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Oklahoma ranks one of worst states in the nation for women overall

Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report
Kendra S. Horn speaking at the Sally’s List meeting on March 24 in Norman.
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NORMAN, Okla. – The Sally’s List, an Oklahoma non-profit organization held a meeting on March 24 at the Blu restaurant in Norman. The event’s purpose was to encourage women to run for public office even though, all around for women, Oklahoma is ranked 48th in the nation.

Kendra S. Horn, executive director of Sally’s List, said even if they are non-partisan, the organization is looking for progressive women.

“Women who care about the issues that are going to move Oklahoma forward,” Horn said.

Horn believed the disastrous situation of the women in Oklahoma is principally due to a lack of women representation in public office.

“Women bring a level of civility and a level of willingness of compromise that simply doesn’t exist in politics today,” she said, noting 10 candidates are members of the Sally’s List this year, in Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City and Tulsa area.

 “We need young women, old women, single women, mothers, women with young kids and women of color. We really need women of color to run,” she said, adding the most important quality is to have women who care about the community.

In addition, Horn said running a campaign for election is complex and required connections, funds, time, people and training.

“You can’t run for office by yourself,” she said, noting Sally’s List can help female candidates to build a community to run for public office.

Further, Horn said 60 percent of registered voters didn’t show for the last federal election in 2014 and if including people who are eligible to vote, the number fell to 27 percent. She added local governments are very important on day to day. The problem of low voting participation could be improved if officials were more representing of the diversity of the population such as more women in office, believed Horn.

Horn believes sexism is still present in the society and must be fought saying, “things like ‘stop being such a girl’ how many times we heard that?”

She added that men who run for office never have to justify about how to balance family and work.

Besides training women to run Oklahoma’s office, Sally’s List is advocating for women’s rights such as supporting the House Bill 2929 that will permit to reduce the wage disparity between men and women. Today in Oklahoma, women make on average of 73 cents for each dollar a man makes, said Horn. An equal wage could provide up to $6.2 billion more in income in Oklahoma and could reduce from 30 percent to 15 percent of the poverty of working single mothers.

“If we are empowering ourselves we are empowering our community,” Horn said.

In addition, the wage disparity is more pronounced for women of colors with 62 cents for black women and 63 cents for native women of each dollar a man makes. “It is a cultural problem,” Horn said.

Then, Horn criticized the recent passing of the House Bill 2665 for dropping 111,000 Oklahomans from Medicaid which 80,000 are single mothers.

“This is not the way to treat each other and is not good for our economy,” she said, noting a person working full time with the minimum wage makes only $14,000 a year in Oklahoma. An amount not enough for living decently especially with dependent children.

For more information go on Sally’s List’s website.

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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