On May 28, John Hageman published the names of ethics commission applicants. In an analysis similar to one I previously published regarding the Task Force for Higher Education Governance, I determined applicants’ genders by their names. When uncertain, I sought evidence of someone’s gender by searching online. Ultimately, 26% of applicants are women (or have feminine names) while 74% are men (or have masculine names).
Among the 68 ethics commission applicants, there are three Michaels, three Ronalds, three Davids, two Pauls, two Williams, 37 other men, and 18 women.
This gender imbalance does not exist in a vacuum. In our state legislature, women represent only 23% of senators and 20% of representatives.
Why didn’t more of our mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, nieces, wives, and female friends apply to the ethics commission? Women certainly know plenty about ethics. Did we fail to encourage them to apply?
Are we saddling women with most household chores and child-rearing on top of their jobs outside the home? Do we assign women the “emotional labor” of resolving our conflicts and tracking birthdays, family doctors’ appointments, kids’ completion of homework, and more? If so, it’s no surprise more women didn’t apply for the ethics commission.
If we want to see more women impacting policy in North Dakota, more of us will need to support them. One in two North Dakotans is a woman. We’re nearly two decades into the 21st century. It’s long overdue that we ensure North Dakotan women’s representation in key public service positions.