Women in Athens County 2019

Suzanne Greif was one of several women photographed for this special section. She and dozens of local women responded to a survey that The Athens NEWS posted online in late October.

For the 27th consecutive year The Athens NEWS proudly presents our “Women in Athens County” section. This special section gathers responses from women throughout Athens County to questions about important issues both local and universal. Once again our staff put a list of questions online during a short period in late October and called upon our women readers, Facebook friends and website visitors to offer their points of view.

In this section you also will find quarter-page advertisements from local businesses and organizations proudly celebrating their female employees and principals. 

This year, as usual, our survey respondents came from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. We had students, professionals, administrative workers, food servers, artists and stay-at-home parents respond. Many of them play multiple roles in our community. As for race and ethnicity, we did not ask, so there’s no way of knowing whether our survey respondents reflect the racial makeup of Athens or Athens County. 

Other than editing for length, typos, and spelling and grammar errors, we have kept the survey responses worded the way the were sent to us. We believe this captures the variety of voices in Athens County and lets each woman’s voice shine through. 

All in all, we believe that this year’s “Women in Athens County” shows off local women in the best possible light. If you decide your thoughts and views should be heard, look for our next survey in November 2020. 

We extend our sincere thanks to all the local women who helped with this endeavor by taking the time to fill out our survey.

Finally, in order to encourage responses to our Women in Athens County survey, we said we would have a drawing after the contest to award a $30 gift certificate. We drew the name last Friday, and the winner is Katie Daniels of Athens. – Terry Smith, editor of The Athens NEWS

WHAT ISSUES do you feel American women should be most concerned about in the presidential and congressional elections in 2020?

“There are far too many to concentrate on one.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

Reagan Neviska - women in athens

Reagan Neviska

“Women should be concerned with electing people with working-class issues in mind, representatives willing to change the system to help the majority of us, not the interests of the ruling class.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“Equal rights for everyone.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Climate change, reproductive rights, health care, maternity leave, caregiver support, universal daycare.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“Health-care rights and income equality/unconscious bias in the narrative.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

 “There are so many items that need to be addressed during the 2020 election, but in reality the top issue, in my mind, is electing a president and representatives who will treat one another with respect and work towards carrying out the responsibilities of their positions, minus all of the current BS. Just think of what we could get accomplished if this were to happen. With that being said, the elimination of government control over a woman’s body is an issue of great concern, as is access to affordable and equitable physical/mental health care. Climate change and gun control are issues requiring urgent attention. (No, I don’t want to take your guns away from you.) – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Health care, reproductive rights, equal pay, climate change.” – Mindy Oehlers, 36, of Athens. Social worker.

“That the folks who are elected actually know about the lives of the people they are supposed to serve – and care about them. – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“All of them. Seriously. Now is not a time to act like an ostrich. Everything is of import – even the things one would normally think are guaranteed.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“Climate change. Regardless of gender, this should be the most important issue in these coming elections.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“Certainly laws, and general social attitudes, regarding equality are in peril, but equal access to health care, and living wage jobs for all, are also a few of many human rights issues at stake. We also need to be very concerned about the jeopardy of our Constitution, and upholding the laws that guide the actions of our president and Congress in ways as to be good stewards of our country, our lands, environment, and every being who lives here. We also need to be concerned with how those actions will affect people in other countries.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Work in the nonprofit sector.

“The right to make my own decisions regarding my body and health.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

“Abortion rights being taken away, rape culture getting worse with our sitting president in power.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Equality! Everyone deserves rights, and they should be EQUAL rights.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Health care, poverty, moving society forward by enacting legislation to improve the lives of poor, minorities and women (disempowered folks), opiate addiction...” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“Your life.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“In terms of issues that directly impact women, I would say abortion and reproductive rights.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“Affordable Health care.” – Tracey Maine, 60, of Albany. Marketing intern.

“Women’s rights, climate change.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/grad assistant.

“Having a president that is for equal rights.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“Continued legislation that takes away a woman’s right to her own body.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“Domestic/sexual abuse, sexism & gender identity, women’s rights to her body.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Health care that doesn’t cover birth control.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Health care, climate change, student loan debt/general state of our economy.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“The rights to our own bodies.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server.

WHAT ADVICE would you give a teenage girl today?

“Be yourself and enjoy being a kid, don’t grow up too fast.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server.

