Ingham promotes equity for women while facing 1:13 gender ratio on commission
The Ingham County Commission passed a resolution declaring March 2022 Women’s History Month for Ingham while facing the reality that it may consider a future council containing only one female commissioner.
“Our Board of County Commissioners is dealing with a female minority which is unfortunately shrinking,” Commissioner Emily Stivers said. Only three of the 14 county commissioners are women. Two of these women are not candidates for re-election.
Stivers said she hopes the resolution will encourage women to run for county commissioner and other government positions. “Ingham County has strong female leadership,” Stivers said. “Candidates can find strong support.” The deadline for filing is April 19, 2022 and there will be several seats without incumbents.
“The best way to honor women’s history is to do so,” Stivers said. The county has passed variations of this resolution every year for many years, but the women in county administration have recognized the value of renewing and updating it every year.
Recent additions to the resolution literature include women “who played vital roles during the pandemic and persevered through the widespread challenges of COVID-19.” More than 75% of Ingham County health care workers are women, and the updated resolution recognizes the work they have done over the past two years.
By the time the 2023 resolution is passed, board members hope she will speak on behalf of several newly inducted female commissioners, inspired by years gone by, ready to carry forward another year of women’s history. of Ingham County.
County Commissioner Irene Cahill said the Women’s Commission, and in particular Chairwoman Kasey Bey-Klein, is the primary collaborator in updating the resolution. Cahill also sits on the Women’s Commission and said that while the resolution is renewed every year, each year is as important as the last.
“There’s not enough attention given to Women’s History Month,” Cahill said. “There is such an amazing group of women from near and far who live in the county.” The resolution is primarily intended to recognize and inspire the women of Ingham.
County Clerk Barbara Byrum said “women make up over 50% of the population. It is a pity that they do not constitute an equal number of elected officials. According to the US Census Bureau, women hold only about 37% of legal and government jobs in Ingham County.
“We have some amazing women who have come from Ingham County who have deep roots here,” Byrum said. She noted Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Senator Deborah Stabenow, who both live in Ingham County, staying close with their history.
Byrum said the resolution reminded him of his mother, Dianne Byrum. As former county commissioner, former state representative, former senator and chair of the Michigan State University board of trustees, Dianne Byrum set an example for her daughter, and Barbara Byrum hopes the resolution will encourage others to do the same.
“I applaud all of the women in Ingham County who are breaking down barriers, breaking that glass ceiling, and showing our young girls, our future, what future lies ahead for them,” Byrum said. “We need to encourage and empower women to achieve their goals by opening doors for the future women behind them.”