My thanks to the Oldham Era for publishing this letter in the Thursday, September 20, 2018 edition of the paper.
I was 16 years old when Geraldine Ferraro was chosen as the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major political party. I didn’t fully understand the importance of that milestone, but remember feeling wildly confident it meant women in leadership wouldn’t be such a novelty by the time I had children.
My oldest son turned 16 this year, and I’m raising him and his brother in a state where women make up just 10.5% of the Senate and only 18% of the House, in a District (4) that’s never had a female congressperson, and in a county where our first woman magistrate wasn’t elected until 1981 and we haven’t had more than two women magistrates in a term (out of 8) since then, and none since 2010.
I see the faces of some of Oldham County’s best and brightest young women, often on the pages of the Oldham Era – receiving scholarships, breaking records, serving their community – and wonder what they dream of for their future? Are they wildly confident they might someday earn as much as a man for doing the same job? (In Kentucky, white women earn 80-cents for every dollar a man earns; Black and Latina women earn even less). Do they fully understand the importance of a record number of women running for office in Kentucky in 2018? (Because Kentucky ranks 42nd when it comes to female legislators). Can they picture themselves in positions they’ve only seen men hold or will they need to leave Oldham County to fully comprehend their potential?
I never aspired to hold political office, but I do feel a responsibility to help other women get elected, in a state where we make up 50.7% of the population, but only 37.7% of managers/professionals, and only 25.6% of business owners. The first step, it seems to me, is to make women in leadership less of a novelty and more of a norm.
Candidate for Magistrate, District 7