Saturday, September 13, 2008

Equality for Women

Throughout my career in the white male dominated industry of engineering, I've pooh poohed the claims of my female colleagues that we are not taken seriously, that we are 2nd class citizens, that our opinions are not considered. After 18 years at this company, where I was given the opportunity to grow from an administrative assistant to a group manager, I was not willing to say I would have gotten farther faster as a man. I've had 6 promotions in those 18 years and I feel my hard work has been recognized and rewarded...well most of the time.

Maybe I don't have the same driving and unrealized ambitions of my female colleagues. Or maybe I'm just deluded.

When Hillary was making her push for the highest office in U.S. politics, I watched with interest, and I was fascinated with the idea of a female president and also by the fact that here we are in 2008, and that idea is still "new and different". There have been female rulers in so many countries for so many centuries that it is astounding that the U.S. - so often thought of as a leader in innovation and forward thinking - can still be so backward on this point.

I remember when I was on the editorial team for my high school yearbook and we were putting together the Year in Review page for 1983-1984, we recognized the achievement of Sally Ride. Next to her photo was a quote, "It's too bad that society isn't to the point yet where the country could just send up a woman astronaut and nobody would think twice about it." Amen Sally.

So now, that we see the Republican's answer to capturing those people who want to see the glass ceiling finally shattering, I just want to remind all of you women out there who are so interested in furthering the cause of equality for women that you might forget this one key fact.

These women?


I felt I needed to point that out, because I fear that there are actually women out there willing to cast their vote ONLY for the gender of the person on the ticket. Now that being said - if you read up on the Republican VP candidate's positions and career history and feel that you are in agreement, vote away. But please, please, please, do not throw away the woman's hard won right to vote merely to make a point about the equality of women. Because, after all, isn't true equality about the right person for the right job, not the person that most looks like me? Isn't that what started all the problems in the first place? And isn't that still the problem when people are hesitating to vote for a black man purely due to the color of his skin rather than the platform he represents?

I'm with Sally Ride. I hope someday NONE of this makes news. Maybe then we can spend more time learning about qualfications than worrying about gender, race, and other characteristics that give no indication about whether the person in question can do the job.

I hope I live to really see Equal rights for all.