The Council's Women Initiative, supporting women's leadership, met at the Marriott Harbor Center in downtown Buffalo this week. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul was one of the speakers. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Hochul addressed the issue of a high percentage of women in education, but a low percentage seeking leadership roles.
“Our lives have to be dedicated to eradicating gender inequality,” stated Hochul.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hohcul points out that in the teaching workforce in the state about 76-percent are women, but when it comes to the top leadership roles for the district, about 25 toy 30-percent are superintendents. Hochul is encouraging women to break down barriers.
“They should continue on the path they are and get the academic credentials they need and position themselves so when there are opportunities, they’re ready to step forward – raise their hand and say I want to be considered,” remarked Hochul.
The Lt. Governor challenges women to feel confident to try to lead a school district.
“And I’ve read the studies on why they don’t do it and they’re concerned about the impact on their families and there is a lot of stress and you’re very much a lightning rod for different interests who challenge your position, and so a lot of women had said I don’t want to put my family through that,” explained Hochul.
The Lt. Governor says she once felt she didn't have the qualifications for political positions. Now she uses those stories to encourage other women to seek leadership roles.
“So I wanted to take the time to draw some parallels between what I see as women in a rather male dominated field and how we have to break down these barriers, empower each other, because the voices of women are so desperately needed in equal numbers, whether it is in business, academia or in politics and so sometimes it’s an internal barrier and if you break through that then we will deal with societal barriers, but right now, you have to at least say I’ve got something to offer,” Hochul noted.
The Council's Women Initiative said it is working to do more to support and cultivate potential women leadership in the field of education.