Karen King - Commission on the Status of Women

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, August 26th

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This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with the news features and special guests. Now here's your host honey Wolfgang. Hi everybody thank you so much for joining me an untargeted and your host penny Wolfgang and we look forward to talking to every week. About subjects that we think interest staying an important and and controversial sometimes an educational sometimes. And usually their subjects I picking an interest in since it says. On target with penny Wolfgang I feel like tech and I'll just do what I think is interesting right. So as you know of course I care a lot about women's status in the community. And there Nathalie to I Carolina but I know somebody who. Has not only cares a lot that has been working. For years to improve the status of women in our community and she is carrying king. Who is executive director of the Erie county commission on the status of women. And done not too long ago I was really honored to be part of east ceremony. I guess you can't a ceremony and Asher Allen Alaska. I'll Wear and Karen presented the women in elected office challenges and opportunities in Erie can any. Report on the status of women and a message. And many of the women who were invited to attend the presentation of this report. Who has had an impact here in Western New York. Over the years. And deeper report which Carol tell us about it a lot more than I was so enlightening and educational to me and some of this. The statistics and information. With so astounding. I was I was flabbergasted so I asked and Karen King if she would take a moment out of her busy busy schedule. To come and talk to us today and thank you Karen for coming in joining us. Well thank you two of tang it's always an honor to spend time which you and well some health SMU is comes up with an honor. It's and it tails of I wonder why when to have it fits in but in the meanwhile I you the one that has to be honored in this regard because this this report. Was so extensive. And so enlightening and how did you come about all these statistics and all of this information. Well it was it did team efforts we gathered considerable amount of data through the board of elections. We also gathered some data through. Directors center for women in American politics which is a great resource. And we tried to keep it is timely as possible but of course when your publishing a report there's always a bit of a lag time so we started this work last November. And went through several generations until we finally finished it this past summer and had a great launch event a precedent which of course you were part of and yeah I mean no real big surprise this year and women are still lagging behind in representation also 2018. Has been a high water mark and we're thinking and hoping a tipping point in terms of the political landscape moving forward. Tillis I want to it's killer listeners some of the information that you've gathered in that you told a set it at the meeting. When you present your report was just just to create some context. The report is in the arm but I like to Colin AM opening opportunity to further the discussion and do further research. And it's certainly not as detailed an in depth as I would have liked but it really does present some compelling information. Some anecdotally we know that women are still. Come under represented woefully across the board. However as I said there have been some some some movement has been some movement this past year. And just quickly I would just some highlights some of BM the data. I'm just first of all women comprise 52% of Erie county's total population and 49 point five of its labor force and 53%. Of the county's registered voters. Weren't women currently comprise nearly 33% of all elected government officials with men comprising nearly 68%. No woman has ever served as county executive mayor of buffalo district attorney share of course superintendent of highways. Conversely. Women have served in greater numbers than men as town clerk and almost equally as Stanley court judge. Overall women if faired better in town positions compared to city positions. And with regard to national trends and representation of women and this is an interesting one penny. American city council's increased in all three cities size categories. However. Buffalo would be an exception to this trend given that no women currently serve on Buffalo's City Council. You know there was against I think when you but when you said that is so that it we'll look to Iran and put. It some of these things are sort of are the facts are sort of obvious when you point the man out. But it's not like people are aware that ex I don't know why that is. Well. When something is pervasive and persistent becomes almost commonplace until you present. People with a compelling visual you know we're very visually driven and when you see the statistics when you see a bar graph for our data point. Thank you it gives busted to what you looking and reminds you of the situation. In the end when you when you did these statistics obviously you know and only did eerie Kenny that you had comparisons with other areas to which I think is. Amazing slicing it's always important to contextualize what's happening nationally and we know nationally there's been a lot of it's a lot of coverage around how many women are running for elected office and we know that the congress United States congress will begin to start looking differently than it has historically which. I mean that's that's a good sign however. We don't know offer at a tipping point yet we hope we hope we are and we hope that over the next several years