Women underrepresented in Nebraska public offices
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska is working to change underrepresentation of women in all levels of politics, particularly local government.
The Omaha World-Herald interviewed 11 women serving in elected and appointed offices in Sarpy and Douglas counties. Most of the women say they felt respected by their male colleagues and had positive experiences with them. None say being a woman prevented them from doing their jobs. But most had more than one example of being treated differently.
The women cite times they were interrupted or talked down to, times it was assumed they were a secretary and criticism for their appearance and scrutiny for being assertive.
Gretna Councilwoman Angie Lauritsen says the solution to women being underrepresented in public office is for women to show up.
“And you have to be assertive. ... If people want to call me whatever, they want to call me for speaking my mind, for having a voice, then so be it,” she said.
Both parties agreed they want to attract more women to office.
“The fact that we do not have a single woman of any party affiliation elected at the statewide constitutional offices is something the Democrats plan on ending in 2018,” said Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party. “Women bring to the table a strong sense of fairness and focus on our families. It is critical for our sons and daughters to see more women leading our state government.”
The Nebraska Republican Party partners with the Cornhusker Republican Women’s Club to recruit women for office.
“We are proud to be the party that elected Nebraska’s first congresswoman, female governor, female U.S. senator and female mayor of Omaha,” said Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the party.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com