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WER Fall 2018 Front Page
Volume LXIX, Issue II

In This Issue:
"Women and Legislative History"

MWL News

Upcoming MWL Events

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2018-2019 Board of Directors

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2018-2020 Strategic Plan

 

MWL Welcomes Your Comments

From the President

By: Shannon Harmon

hover textIn July 2016, when asked to give an impromptu speech at my mom's retirement party from 30+ years in nursing, I was surprised to get choked up. I explained to my mom’s friends and colleagues that because of my mom, I was never aware that I was supposed to be at any disadvantage as a woman. I grew up with a female head of household and that was normal to me. My mom worked and my dad stayed at home with my younger brother and I for much of our childhoods. Of course, I had friends with other home lives, but I just didn't think much about it.

In law school, I still don’t think I was aware that being a woman was supposed to make any difference in the legal field. I had wanted to be a lawyer since I was eight, so that’s what I did. Once I started practicing, I experienced male opposing counsel and judges repeatedly interrupting me, warnings that I was too aggressive, and even people letting me know I should wear skirts to court and that my long hair should be clipped back.

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MWL Member Spotlight: Dionne Blake

hover text1. Describe your professional background and your current employment position?

I have practiced labor and employment defense both as a litigator in small and large law firms, and as an house attorney. My current role at Target leads a team supporting enterprise wide employment related litigation implicating processes or procedures; the integrity hotline team; and a diversity analytics team. I also serve as a liaison with employment issues that implicate Risk and Reputation.

2. What do you enjoy most about your current position? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy high level strategy and problem solving. Leading a team provides the opportunity to engage people and assist in developing and leading teams. This can also be one of the most challenging parts of my role, due to the time and effort that needs to be dedicated to supporting a team.

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Introduction to this Issue of With Equal Right

By: Laura Arneson and Jennifer Wichelman

 

This Fall, MWL members will gather for the 2018 Wahl lecture, entitled The Women Who Dared, presented by Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the VoteWiess’s book describes the fight to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. 

In this issue of With Equal Right, we explore ways that women have fought – and continue to fight – for women’s rights and issues important to women in Minnesota and beyond.

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Votes for Women! That Was Just the Beginning

By: Michelle Witte

hover textFor Minnesotans, the uphill battle for women to win the right to vote was finally won on Sept. 8, 1919, when the State Legislature became the fifteenth state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is my happiest day,” exclaimed Clara Ueland, Minnesota’s leading suffragist and the first president of the League of Women Voters Minnesota. After nearly 72 years, from when women gaining the right to vote was set in motion at the first Women’s Rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, the long hard fight finally came to a close. (It should be noted, however, that Native American women were not granted citizenship until 1924, thus delaying their rights, and all women of color faced many barriers to voting until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.)

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#MeToo and the Law: Moving Fast and Moving Slow

By: Caroline Palmer

Sexual harassment is hardly a new legal issue, but over the past year it has become a prominent one in the daily news. The resurgence began in October 2017 when the New York Times and The New Yorker published reports from dozens of women who were sexually harassed and assaulted by the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein [1]. Buoyed by the courage of those who spoke out, more women, and men, from coast to coast, came forward to share their experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault within, and beyond, the workplace.

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She Runs, We Win: Women Winning, Leading the Charge for Minnesota Women in Elected Office

By: Alana Bassin, Julia Dayton Klein, Christine Lindblad, Meggie Wittorf

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When we were asked to contribute to MWL’s With Equal Right publication, the Senate Confirmation hearings of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh were well underway. While there were many moments that distinguished these hearings from prior confirmation hearings, the exchange between Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and now-Justice Kavanaugh is particularly relevant to our organization. During this exchange, Senator Klobuchar demonstrated her political and leadership skills as she maintained her composure, kept on task, and persisted. At Women Winning, we see these leadership skills regularly in the candidates we recruit, train, and support. And if anything is clear, we need more women of the like in office.

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Minnesota's Not-So-Blazing Trail to Women's Suffrage (and Beyond)

By: Leslie Greenwood and Sarah Larsen


 

 

We like to think of Minnesota as a leader among states in the historical timeline of women’s progress. (For example, ours was the first state to have a majority-women State Supreme Court in 1991)  Investigation, however, would suggest that Minnesota was not necessarily a pioneering state when it came to women’s suffrage. 

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Title IX and Its Impact for Women in Athletics

By: Judge Elizabeth Cutter

hover textIn 1971, I was a member of the University of Minnesota women’s swimming team competing at the first Big 10 swimming meet for women at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana. This was not recognition of any great swimming talent I had. We were begging for participants. The nine of us piled into a borrowed station wagon to drive to the meet, stopping at a hotel in Rock Island, Illinois, where we shared one or two hotel rooms to save money. We paid our own way.  We didn’t have swim caps, googles, or matching suits.  Even our coach was free – a volunteer physical education professor. Our star swimmer won several events at that meet. She did not receive a scholarship to swim. In fact, no one did. She paid her own way through the University by working at The Tub, the Dinkytown laundry mat. Our team practiced in Norris Hall where there was an old pool sadly in need of repair. The tiles were chipped, the lighting was dim, and the pool did not have lane lines. 

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