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Equity State Is Moving!

Equity State is moving.

After more than a year as the first female columnist in the A section of the News&Guide, I’ll be moving Equity State over to the Casper Star-Tribune, where it garners a statewide audience. You’ll still find my musings on gender, policy, and the state of the Equality State the first Wednesday of every month.

What I hope this column has done and will continue to do is illuminate — just a little — the ways that getting “back to normal” might not serve everyone in our community, especially women. As we begin to re-emerge after a wildly challenging 16 months, we have the unprecedented opportunity to come back together in a way that really does work for everyone — by investing in what makes communities whole, healthy and economically viable.

Economic security is truly at the heart of this column. If it seems like I’ve covered that a lot, well, that’s because economic security is essential not only to individual women’s well-being, but to the well-being of Wyoming families and communities. Here are some other topics I’ve covered — and a preview of what’s to come.

Women’s leadership. We need women’s voices up and down the ballot. We need more women running for office and running campaigns. We also need more women in our board rooms and C-Suites. We need women in our pulpits and our operating rooms. We need women writing our articles and being interviewed as experts for those stories.

Some questions on misogyny. What if we valued all women for the full range of skills and abilities and creativity we bring to our communities? Can you imagine what your life might be like if 50% of employees and 50% of leaders and 50% of elected officials were women? Can you imagine what it might be like for your daughters and granddaughters?

Childcare and livestock! Remember when the Legislature debated a tiny budget amendment that would have made it possible for the handful of legislators who have children under 12 to submit receipts for a small amount of childcare expenses? Remember how that devolved into a debate about livestock? Yeah, me too.

COVID-19 and policy decisions. The coronavirus crisis provided an unprecedented opportunity to answer the questions: What kind of society do we really want to live in? What do we truly value? How do we make policy choices that reflect those values?

Medicaid expansion and women. Wyoming is one of 12 states that hasn’t (yet!) expanded health insurance coverage to some of the state’s hardest working people. The Wyoming Department of Health estimates that working women under 35 will be the largest group of enrollees. Medicaid expansion is proven to result in healthier moms and healthier babies.

Childcare — and care work in general, paid and unpaid. Caregiving is just one example of how statewide discussions and policy decisions on critical topics, like jobs and justice and economics, often fail to consider fully — if at all — how those policies will affect women and girls.

There’s still so much more to talk about.

Economic security contributes directly to educational attainment, health, family stability, and community engagement. It’s also an issue I cover in depth in a recent policy brief with the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, Wyoming Council for Women, and Equality State Policy Center. Next week, I’ll dive into that brief — Wyoming Women as Economic Drivers — and dig into recommendations about how women can help power Wyoming’s future.

I hope you’ll continue the conversation with me next Wednesday, when Equity State debuts in the Casper Star-Tribune. Meanwhile, support local journalism by continuing to subscribe to the News&Guide and picking up a subscription to the Casper Star-Tribune for insight into what’s going on across Wyoming.


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