Nancy Greene, a Lowellian who lived elsewhere but who recently moved back to the city, contributes another essay, this one about an event for women candidates that was held last weekend at the 119 Gallery. Here’s Nancy’s report:
Last Saturday, October 19th, I attended Stacie Hargis’ Meet-Up at the 119 Gallery. The event was attended by about 30 women, including City Council candidate Stacie Hargis and School Committee candidates Kristin Ross-Sitcawich, Connie Martin, and Genevieve Doyle. A disturbing factoid arose during the meeting that has troubled me all week and led me to write about the Meet-Up.
Did you know since the 1960’s only seven women have served on Lowell’s City Council, and three of those women also served as mayor? Only seven women in over 50 years. Why is that? Lowell seems to have a normal gender distribution, roughly 50-50 between men and women, maybe even 51-49 in favor of women, and yet our faces and voices don’t appear in the hallowed Council Hall.
At the Meet-Up each candidate spoke and was received warmly by everyone in the room, including opponents. I remember thinking how very civil and different this was from a typical City Council meeting, where devolution into overt contention is currently commonplace and rarely advances the business of the city smoothly. So much more could be accomplished faster in Council chambers if communication from sitting Council members was simply more respectful.
Women in professional settings don’t typically yell and point fingers, not because we can’t, but because we choose not to. Make no mistake. The candidates at that Meet-Up are all formidable women – strong, smart, lioness fierce when necessary. But professional women choose respectful communication. We cooperate, we understand, we support, we bring our strengths to the table and put them all together to arrive at the best solution to a challenge. In a collaborative setting, we simply collaborate rather than compete. Egos aside, women are more likely to accomplish things faster, more thoroughly, and in the most positive way while maintaining a respectful and even pleasant work environment.
So I have to ask again. Why only seven women in over 50 years?
We can and must do better for Lowell. That’s why I whole-heartedly support Stacie Hargis for City Council in 2013. She’s highly intelligent, articulate, and her background in business development is exactly what Lowell needs to move forward and prosper. Can you imagine an abundance of not minimum wage, not just living wage, but excellent paying jobs? What would that do for our city?
Let’s go, Lowell. November 5th. Do what’s right for your city and vote in the eighth woman in 50 plus years. Vote for Stacie Hargis.
[Editor’s Note] For bonus points, name the seven women who have served on the Lowell City Council in the “comments” section.