Women from across Anchorage gathered Saturday for a #MeToo luncheon and forum to talk about the challenges they face in Alaska.

The forum at the Anchorage Senior Center was hosted by North to the Future Business and Professional Women.

For more than six hours, the group talked about violence against women, equality in politics and some of the social issues girls and women face in Alaska.

In recent months, several prominent Alaskan men have faced scrutiny over their treatment of women. Democratic state Reps. Dean Westlake and Zach Fansler both resigned after they faced allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, respectively.

Other people have been legally cleared after investigations including state Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla), who was accused of holding a cellphone between a female staffer's legs to record a state House meeting in Juneau. State prosecutors also declined to prosecute the Anchorage Ballet's founder, Michaelangelo Canale, after two former ballet members came forward to accuse him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Celeste Growden, the organization's president, says the goal is to start a conversation.

"This is past time," Growden said. "We hear about it every now and then, we have a month that celebrates Women's History Month -- we need to stay on top of it. We really need to come together as a community of women."

Saturday's meeting ended with a candidate political forum, hosted by KTVA's Rhonda McBride.

North to the Future meets on the first Saturday of every month to discuss how to empower women in the Anchorage area.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.


State Sen. Wilson legally cleared in reporter slap, staffer harassment

State Rep. Fansler resigns after alleged attack

Court records: Westlake impregnated minor at age 28