Middlesex DA Hosts 'Empower Girls' Conference

LEXINGTON (WBZ-AM) -- As a surge in sexual harassment claims and revelations plays out in the headlines, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan is hosting an "Empower Girls" conference for middle and high school girls at the Lexington Town Hall Wednesday and Thursday.

The two-day Empowering Girls program aims to build confidence and help girls set professional and personal goals for themselves. Attendees will listen to speakers and can be a part of interactive presentations.

Ryan spoke with WBZ’s Lana Jones about how she advises girls to tackle the issue of sexual harassment.

She says there are always challenges people face because of what country they come from, what language they speak or what kind of job they have.

“Middlesex County is diverse in every possible way. Our public schools, as well as our private schools that are here today, reflect that,” Ryan said. “And that is why it’s even more important to be talking to folks when they’re young, when they’re as young as these girls, about they are entitled to a voice and how they find that voice.”

When asked about women weighing their right to a voice and their need to keep food on the table, Ryan acknowledges that is a challenge.

“That’s why we really want to be starting with girls as young as the middle-schoolers we have here today," she said. "Society changes when we start talk about things, when we start to see things differently and hopefully these are the beginnings of things that can change.”

Ryan offered advice for adult women already in the work force. 

“One of the things that we talk to folks about is -- especially, for people who may have been the victims of sexual assault -- we like to lay things out for them, understand what the process is, help them to make those decision that are going to be best for them and their life and in terms of what they want to see happen. It’s a balance," she said.

More than 300 students and advisors from schools across Middlesex County were expected to attend.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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