Sebastopol’s Peg Rogers has long women’s rights advocacy career

The newest appointee to the county’s Commission on the Status of Women is not new to the many issues and causes surrounding women’s rights, safety and advocacy.

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Peggy Rogers, of Sebastopol, has been active in women’s causes since the earliest days of the ERA of the 1970s up through her career as an educator and business owner. She was appointed to the commission this week by west county District 5 Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and will serve a two-year term on the 15-member panel that currently has four other vacancies.

Most recently active through her Rotary Club of Sebastopol in mobilizing many regional Rotary clubs to support women’s programs, domestic violence awareness and school-based partnerships, Rogers said she sought the appointment from Hopkins “to maybe have my voice raised and reach more people. My hope is we can reach many more women and girls to let them know their needs are being heard. There is too much suffering in silence.”

The Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1975 as one of the first in the U.S. Sonoma County also is where, in 1980, the National Women’s History Project was founded. The commission is comprised of several ad hoc committees and holds regular public monthly meetings in Santa Rosa. The county also has a Junior Commission on the Status of Women for high school students ages 14 to 18.

A Voices of Sonoma County Women project, which includes a series of community forums around the county and an online survey, is now underway and Rogers already had been participating.

“The listening sessions are important. We’ve even been to the women’s jail,” Rogers said.

Other primary focuses of the commission include supporting the need for affordable child care, intimate partner violence prevention and services for mental health, as well as monitoring cases of gender discrimination in housing, education and employment.

“I worked in a time when all women faced daily discrimination and harassment,” Rogers said.

Her personal experiences led to a long career as a community and political activist, beginning in Marin County. She previously served on a women’s center board in South Lake Tahoe, where she lived for 35 years prior to moving to Sebastopol in 2005 to marry her new husband, Bob Rogers, also a Rotarian and past district governor of Rotary International District 5130. As testimony to their civic activism, Peggy and Bob first met while serving on the same jury. She also recently served as a board member of the Sebastopol Area Senior Center.

As a former school administrator, Rogers said doing more work in K-12 schools to create a “positive atmosphere for young girls” is crucial.

“I know schools are already doing a lot but we have to find ways to support them to do more. We need to tell our young people that they matter and what they feel and say is important,” Rogers said.

Going beyond schools, Rogers said the commission must keep doing more outreach to all populations and segments of the community in these days of the #MeToo movement.

“This includes not only discrimination issues but also sex trafficking and other issues,” she said.

Trisha Almond, of Petaluma is the commission’s current chairperson. Applications for the vacancies are available at the commission’s website at sonomacounty.ca.gov/Commission-on-Status-of-Women or email sococsw@sonoma-county.org .

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