Women must stand up, support equality legislation

Jamilyn Hall

Women have been under the strain of the glass ceiling effect for decades. But with new legislation being pushed, we can expect more women leaders and CEOs.

According to Los Angeles Times, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) plans to propose first-of-its-kind legislation this month, modeled on policies in Canada and Australia.

Vickie Yates Brown Glisson has made Kentucky women proud by being named the President & CEO of Nucleus, a Kentucky innovation park in Louisville, in 2008. She worked closely with state and local officials in planning, building and developing Kentucky as the leader in healthcare, research and high tech companies.

Gov. Matt Bevin appointed Brown Glisson as the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services of Kentucky at the end of 2015. Brown Glisson is one example of how women can hold important positions within the state.

In 2005, the percentage of women in charge of the largest U.S. companies was 15 percent, and only rose to 20 percent in 2015.

The early draft of the legislation, promoted by Maloney, would require companies to share statistics on the gender makeup of boards in the companies’ proxies, according to the Washington Post. Women in Kentucky and across the country need to push for this type of legislation.

The legislation would also require companies to disclose strategies in place to improve those numbers, and explain why the company is not complying.

While Maloney’s action is small, it is great to see something happening for women at the government level.

“The appointment of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is one of the most critical decisions I will make as Governor. Kentucky is consistently ranked as one of the least healthy states in the country,” Bevin said in a December 2015 Press Release. “I am highly confident that Vickie is the right person to lead this effort.”

It is reassuring to know that Kentuckians have a woman like Brown Glisson in a high position in our local state government.

According to the Washington Post, Maloney also announced a report, requested from the Government Accountability Office, that found even if women were hired to boards at the same rate as men, it would still take until 2056 for women to reach parity on corporate boards.

While it is a slow start, and even relatively small, pushing for women to be in dominant positions in companies and government positions, is important to destroy the glass ceiling that has punished women for decades.

This doesn’t mean we should vote for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman, but we should push for more women in powerful roles, and give the girls of younger generations more opportunities.

Jamilyn Hall is the opinions editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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