we see a critical. Mass and women serving in elected office. But until that time. We will not be up to assess the overall impact. And there are a lot of ways let's see categories have huge excited dissent which I think is interesting to how did you come up with. The idea like how many. For example. The percentage of elected in May party affiliation and population population of Saturday's. That's amazing. Welcome a lot of a lot of the categories were given by the data we were able to obtain. And so whatever data we were able to call. Helped can drive the story and we knew that women or underrepresented and we knew for example they're never been a woman mayor of buffalo or a woman county executive. But the other offices we didn't have any information. So when you see all of the data and a contextualize did it really does paint a rather compelling picture and you actually did come up with. A political analysis to as far as like I'm just reading women small Republican towns. Are more successful than a symbol democratic tends. That I'm sure everybody is gasping their two why you know I I don't know if people are gasping but. We just don't have the item luxury of having a really rich data to know I mean the next step would be to interview. Women who held office and it's fine now. Why they think that is to take a deeper dive but of course that takes time. Biking out while I'm here maybe I'll just switch roles with you first second. What was your motivation to run why did you want answer. I think Kerry and the big example because. Sorry you asked me because I'm very. I was motivated by I don't know motivated but. Encouraged by mend. In and I test probably not that typical pair it was saddened. It was my husband who is in politics involved in politics. My boss at gaps illegally lawyers to timing and a man was my boss. And days were like. And to this general manager. Fill due to entertain nose at a channel seven where I had been doing some some media work. And it was actually the three of them that were of you know what seemed to make. They're really has not been a woman in that many women in you Myers you know so qualified. To be judging in the cannery after with your back Brandon so. At that point known. Recognize it not politically wasn't political at all and they said Digisette you know. This would be a good opportunity for a woman and I just I guess site I listen you know it. It motivated me. That doesn't really surprise me that if you were at her okay I'm man because who you surrounded unknown at that time to break magnet exactly men. Suzanne they didn't have any really role models. For women at that point. And don't get me wrong is nothing wrong with having positive male role models to encourage us and we need allies for shore. But. I think moving for a rate it's going to be really interesting to see how young women will be impacted by what's happening right now. Fun because they can actually see the change happening. Where there are more women's faces represented and I think that's going to. That will that will also leads. Some interesting research definitely because they will be just the opposite of this situation I analyst years ago they'll they will have. Role models and people to confer with to motivate them and to encourage them. If you just tuned in today I want to remind you that you are listening to on target with your host penny Wolfgang and today we are talking to caring king who is the executive director. Of the Erie county commission on the status of women and by the way speaking of men motivating and being and supportive. Erie county executive pollen cards game a talk. When you did present this message and it was I thought it was really encouraging with him. Well he isn't and what if he's been consistently supportive of of women's issues surrounding and gender equity so he is the perfect example of a strong. Mail ally and I couldn't feel more grateful. To have the support you know to go back to second guess that we're talking about. When I said to and night to boss act legally do this executive director. In those days is famous and Nathaniel Burrell his wife. Was the and executive director of manpower and she was the first women. To be in this like an executive position in a big corporation practically and so heat was used to having at. Somebody in his family and that he was close to that was career oriented and it was 00 warning being successful so I think. If that was what his his idea when he was helping me was let my wife can do what you can do it you know. Well he would agree Romano did he really Romano and he did yeah. Think it's his actual mother worked two but in any case to go to two connected to what we talked about on the status for example. If you made a alleged the women who spoke made a lot of good points which I want it like discuss analysis. About the problems that women face in running for office. In Nauman and low whether it be local or whether it be. That are different chief. Or national that are different from men. Well it's still it's it's a very gender to. Profession if you will men still dominate political life and jam. The very values. And their approach to politics has become the status quo. I hate and an end to the accused that we take have been informed by that. Also politics is is really come to some degree about. I'm cultivating talent. Usually. The folks entering your immediate. Landscape who worked on campaigns through who work for politicians. Who tend to be meant so in order to break that cycle women need it Qiyue. To get access to those positions. Come so one of the things one of the other important initiatives that we're working out which is directly connected it to this is AM program with high school girls called First Amendment first vote. Where we are working with girls