SDUT: Women of San Diego: it is time to flip the script on the status quo

October 26 – San Diego Union Tribune – Op-Ed by Ramla Sahid and Nicole Capretz – On Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, more than 4 million women in 600 cities in every state marched in solidarity to promote a more just, fair and equitable future rooted in human and civil rights. The largest protest march in U.S. history was called for after months of campaign rhetoric largely focused on derogatory characterizations of women, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities, and the press — including candidate Trump’s own, boastful and crude admission of sexually assaulting women.

That campaign rhetoric has become a harsh reality nine months into the administration.

Among many other punitive economic decisions, the Trump team has threatened women’s financial security by proposing drastic slashes to Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage for tens of millions of people, blocking pay transparency protections and eliminating child care for military families. The administration has undermined the power of women generally, by selecting the whitest, most male Cabinet since the 1980s, and appointing three men for every one woman in lower offices.

Given this climate, the slew of sexual harassment and assault cases that exploded into the public sphere is unsurprising.

Egregious cases of systematic abuse by men in power, including Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and our own disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner litter the airwaves. The depth and breadth of these breaches of faith inspired the viral #MeToo phenomenon, in which millions of women posted on social media that they too had been sexually harassed or assaulted.

Other flagrant forms of gender discrimination persist as well, right here in our backyard.

Three top female scientists are suing Salk Institute because it allegedly gives preference to men in pay, promotions, funding and leadership positions.

Qualcomm paid a huge settlement several years ago covering more than 3,000 women engineers who faced equal pay and promotion barriers.

A San Diego woman won a lawsuit against AutoZone, for demoting her because she got pregnant. A company vice president berated a district manager, saying, “What are we running here, a boutique? Get rid of those women!”

The dearth of women in leadership and decision-making positions in our political, business, labor, and media sectors contribute to this discrimination. Only 20 of the 100 mayors of the largest cities in the U.S. are women; four are black and only one is Latina (Chula Vista’s own Mary Salas).

When women remain in lower-ranking roles, we are relegated to be helpmates, not leaders.

In San Diego, we are striving to accomplish the unity principles of the Women’s Marches, and identify a new way forward. San Diego women are incubating and publicizing game-changing work with “Flip the Script: the Future is Female,” a monthly podcast seeking to reverse entrenched patterns and positions to reach a new reality and demonstrate leadership that looks and feels more like the diverse, multicultural mosaic of our community.

Flip the Script amplifies the voices, ideas and successes of San Diego women in power who are taking on the status quo.

Innovative proposals have been presented by San Diego Councilwoman Georgette Gomez and Council President Myrtle Cole, National City Councilwomen Mona Rios and Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, the women executive directors of the San Diego ACLU and Alliance San Diego as well as the next generation of female leaders in the labor movement. Their stories and visions are inspiring, as are descriptions of how they beat the odds to be in positions of power.

We want all women in San Diego to feel part of this change and capable of leading our region.

Women of San Diego and our allies: it is time to flip the script.

It is up to us to steer our cities, our region and our country in a new direction. It is up to us to rise up, to change the game by inserting ourselves into prominent positions of power and influence, and to lift other women up with us as we build a future in which we all belong.

Sahid is executive director of Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. 

Capretz is executive director of Climate Action Campaign. For more information, go to flipthescriptsd.org.

Read the full article here.

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