Written by Dick Pryor on Friday October 21, 2011
October 16, 2011
In 2010, Oklahoma was one of two states that had two women running against each other as major party nominees for governor (New Mexico was the other). That's a rare, and relatively new occurrence in American politics. It is no longer unusual for a woman to sit in a state's governor's office. However, representation in the legislature is a different story.
Currently, only 19 women hold seats in the Oklahoma legislature. That's out of a total of 149 offices, which makes the percentage of women in the legislature a paltry 13%. Women do a little better in the business world, with 25% of Oklahoma businesses owned by women.
Women make up 50.7% of the state's population, so why are there not more women involved in high levels of the public and private sectors? What skills do women bring to the workplace? What holds women back? What does the future hold for women hoping to break the "glass ceiling"?
Those are some of the questions we discussed this week on Oklahoma Forum with Major General Rita Aragon, Oklahoma Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs; Dr. Laura Boyd, former State Representative and Democratic gubernatorial nominee; Sheryl Lovelady, Director of the Women's Leadership Initiative at the University of Oklahoma Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center; and Charifa Smith, owner of Sage Restaurant in Oklahoma City.
The Carl Albert Center is holding its "Pipeline to Politics" event on October 29, 2011 at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman. It is one of the programs encouraging more women to get involved in politics and government service.
For information about women in politics, we recommend visiting the site for the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
Thanks for watching.
Until next time,
(Pictured above, left to right: Host Dick Pryor, Gen. Rita Aragon, Sheryl Lovelady, Dr. Laura Boyd, Charifa Smith)
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