/Sen Sally Doty A sit-down Q & A

Sen Sally Doty A sit-down Q & A

Mississippi Today: Do you find it concerning that Mississippi has only 24 female legislators (out of 171)? If so, how can we improve this number? Sen. Sally Doty (Sen.): Although it concerns me, I believe that there will be an increase in this number. Take a look at the number of women enrolled in professional schools. Take a look at law and med schools. It’s not easy for women to be away from their families a lot, and that can have a negative impact on your family. It is a difficult career. People will take apart your life, your votes, and a lot more women. Maybe they can manage it but not their families. This is a traditionally male-dominated field and women are not encouraged to run. Because elected officials have such an impact on policies, I believe we should (shift our thinking), and get the message across that there is a different standard for women. I was asked how you would balance your family and this when I ran for U.S. Congress. I can assure that it wasn’t asked to me, but it doesn’t bother me. Many young women ask me when I speak to them, “So, do you take them seriously?” In order to be elected to the Legislature, you must prove that you are capable of handling things and that your studies and preparations are up to date. Respect must be earned. Mississippi Today: What is the importance of sex education for schools? How can it be improved using “abstinence alone” or “abstinence plus?” curriculums? Sen. Doty says that abstinence is the default response in many school districts. They don’t even consider the curriculum. The bill’s structure is problematic for schools. I find many provisions in the bill to be detrimental to quality sex education. Separation of boys and girls is required. Parents must opt in, not out. I wanted to make some common-sense changes, allow more options and really discuss our curriculum. But I haven’t brought it up again since I don’t believe the atmosphere has changed much. It is unlikely to be successful. However, I will wait for a few more years before trying again. The evidence-based curriculum has been proven to work and it is a great way to discuss these issues with both boys and girls in one classroom. One of the older senators told me, “Sally, you can’t talk about sex on a Senate floor.” I laughed and said, “You know senator, it is very important and I’m going continue to discuss it because it’s an actual problem in our state.” Mississippi Today – You have a new equal wage bill that was filed this year. It’s one of five. It is important for women in the state. Sen. Doty (Senator): While the federal equal pay provision does provide some relief, I believe it’s essential to have a state version that allows you to go through state courts. It’s vital. It is a serious issue. A lot of talk about it revolves around the idea that women choose to do different things. Sometimes, we do. Often, we do the same job and get paid differently.