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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

Women's History Month relevant to public employee controversy

Sunday, Mar. 6, 2011

According to League of Women Voters national president Elisabeth MacNamara, attacks on public-sector employee salaries and benefits here in Ohio and across the nation can be viewed through the lens of Women's History Month.

In a statement issued this week, MacNamara said:

"March is Women’s History Month, and the National Women’s History Project is heeding Abigail Adams’s advice to her husband and remembering the ladies – the prominent as well as the unsung heroes in the struggle for equality. But let us also remember the men – those in elective office who had the courage to cast votes in support of legislation and funding that we hoped would ensure a better future for women and minorities and, therefore, for us all. Let us remember all the heroes because that future is now being threatened in the name of fiscal austerity.

"Under particular assault is public sector employment which has, over the years, offered women and minorities opportunities unavailable in the private sector. Women are public employees (attorneys, teachers, police officers, Social Security workers, etc.), taxpayers, and the beneficiaries of government-funded programs including those aimed at helping children. The time has come for a budget conversation that focuses on those services the public really needs and wants, and how to pay for them - the real issues. Focusing on the costs of public servants does a great disservice not only to those individuals and those who benefit from their work, but to solving our fiscal crisis as well.

"To me, a career public servant, stories of women who chose public jobs, sacrificing money, but not their families, and giving their talents to their communities or women who took advantage of government programs to improve their lives and the lives of their children represent a win-win that is worth celebrating."

Read more: Women's History Month at the League of Women Voters