — Photo by Ken Dischel
PEF women unite to support, grow, conquer
By DEBORAH A. MILES
PEF women gathered in March at two events to celebrate Women’s History Month,
and take a closer look at how they can overcome gender discrepancies that put
women at a disadvantage.
To arm PEF women with information on how to advance professionally and
personally, Germaine Greco, chair of the PEF Women’s Committee, organized a
power-packed conference on topics ranging from health issues to personal
finance. It took place March 28 in Manhattan.
“This was an opportunity for PEF and Civil Service Employees Association members
to network and discuss everything from financial planning to meditation,” Greco
“All of the presenters evoked a lively discussion from how women have been
exploited in and by the beauty industry to how they approach and deal with
Kathryn Green, a PEF Executive Board member, said the conference also focused on
how women can advocate for themselves.
“Women need to start looking at themselves as not just caregivers, but as people
who need to be taken care of,” Green said. “If a woman has a significant other
or a family member, who is not around to help, she needs to know how to stand up
for herself and take care of herself. Women need to know how to handle finances,
take care of health issues and reduce stress. It’s all important.”
Creda Petion, a disability analyst in PEF Region 10, said the conference
illustrated how women have much in common despite age, background or
“Problems such as domestic abuse and lack of financial understanding have no
boundaries,” Petion said. “This conference taught us to be proactive in many
Elaine Johnson, another disability analyst, said the event touched on issues
specific to women.
“The medical issues discussed, such as vaccinations for cervical cancer,
included information I can bring back to my family and friends,” Johnson said.
“The financial presentation was extremely beneficial. It was targeted to those
who are not particularly stock-investment savvy, and showed us options for
While PEF members were enjoying this conference in Manhattan, PEF’s Black Caucus
recognized Women’s History Month with a program in Brooklyn.
PEF Division 207 Council Leader and Caucus President Elizabeth Cheese said the
focus of the gathering was to pay tribute to women in leadership roles and how
they rose through the ranks.
guest speaker and a founder of the Black Caucus, Phyllis Rowe, encouraged women
to engage in civic, social, political and educational activities to advance
black workers’ standing in the labor movement.
PEF Regional Coordinators Jemma Marie-Hanson and Vernetta Chesimard also
inspired the participants to become activists and explained how being involved
not only strengthens the union but results in personal growth.
“Women came together to support each other, despite any medical conditions a
woman may have or any professional issues,” Cheese said. “It is all about women
supporting each other, as they have throughout the decades.