providing experiential learning opportunities to prepare them to register to vote. Vote but then also consider running for office. They have an opportunity to meet current elected past elected to find out what is involved in running for office and we know one of the big stumbling blocks is to raise money. It was just gonna ask you to discuss that because all of the people who spoke at this conference. We. Talked about that issue right to read so important. And this is one of those examples about this idea that it's gender because women don't like asking for money eating up. I never had a prior asking for my liking I I you know I I know that exists and an MI and I'm not going into diminishing because it is it is a gender and a trait but we gap we have also reexamine the way campaigns are financed. You know maybe we have to start thinking or looking through a different lens. In terms of moving forward and one of the great points it was raised and I am our first workshop with a high school students. Was the reason that women have issues group with that raising money is because women still make less money there's still a gender pay gap. So we don't always have access to this scene deep pockets that executives and politicians career politicians may have. So there's a lot going on and and I think them. Were starting to understand that things are shifting. Yet was it Cathy hope Golar somebody who who talked about that. Raising money issue and said well I'm just stick I'm. Just as able Nancy asked for money is and visit somebody and right as a man. And and I think though lieutenant governor is is her story is a great wine and how she she made a choice to run in and said after racing out if you know you give me ten minutes in a room with with the potential candidate a woman who wants to run I'll get him to run. And she's very persuasive and she's got a wealth of experience under her belt. And what a great role model for all of us say absolutely Ann Hurst and her story and some of the other is. Stories as well. What are it were inspiring in the sense of how they got to the started out which I think it says something to torment to started out as local levels started out at volunteering at all or. Which people's seem to diminish the importance of that I think or being and being unknown in the town some some town and boards and things like fat. Well the typical trajectory is that to start locally either volunteering on campaigns organize seeing. Keating noticed you're getting an opportunity her being selected to run and it usually is at the local level of course there's always exceptions to that. But that is a typical trajectory. In it and it's important because that gives I guess experience you know it gives you is that person experience that they can. Point two when they're trying to get higher. Absolutely an end. This is a profession it's it's a public servant profession but you have to learn the rules of the game in the tools of the trade. And that's why he'd First Amendment for his status going to be such an important program for young women because what it really will do is demystify the process. It will give them an opportunity is cheap to meet people like yourself who have been through it to hear about the nitty gritty of what it means to run for office. And hopefully to. How. Then not feel so overwhelmed by this idea of raising money. I mean after all thank you raise money why can't women yeah if she hits but you just said and and I have to iron. Began this event is nothing and he force in asking. People for money let me go back to when things which we the elephant in the room and it has to do with the act childbearing issue. And how that affects and women's ability to succeed whether it be in public office or even in the workplace. So is their questionnaire asks question what what what is the effect. A wet wealthy you know wit women and as it could have been. Bringing children into the world since women have been here and and continued to brake very years. And trail blaze in spite of the odds I don't think it has any bearing on their ability to serve competently. I do think. It's important to recognize that this is. Part of life and now we're starting to see some changes in terms of getting support through campaign financing and also. The acceptance that yes women can run for office hold office and had give birth. And had children and raise children and do it off at the same time do is a woman. This is issue in congress. That I think yeah yeah it is bringing her Sammy can't figure yes yes yes I configure it yes. That is right they worry using her firm an example. Notes are that I and that's when those examples that I mentioned earlier about it being engendered profession until we start. Re imagining the way politics looks and politicians look like. We're not gonna see sweeping changes to do you have of the programs I knew you you mentioned that there is an amateur at risk is that the wind picks and you want chocolate right well that's certainly and directly related to the work in this report and we hope that we will change the landscape with this next generation of young women another interesting tragic I have to do I have time yes. Vieira we just launched to specialize V trailblazing. Women of Western New York monument project. I think he probably have heard or rad that monuments to women come our cropping up. Across the country it's an idea that's whose top time has come. And a lot probably has to do with the fact that we're on the heels of the hundredth anniversary of women's suffrage and when he twining. But we will be a mom. Placing statues and plaques of trailblazing women from our region throughout Western New York. We're starting with the two. Great trailblazing women Louise the stand who is the first of professional