To the Next POTUS: Talk to Me Like a Man
After watching my third debate Tuesday night, I’m launching my Presidential campaign. This is hot off the press, you’re the first to know.
Ok, maybe not…I am not launching my Presidential campaign. I would however like to start a campaign begging our candidates to talk to us women like we are, well, men really. Yes, I know I’ve just proposed an uncomfortable oxymoron, but I’m pretty serious about it. I came to this conclusion last night when a young girl posed a question about pay equality for women in the workplace. Both candidates answered her, pandering around the question, offering their substitute for an answer, and eventually ended up somewhere between contraception and who they believe can tell women what to do with their bodies. Sure, President Obama gave an answer including the Lily Ledbetter bill and Governor Romney talked about his efforts for diversity in his state cabinet, but somehow they jumped off the yellow brick road and went down an alley leading to every other women’s issue outside of what the twenty-something asked.
When she decided on the question, she could’ve asked anything in the world. She could’ve asked about birth control, or Planned Parenthood, or insurance. Instead, she chose to talk about work, which I would argue is proof that the next generation of women are very concerned with having the same professional opportunities as their male counterparts. We’ve moved beyond what our ovaries can do for us and more into what we can do for our country as active participants in the economic recovery.
I have this amazing friend. She’s smart, she’s funny, she is made of steel. She’s a mom, a professional, and really a superhero if you’re asking me. She goes to work everyday to a job where she is undervalued and underpaid. When she moved, she went from one job where she had a high level of responsibility, she was in charge, she was bringing home the bacon and the sausage, to a job where she is earning a paycheck rather than a living. She wants something better, she’s motivated, driven, the right mix for any business looking to be successful, but where she is there is no opportunity. So she stays where she is. No one can blame her, because in this world, a job is better than no job, but my friend is one woman in a “binder full” of highly qualified women. I applaud companies like Yahoo, Google, and Ebay who champion women in leadership and have mastered the art of talking to a woman just like they would a man–but in places where technological, progressive giants don’t exist, the story is different and the opportunities aren’t there like they should be.
So level with us gents–talk to us like you were talking to a counterpart across the boardroom table. A broken economy hurts us just as much as it hurts the men who are trying to come up with ways to salvage what’s left. Talk to us about creativity, innovation, and how to start from nothing– and then maybe somewhere in the rhetoric, we’ll get an answer we are looking for.
But if you keep treating us like reproduction is the key to our productivity, your honorable attempt to garner the female vote might just backfire.
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