Closing the Gender Gap — Jenn Alford-Teaster | Concord Monitor

NHWI’s Gender Ambassador’s Panel Co-Chair, Jenn Alford Teaster, wrote this letter that appeared in the Concord Monitor on 12/11/12:

Jenn Alford-Teaster Closing the Wage gap

Letter: Closing the gender gap

With the historic election of an all-female congressional delegation and governor in New Hampshire there couldn’t be a more auspicious time in New Hampshire for an elemental shift in the way we think about gender and opportunity. Specifically, there is a steady and significant dialogue happening across the Granite State that is poised to transform gender equality in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Women’s Initiative conducted listening sessions across the state to hear what New Hampshire citizens have to say about gender equality. Globally, the listening sessions have communicated that the work of creating gender equality is far from over. What we heard is that many of the same issues central to the second-wave feminist movement still affect women in New Hampshire today: fairness and respect in the workplace, reducing violence against women, protecting reproductive rights and limited representation in positions of power. Moreover, the perception exists that legal protections created during the second-wave feminist movement merely give the appearance of fairness and equality but do not protect women from more surreptitious forms of discrimination. Importantly, we learned that contemporary gender equality really means fairness, and describing fairness is incredibly complex and dependent on life-stage, socio-economic status, race and gender expression. While the results of the recent election are promising, the work of closing the gender equality gap is multifaceted and requires sustained effort to effectively address. Fortunately, New Hampshire’s women and men are motivated to close the gender equality gap because they understand that doing so strengthens New Hampshire socially, economically and politically.


(The writer is a member of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative board.)

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