Saturday, October 25, 2008
Panelists: Women need to continue to seek equality
By Kristi Eaton
Laura Manglona speaks at the X Chromosome: Gender Equality in the CNMI forum Thursday night. Sen. Maria Pangelinan, Cinta Kaipat and Frances Sablan are in the background. (Kristi Eaton) Gender inequality is improving but it continues to be an issue, a panel of highly regarded women from the CNMI and Guam said Thursday night.(L-R) Laura Manglona; Senator Maria Frica Pangelinan; Cinta Kaipat; Moderator Frances Sablan; Rebecca Warfield; Guam House Speaker Judith Won Pat; and Kimberlyn King-Hinds
“Is gender a moot point?” asked Sen. Maria Pangelinan, one of the panelists. “No, as long as we have the human race made up of males and females, gender will still matter.”
The other panelists at The X Chromosome: Gender Equality in the CNMI were: Cinta Kaipat, deputy secretary for the Department of Labor; Kimberlyn King-Hinds, general manager of Tinian Ice and Water Co. and member of the Public Utilities Commission; Laura Manglona, a former educator from Rota; Rebecca Warfield, assistant attorney general for the CNMI, and Judith Won Pat, Guam's Legislative Speaker.Frances Sablan was the moderator of the event, sponsored by the NMI Council for the Humanities as part of its We the People Project and organized by Taro Leaf Inc. More than 50 men and women were in attendance.
As a woman, Pangelinan said, she can pull from experiences different than her male counterparts.
“We have a different setup, our experiences are different, our set of eyes are different,” she said before the forum began. “Running a house is like running a Legislature.”
Society dictates a woman to act a certain way, Kaipat said, but females should not be afraid to stand up for themselves, including seeking equal pay.
“We have not achieved equality,” she said. “Absolutely not. Look around you. There is no way we're achieved equality. Ladies, we have along way to go. We need to march along.”
When it comes to pay, Warfield said one thing she has learned is that men can count.
“If I'm saving you money, you will pay me so I will not disappear,” she said. “As long as you have the ability to make yourself necessary, you can demand to make yourself count.”
Won Pat, who was one of the first women in Guam's Senate, said legislation was passed in Guam requiring an equal number of men and women on boards and commissions.“But because governors are male, that isn't the case,” she added. Out of 25 boards, only eight have equal representation, she said. But females do hold several powerful positions in Guam. A woman leads the Office of Public Auditor, the Attorney General is female and there is a woman federal judge, she added.
Won Pat said growing up she sometimes received conflicting messages from her family about her gender role. Her father often told her education was important, but women are expected to be the homemaker, telling her, “You have to get an education. You have to be able to compete in this world. If something happens to your husband you have to be the bread winner.”
It is important that women are not their own worst enemy, Won Pat said.
“When one is elevated, it should be an example, but sometimes there is jealousy,” she said.
Kaipat said women should aspire to hold positions that in the past have been dominated by men, like engineers or architects.
“Men think those are just for men,” she said. “Women are just as qualified as men to hold those.” (L-R): Vice President of Tinian Ice Kimberly King-Hinds; Deputy Labor Secretary Cinta M. Kaipat; Senator Maria Frica Pangelinan; Former CUC Board member Laura Manglona; Guam House Speaker Judith Won Pat; Moderator Frances Sablan; Humanities Council Chair Dr. Debra Cabrera; and former DPS Commissioner and current Assistant Attorney General Rebecca WarfieldThanks to my Ace photographer for the evening -- Auntie Chailang Palacios, aka Acha Baby!