What a week to be a woman.
I have spent the past few days attending events geared towards women’s issues in Louisiana. Yesterday, Women’s United hosted a Public Policy Luncheon on Pay Equity. A panel of business leaders, as well as appointed and elected officials shared their thoughts on the unfair treatment of women in the workplace. All agreed that pay inequality is in fact a problem, which is the first step. However, there was little consensus on how to effectively address the issue. Should the solution be legislated, or left to the business community to resolve? Councilmember Brossett plans to offer an ordinance that would preclude government contractors from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, which is a good start.
Another male panelist casually offered that maybe a room full of five guys isn’t going to come up with the solutions. This stuck with me for the entire week. It basically sums up the reason why I have spent countless hours over the past few years diligently working to launch two statewide organizations that help to elect Democratic women to office.
The truth is nothing will change for women until more women are the decision makers. This holds true in government as much as it does in the board room. Look no further than the current legislative session where in only a few weeks we have witnessed the demise of the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay legislation and now a very extreme heartbeat bill that makes no exception for rape, or incest.
Women make up 56% of the population yet only 14.6% of the Louisiana Legislature is female. It’s no coincidence that Louisiana consistently ranks as the worst state for women. Ideally, our political leadership should be reflective of the actual population, so that a variety of viewpoints are represented at all levels of government. This desire for balance is what prompted my involvement in Emerge Louisiana, Les Femmes PAC and has also served as a catalyst for my campaign for House District 98.
I believe we need each other in order to solve Louisiana’s more complex problems that keep us from being our best. This is true for men, women, Republicans and Democrats alike. When we work together, we can make decisions that will make all Louisianans proud.