There’s something very unusual about the Northwest part of the country. To carry on from last week’s post, I am featuring a story that our local news put together regarding leaders of our communities. The top jobs are all held by women. Dorothy Bullitt’s legacy has had much to do with mentoring women in our region, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and with building upon the culture of inclusion.
In October of 2015, Ana Mari Cauce became the President of the University of Washington. Then in November 2017, Jenny Durkan won the mayoral race and Mitzi Johanknecht defeated incumbent John Urquhart to become King County Sheriff. Carmen Best was selected as chief of the Seattle Police Department. Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools is Denise Juneau.
Washington State also has two women US Senators and half of our US House Representatives are also women. We, in the past, have had women Governors. Then, there is our professional women sports teams, US Soccer Champs the “Reign” and the 2018 WNBA Champs Seattle Storm. Both these teams have helped improve salaries for women in sports, because the community supports them. Ticket sales vs. player compensation is far from equitable in women’s sports. The conversation has begun and wages are improving.
And it’s not just Seattle where women mayors direct cities and towns all over the State. In King County, five cities besides Seattle are also led by women. The other two largest cities in the state have elected women to run their cities. Cassie Franklin is set to become Everett’s first woman mayor ever, after edging another female candidate. And Tacoma has Mayor Victoria Woodards. At the southern edge of the state, Vancouver also will get its first woman mayor, Anne McEnerny-Ogle. All along the I-5 cooridor, from Bellingham to Vancouver, women are changing the political landscape. According to political consultant Cathy Allen, this year’s election roughly tripled the number of female mayors statewide.
Women hold less than a quarter of elected seats, nationally. In the Washington Legislature, the gender gap is smaller, with women holding 37 percent of seats in 2017. This has now increased with the recent elections.“Men were assumed to be capable and competent; women had to prove they were. Men were supported and mentored, given committee assignments right off the bat, [while] the women had to earn them.”
Nancy Backus, mayor of Auburn, said women typically wait until they believe they’ve got all of the experience necessary to do the job before they even attempt to jump into a race.
“I think men say, ‘I can do the job and then learn once they are in it,’” Backus said. “And women feel like they need to know the job inside and out before they are willing to put themselves out there for it.”
This is changing nationally, where women know they, too, have the power to change the culture, by bravely stepping forward into unknown territory. These are the new pioneers of the 21st century.
Here, locally, the new paradigm culture being created is working. Our economy, our “we the people” attitude, and the “happiness factor,” are intertwined by working together for the greater good. With this, has come hordes of people moving to the area, which has created its own problems. But because of our generous spirit of outreach and successful businesses, this too is finding many community based solutions. Last summer’s Pearl Jam benefit concerts were just one way huge outreach was given to homelessness.
Are you/were you a “me person” or are you a “we person?” Women know the real value of life and that is why they are rising. We have three brains (head, heart, gut) and when used together equality and balance is restored. If you know a 21st pioneer, support her. We need all of us working together. It’s what the world needs now.