Media Room

Remarks as Prepared

Count Her In Report
Sept. 20, 2016

Thank you, it’s great to see everyone here to support the release of Count Her In, which is pivotal to the future of our state.

The wait is over. After nearly twenty years we have a comprehensive, data-driven report about women and girls in Oregon.

I want to thank the Oregon Commission for Women, The Women’s Foundation of Oregon, and each person who has poured time and energy into igniting the conversation that we need to have: What can we as leaders and as Oregonians do to improve the lives of women and girls?

Most importantly, I want to thank the more than 1,000 women and girls from all corners of our state who leant their voices to this work. You have made a lasting contribution to our state.

Women make up more than half of our state’s population and are an incredible force that help to move Oregon forward. We are elected leaders, policymakers, educators, business leaders, care workers, and entrepreneurs.

We vote at higher rates than men in our state and in higher rates than women in other states. And we serve in the U.S. military at higher rates than women in many other states.

We make up more than 70 percent of educators and 80 percent of health care workers in Oregon.

And while some could point to our successes, and say, “See, it’s not so bad here,” the data in this report doesn’t lie.

An estimated 1 million women and girls – over half of Oregon’s female population – have experienced some form of sexual or domestic violence. Systemic racism for women and girls of color means they experience disproportionate barriers to success.

Oregon women earn between 53 and 83 cents on the dollar, depending on race and ethnicity, for every dollar white men in Oregon make. This year, only one of Oregon’s 39 publicly traded companies is led by a woman. And there are still some Oregon counties where not a single woman serves in county-wide office.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech “We Should All Be Feminists,” she talks about how men once ruled the world – 1,000 years ago – because physical strength was needed to survive, and because the strong often led.

But, she says, “Today we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.”

Count Her In is our call to action as Oregonians, regardless of gender, race, zip code, or political party, to work together on solutions that will benefit women and girls and make Oregon a home where each person can thrive.

This has been my life’s work, and I’m not done – I’m just getting started. I hope you’ll join me.

Thank you.