COLUMBIA - State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, is focusing on women's issues this month in an effort that includes events around the state and specific policy initiatives as the likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate ramps up his campaign.

The effort seeks to portray "action (Sheheen) would take as Governor of South Carolina to support equal pay for equal work, stop violence against women, grow women-owned small businesses, and restore common sense and accountability to government through honest leadership," Sheheen's campaign said in a statement.

Sheheen also has begun roundtable discussions with women statewide. The tour kicked off in Spartanburg and Rock Hill on March 8 and will include stops in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Greenville and Aiken during the next three weeks, his campaign said. No specific schedule was released.

Sheheen plans to challenge Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina's first female governor, in a rematch of the 2010 governor's race. Haley's campaign spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said Haley has acted in the best interest of women in South Carolina.

"As a woman, a wife, and a mother, the governor understands that the best way to raise up the women of South Carolina is to raise up all of South Carolina," Godfrey said in an email. "That's why she's tremendously proud of the fact that we're below the national unemployment average for first time since 2001, that more South Carolinians are working today than at any point in our history, and why she won't stop until every person in South Carolina -- man, woman and child - has the opportunity they deserve."

Reach Jeremy Borden at 708-5837 or on Twitter @Jeremy_Borden