Where do we go from here? I’ve been asking myself this since the election. Apparently the glass ceiling we thought we were breaking by electing our first female president is not made of glass, it’s made of concrete and we’ve been using the wrong tools.
We all know men (and women!) who feel threatened or insecure by strong female figures. We’ve watched the way this country has disrespected President Obama and the efforts he has made to advance women’s rights over the last eight years. The level of animosity towards women is higher than ever and I believe war was declared on us on November 8th. I will not “get over it”. I’m taking it personally.
So, what can we do? We’ve been educating ourselves – women are earning the majority of high level degrees from universities and there are more women in the workforce today than ever. In the past five years 30,000 cases of sex discrimination have been settled in our favor. So what is it?
Well, the AAUW (American Association of University Women) in collaboration with Harvard University and Project Implicit has created an online test. This test has determined that one key obstacle to women’s leadership is unconscious or implicit bias, which can cloud judgement in ways people are not even aware of. Go online and take this test. You’ll be surprised at the results!
So, you may ask,”What do we do with this information?” The first thing is to acknowledge our own bias’s so we can recognize them in others because we all know that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
In addition to educating ourselves we need to be pursuing degrees in higher paying fields, jobs that are usually held by men. We need to negotiate higher salaries for ourselves. We need to deluge our legislators with our message of fair pay and parental leave. A draft of the proposed fair pay amendment is available for you to see on our website. Just google AAUW Ashland and you will see it as well as a link to the Barriers and Bias Implicit test. AAUW Ashland (with a membership of 175 women) is going to Salem on February 15 to lobby for these rights.
So when you leave here today please take these thoughts with you. This is war! We will not get over it! It’s personal!