I have become more and more perplexed, the older I become, in the role women should assume when they encounter mistreatment in a professional environment. In recent weeks, state Sen. …
I have become more and more perplexed, the older I become, in the role women should assume when they encounter mistreatment in a professional environment. In recent weeks, state Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, has faced scrutiny over his comments to a woman speaking (ironically) on behalf of the Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues, and again for supposedly commenting to women lobbyists using degrading verbiage and/or tone.
The women who have encountered Sen. Anderson appear to convey the same type of dilemma: they would rather brush it off than to address it head-on for a myriad of reasons, namely fear of retaliation. But a host of reasons are listed, to include wishing not to cause a scene, preferring not to have a formal confrontation, etc. Nonetheless, these incidents are being noted in publications across the state of Wyoming, and yet, there is never a portion of any article which includes what is being DONE to address the inappropriate behavior of Sen. Anderson.
To be more specific, I am perplexed to continuously read articles which describe behavior exhibited by men toward women and it is witnessed and tolerated to continue. Anderson appeared to be oblivious it is inappropriate, and perhaps this is because women routinely fear addressing it. News articles simply state it occurred. The end of article.
Is this what the “news” has become? Simply stating an incident occurred. As a woman who has worked for Wyoming government and has seen there is almost no way to hold anyone accountable for mistreatment of employees, there appears denial in addressing the very large elephant in the room. While there is discussion about it being there, nobody is willing to address it. Doesn’t this seem odd to anyone in the “Equality State”?
I have attempted to seek out agencies and other female elected officials who have taken a stand to support women and women’s issues. I have had a very difficult time in locating any agency or elected official that has done such a thing. This is troubling for a variety of reasons. When I say this, I should clarify to say that women’s reproductive rights and women’s sexual orientation may be guarded by certain agencies, but are there any agencies assisting women when they encounter being called degrading names at work? I cannot find any.
We, as citizens of Wyoming, might hear campaign slogans suggesting we “need more women on the Legislature.” I disagree, and I am a woman. There are a host of women on the Legislature currently, and I implore of anyone to direct my attention to the ways in which this has proven to be beneficial to women overall? I do not believe one’s gender should be a driving factor when choosing the best candidate. The best person is simply the best person, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. But women appear to share a common fear when they consider addressing issues such as mistreatment in the workplace, and this extends to our Legislature as well.
When are the good citizens of Wyoming going to address this massive gap that exists in Wyoming? When will they address the fact that their mothers, sisters and daughters might routinely be treated in a disparate manner in their place of employment, but are routinely told not to “cause a problem?” This type of willful blindness leads people to think that calling employees “blondie” every single day is totally fine, and it’s not. It leads to some people believing they can openly tell a woman that nobody wishes to hear their presentation but rather to look at them instead. Only a person who has been PERMITTED to act a fool would continue to do so.
The women of Wyoming need to stop being treated like door mats and use their voices. They may face adversity, but if they continue to remain silent, nothing will change. Ever.