King County Executive
Mr. Dow Constantine
Gender Equality, an easy fix
I appreciate there are more important issues, but this is an easy one to move on. It might just take a memo, or be an item on the agenda at a meeting with your dept heads.
Could you ask them to ask their staff to look over the way forms are printed, data is asked for and filled in, information is presented, and find ways to be more gender neutral.
Example. I see HUD's when I pay real estate commissions, lots of HUD's and it's beginning to make me weep at the persistence of the MALE name in the primary position; that is, the upper left hand corner. There is no sense to it. Instead, why not give instructions, citing a goal of gender neutrality, and suggest that when there are two names, they are put in alpha order - by last name if different, by first name if their last name is the same.
EX: Zeke Anderson would come before Ashley Moore, but Betty Johnson would come before Michael Johnson.
It matters. The message I've learned all my life starting with Mr. & Mrs.; is that men are #1 and important, and women are #2 and less important. We need to stop that.
I would also say the same of those race tables ... Are you White/Black/Alaskan Native/API, etc. They should be listed in alpha order. White/Caucasian does not need to be first.
If you think it doesn't matter, then why was there that upset over pressing #1 for English? And can you imagine what would happen if they had chosen #7 for English and #1 for Spanish? Yet, logically, what does it matter? Either button on the phone is the same distance away.
Stuff like this affects how we think about things, it matters. You can make a huge impact simply by raising the question, and asking the heads of your agencies to talk about it with their staff and come up with some solutions/changes. It's a process, and we need to get started.
Thanks so much,