By Eva Schweber of Portland, Oregon. Eva is a policy wonk with a deep, personal commitment to civic engagement.
I have a lot of respect for you (I worked for PP&R through the duration of the GO Bond), but I take issue with your comment that 'We have enough turmoil on top of this announcement...The mayor of Portland is not a starter job.' It is possible that your comment was taken out of context, and if that is the case, please clarify the context in response to my post.
However, if it was a comment directed specifically at Eileen Brady, I would like to respectfully remind you that in Portland's City government, the mayor is one amongst equals. Yet, I don't hear you saying to Steve Novick that City Commissioner is not a starter job, although he has never held public office either.
I think it is time to retire the traditional double-standard laden campaign rhetoric that is flung at candidates who are women. Why is it that a woman who co-founded a thriving Portland-based business that has grown and increased the number of jobs during the Great Recession considered to lack executive experience? Why is it that a woman who served as Vice Chair of the Oregon Health Fund Board that helped pass the 2009 legislation that provided health care (once again, during an unprecedented economic low-point) for an additional eighty-five thousand uninsured Oregon children, is not recognized for her executive leadership in the public sector?
This past week, the A Century of Action launched its year-long celebration of 100 years of suffrage in Oregon. We also recently bid farewell to Betty Roberts, the first woman to sit on Oregon's Supreme Court. I would like to honor the Oregonian women who broke through the constraints of gender bias with a political campaign where a candidate's gender is a non-issue. Just as Portland honored those who fought (and continue to fight) for same-sex equality when Sam Adams' sexual orientation was a non-issue in Portland's last mayoral campaign. We won't be able to get there as long as women are denied the same recognition of their professional accomplishments as male candidates. Nor will we get there as long as an electorate lets male candidates get away with defaulting to such gendered rhetoric.