The tilted playing field

I’ve been at a leadership training event for women for the past two days. It’s sent my mind off on various tangents – about being a leader in other movements (like the skeptical community), taking risks, and the validity of these psychological assessments that are the foundation of the class. Primarily, I couldn’t quite figure out if/why we still needed a Leadership academy for WOMEN exclusively. Shouldn’t we be owning equality rather than exclusivity?

Then, I heard a few things that answered that issue.

1. A researcher had tabulated the proportion of women at all pay grades in my state government for last year. Out of 14 pay grades, at level 8, the graph between women and men deviate sharply. The number of women in these higher positions (management levels) dive while the male proportion soars. I’m not even going to talk about minorities which were on the bottom of the graph.

2. A colleague from the health department told me of a meeting with a pro-life group regarding safety issues at clinics that provided abortion services. The government executive at the meeting was a female. This group of men refused to acknowledge her as an authority figure, directing their comments to the men in the meeting only.

3. A women volunteered her story about asking then Senator Rick Santorum for a recommendation for her daughter who was a candidate for West Point academy. He refused, saying he did not support women serving in the armed forces.

4. Just 10 years ago, a political science graduate was hired by a state Representative’s office along with several males. They got researcher positions, she was offered an administrative assistance position at considerably less pay.

I can not vouch for the validity of these stories but I have no reason not to accept there is at least a kernel of truth to them.

How can you expect equal treatment when the playing field is not level and the good old boy network is still operating? There are Conservatives in America, like Mr. Santorum, who feel that a woman’s place is under a man. (I’ll let you parse that however you wish.) Their goal is to take us backwards in time with Bible values, repression and disrespect. We will not go.

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