House, Senate Lawmakers Urge Kasich to Consider More Women on JobsOhio Board

Female lawmakers from both the Ohio House and Senate today raised concerns over the lack of women appointed the JobsOhio corporate board and the underrepresentation of women in state government as a whole. 

Sen. Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and State Rep.  Nancy Garland (D- New Albany), Chair of the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus, sent a letter to Gov. Kasich today requesting a woman be appointed to fill the final vacancy on the JobsOhio Board. They also raised concerns about the overall lack of female representation currently in state government.

See the a copy of the letter below:

Dear Governor Kasich: 

We write to you today to express our great disappointment about the seriously deficient representation of women on the JobsOhio corporate board, as well as throughout your administration.

Among the appointments you made last week to the JobsOhio Board, only one of the eight appointees was female.  Yet, nearly 28 percent of small businesses in Ohio are owned by women.  Women play a vital role in Ohio’s economic mix and should be more adequately represented on the JobsOhio board. [Small Business Association, 2/2011]

As you know, equality in the work place has been an enduring struggle.  In recent years, women have surpassed men in the number of advanced degrees, yet they continue to be compensated at 78 percent the rate of their male counterparts. Regrettably, the limited representation of women on this board will only perpetuate this struggle for equality of women in the workplace and in leadership roles here in Ohio. [Times Reporter, 4/27/2011]

Unfortunately, this is not the only example an underrepresentation of women in important leadership roles within state government.  There are 26 members of your cabinet and only four of them are women.  This is far fewer than previous governors.  Moreover, the women you have chosen for cabinet positions are entrusted with smaller agencies, smaller budgets and smaller staffs than their male cabinet members. 

At the same time that we see a lack of women in executive offices and appointments, we look at our legislative chambers and see far fewer women in leadership positions.  In the Ohio House, among the 25 chairs of the standing committees and subcommittees, there is only one female chair.  In the Ohio Senate, there are 14 different committee chairs and again only one is female. 

In addition to this gross underrepresentation of women in state government, it has also come to our attention that the Governor’s Office of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach has been inexplicably dismantled.  This is yet another troubling sign that public policy issues concerning women are not getting the attention or support from your administration.

Not giving women a voice in important decision-making roles is a trend that could do long-term damage to the women in our state and to the state as a whole.  Women are being hit hardest by state and local government budget cuts across the country because women make up a larger proportion of the public sector workforce.  Women are also recovering more slowly than men from the national recession caused by the recklessness of the financial industry.  This is a problem that we ignore at our peril [Chicago Sun Times, 6/15/2011].

Governor, we need your commitment to diversity for our state to advance and succeed.  Fairness, diversity, and inclusion are important values that are keys to building a stronger more vibrant Ohio. The business community has found this to be a formula for success and we must heed their example. 

Please do not let your time in office go down in the history books as the time we marched backwards and undid decades of progress toward a more diverse and successful state.  We ask that you find and appoint a qualified woman to the final open position on the Jobs Ohio Board.

 Respectfully,

 Sen. Minority Leader Capri Cafaro  State Rep. Nancy Garland
Sen. Edna Brown State Rep. Connie Pillich
Sen. Charleta B. Tavares State Rep. Denise Driehaus
Sen. Nina Turner State Rep. Nickie Antonio
Sen. Shirley A. Smith State Rep. Teresa Fedor
  State Rep. Lorraine M. Fende
  State Rep. Debbie Phillips
  State Rep. Kathleen Clyde
  State Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard
  State Rep. Barbara H. Boyd
   
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