woman architect in Western New York could decide the Lafayette hotel. And of course Mary tell her to his one of the great early civil rights leaders in our community. So we are also going to. Place a third statue we're in the process of working with armed to the community to determine or identify who that who that player to Keeneland later will be. So we just launched in July we're very excited about that and we also think that that is directly related to this idea that if you can see it. You can be that you countryman and I think young women particularly really need to see Wimbledon not only in habit. Public office of public spaces. You know it's amazing is that that came up. Because. And it's within something that is so it's like obvious that nobody. Nearly brunch anybody's attention that can not just locally but. It's a whole national trend that emanate from a movement out there thinking is everywhere and so I don't. But like even in Kabul like Washington DC and then when you go to chip which we'll have to the monuments of Washington. You know of course because they way the people in in our history. That is that you know this Washington and Jefferson and Roosevelt and I mean accent and a horse sense yes it's just an Norris is net just in Washington but not over brown hair too. None of the sword yes and I. Oh really changed when you have a fun event. And I know app probably am who thought of light. Don't statues snow would like to look around no outlet to look around and say. Hey there Will Ferrell and women women's out of debt and I think these conversations did start to culminate around the 100 anniversary of women's suffering death ticket to a and so I think death might have been one of the catalyst but I think women have been talking about this and I'm saying I just wanted to. To mention which is and this Foley we joke. And now and be in the in their brochure or message jeweler. A rebuttal. I think it's amazing how did you come up with the trailblazing women of New York that trailblazing first scene and can you just tell us a little bit about a couple of them. Sure. I was really impressed. Well we we're looking to identify it first so of course. Now actually won a final who was that very first woman elected to an office in New York so that was CC to do. But also. Shirley Chisholm is a great example of the first and you know not only being the first African American woman. I elected to congress but the first presidential candidate and of course. Geraldine Ferraro with the first vice presidential candidate. So was it really difficult to identify a can be test Canada and now because there are a lot of there's still a lot of just first steps out there. So we want to change it we wanted to move beyond the just firsts. So we are at a critical mass. And did it there was an a visit I mean that or not is well known on that people didn't think about. We'll question early in front of everybody photo that. Marion Kravchuk who is feed lieutenant governor. And then. Also. And Louise Slaughter yes which is very touch him mean to everybody there. But also I think the history of the historic New York suffered jets you know people forget that how. What a difference these people may aid in. He history these women. Well they were prepared to do what was necessary in order to usher in change so they were real trailblazers and they Wear extremely courageous because the stakes are very high for many of these women they sacrificed at times their families their children they suffered. They were arrested they were mistreated and they. We disenfranchised. So that they didn't even have the political process. At their fingertips and utilized in this one more thing to which it which I think you probably working on. And it's the until laws. Not her locally nationally ever. To like four. And maternity leaves in paternity leaves and of course the wage issues. That and I think that's the other persistent wage gap again Chris just won't go away and it's it's it's a long game were working on it. Tenaciously. And trying to lamb. Get support for banning history is salary history questions sun Java interviews. And of course this past year the governor deadlines show paid family leave policy. Mitchum was really important in terms of moving forward. So I think what has to happen is businesses and and government and politics and policy makers have to come to the table. And figure out the best ways to move the needle forward. It's not enough to say yes of course women should be paid equally him this we like to say the devil's in the details what does that look like how does that happen has happened spy. Business owners taking a stand it if it happens by politicians taking a stand in and community members working to. Create changes. And to eliminate inequity. So we're talking about it could be commission on the status of women in New York hopes and goals for the next. Project. Well I'm really and excited about First Amendment for Hispanics and I like -- a lot of sports analogy so we're really looking to build a deep bench. I'm young women who are ready to play in the majors. Tough talk will you pick Eric. Time and place to talk about sports and we've been talking to caring king. The executive director of the year Kenny commission on the status of women in about the recent report. In about their goals and hopes and what they've. Accomplished so far so thanks so much for joining us. Hang in judging people listening to a CIA and please join begin next week on target. Have a good week into by everybody. You've been listening to one target with many Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at western new York and our community. If you have any comments or suggestions please write depending Wolfgang at 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.