CA: Women Legislators Protest Sexist Remark

Women legislators in California staged a protest on Monday over remarks that it was “sinful” for them to leave their children at home while they served in the state legislature. The sexist remark came from Pastor Ralph Drollinger, president of the evangelical Capitol Ministries, who leads a weekly Bible study session with lawmakers and staff members. According to the Tri-Valley Herald, he wrote in a Bible lesson that “It is one thing for a mother to work out of her home while her children are in school. It is quite another matter to have children in the home and live away in Sacramento four days a week É [T]he latter is sinful.” The Bible lesson was about the different roles of women and men in parenting – “Man’s is, primarily, to be a breadwinner, and woman’s is to be at home nurturing their children,” said Drollinger, according to the Herald. A dozen women legislators protested the remarks by arriving to the Capitol on Monday wearing 1950s-style dresses and aprons, and the state Senate Majority Leader, John Burton, showed his support by tying on a floral apron over his suit, the Contra Costa Times reports. The women’s caucus later asked the Rules Committee to clarify which groups should be allowed to meet in the Capitol, saying that groups that encourage sexist beliefs should not be allowed, the Times reports. There are only 36 women among the 120 members of California’s legislature. There has never been a woman Senate president, and the leaders of both parties are men. The first woman state Senator was elected in 1977, at which time the first women’s restroom in the Senate was built. “We’ve inched up gradually,” said Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego), the first woman to head the Appropriations Committee, according to the Times. “But there are still some things that haven’t changed.”


Tri-Valley Herald 5/25/04; Contra Costa Times 5/25/04

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