A Token Woman
Well, huh; what is a token woman? Of course, we all know, but we conveniently just ignore the situation when we see boards and commissions as either male only or with a ‘token’ woman. Yes, almost all of our boards, commissions, etc are made up of old, white men who either reappoint each other or wait until the old, white governor or old, white mayor appoints another old, white man to fill a vacancy. Yes, and when, low and behold, a token woman is appointed to a board of 15 old, white men, where they can brag, “We have the woman on our boards.” Yes, I know you might say a token woman is better than not having a woman at all, but that doesn’t make it right. “That’s just the way our political system works” you might say, and you’d be as dead wrong as ‘colored rest rooms’. Or you might say, “We can’t find any qualified women to serve.” Really? If I were a woman, and some old, white man told me “We couldn’t find any qualified women.” I’d slap his face halfway to Louisiana. With at least a million women to pick from why can’t our old, white governor find one to put on the all old, white man Highway Commission or Game or Fish Commission or…etc…or etc.
I’ve served on a number of commissions and boards, and from first-hand experience I can assure you an equal number of women on those boards would have improved their function immensely. Actually, there have been several nationwide studies that confirm a commission with a equal representation of women is more effective than a male only board, and while we’re at it please explain why a woman can’t be paid a salary equal to a man’s for doing the same job? Yes, it is discrimination just as much as ‘colored rest rooms’, but obviously we don’t have the guts to stand up and yell “discrimination!” it to our elected representatives.
Of course, we believe the good old USA leads the world in virtually everything, but we’re sorely lacking in gender equality. Western European Nations are head and shoulder ahead of us, and several countries have passed laws mandating equal pay and representation for women. I know you think it would choke a mule to see our government pass a law mandating equal representation on all public corporations, boards, and commissions. Well, we have laws against discrimination in housing, hiring, and a list of other areas of discrimination as long as your arm, so why not make it a law, and have equal representation? Maybe, if our state legislature could quit trying to pick a state book, duck, or dinosaur, they would have time to address discrimination that affects over 50% of the state’s population.
Okay, so the USA is behind Western Europe in gender equality, but how does our state rank nationwide? How about 43rd? A behind the times country, and we live in a state that is bringing up the rear. Yes, it is a shame when you look at local commissions and boards with just a token woman, and then it’s even more shocking when our old, white Governor continues to foster all male boards. Yes, that’s the problem, it’s the old, white men who control virtually all the boards, commissions, and an old, white-haired governor. (Yes, I know I’ve overused ‘old, white men’ but those rascals are the root cause of gender discrimination.)
If we want a well-run representative democracy, it’s up to us. We must post the membership of every local and statewide board and commission, and when vacancies come up, nominate and insist women be appointed. It was a hundred years ago when women received the right to vote and their right to vote was bitterly fought by the same type of old, white men who are opposing gender equality. Only today, it’s more backroom work of old, white men, and only when a list of new appointees are announced or printed in the paper do we realize women have been screwed again, when we see the next Highway Commissioner is a man.
If women were given equal representation and equal pay, our country would have a more representative government. It would increase productivity and efficiency creating thousands of new jobs and improve our quality of life immensely.