“Educate yourself on political issues that impact women from a range of sources so you can make up your own mind on what works for you.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

Adrienne Grooms

Adrienne Grooms

“Just keep swimming. Teenage years are hard, but someday you will be 29 with great friends who lift you up rather than tear you down. And be kind to your mom; she is trying her best.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“Dear teenagers, don’t adjust your ethics, morals and goals in life just to fit in. Live so that they not only guide your success and joys in life, but also in ways that can inspire, and support the well-being of others, and never at the cost of others’ well-being.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“Don’t be critical about your body; you are beautiful.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Speak your mind, no regrets, DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS, eat your veggies and drink water. BTW, you look amazing today.” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“Everyone says ‘it gets better’ to those going through a rough time. That’s the biggest lie of all time. It doesn’t get better – YOU do. Put in the time and learn the skills to cope with whatever you have got now. It’ll serve you well in life.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“Be smart, be patient, be confident.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Get an education and take care of yourself, don’t depend on anyone.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“Question authority.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“I am not an advice-giver, but I would say be your real self, not the advertised person the media suggests. And know that no one else can make you worthy; you simply are and always have been, because you are the only you there is. What is advice but my attempt to persuade someone to my opinion? Unconditional love and acceptance of self and others is the goal.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“Be yourself and be proud of yourself, regardless of what others think.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Be proud of yourself and work hard to make yourself better. You can’t control everything, but you CAN control your choices, your determination, and your willingness to learn from others and from past experiences. I would also recommend that all young women craft a strategy to financially support themself as an adult. Learn a trade, go to college, or start a business. Make sure you have a plan for your own independence.” – Ashley Metcalf, 36, of Athens. Department chair and Associate Professor.

“Fight for what you believe in.” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“Educate yourself and speak up for what you believe is right, but remember to present yourself with respect and class. Doing so will encourage others to treat you the same. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to be a hard ass.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Words have power. The words you use with yourself are the most powerful ones you have. Use kind ones.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“Do exactly what you want to do and don’t let others influence your decisions!” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“Don’t take no for an answer. You can do anything you want to do in life.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Get skills and an education so you can support yourself and your family someday.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“Do your own research on candidates; don’t vote for someone because a family member or friend says that’s whom you should vote for. Then get out and VOTE.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“It will all be okay!” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“Stay Single.” – Trisha Cain, 65, of Athens.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“Be cautious of your surroundings. Question men constantly.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician. 

“Any partner/employer who isn’t your biggest supporter will eventually become your biggest suppressor.” – Tracey Maine, 60, of Albany. Marketing intern.

“Listen to your peers.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“It is a great time to be a woman, taken action and stand up for women’s rights!” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“You are valid, important and strong. You will get through this.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“Don’t be a follower; be a leader.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

WHAT PERSON OR GROUP has done the most for women Athens County in the past 10 years, and how did they do it?

“ACEnet has an annual women in business conference to help new women business owners.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Integrated Services has a wonderful track record of being able to help women in the messiest situations sort it out. The multifaceted approach they take is unparalleled.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“I don’t really know. I’d like to know. I do know that Linda Rust over at Bassett House treats drug-addicted minors and has put her heart, soul & mind into making a better world daily for over 16 years.” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“I could not claim to know the answer to this because I am not familiar with all the groups who work ‘for women’ but I am familiar with My Sister’s Place and the Survivor Outreach and Advocacy Center. The dedication to advocacy and healing I have witnessed is astounding, especially considering the limited resources with which they have to work.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“I really don’t have a good answer for this. Any group of strong women who provide positive role models for girls. I wouldn’t say as a whole, but there are strong coaches and teachers who have provided a safe space for girls.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“My sister’s place; they help women escape abusive relationships and help them move on with their lives.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server

“Susan Gwinn has fought for women and kids.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Planned Parenthood. Their workers deal with shit constantly from others, and they still manage to do their job. It’s incredible.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Ms. Dottie Fromal has shown that women can and should be involved in government entities. Regardless of the insults and lack of principle shown by her peers, she stayed calm, informed and respectful.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“My Sister’s Place, by providing a safe place for women in bad situations.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Probably My Sister’s Place.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“Shelters.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“It is difficult to see one person ‘doing the most for women in Athens’ but rather the women of Athens collectively taking a stand against misogyny, sexism, racism and violence towards women, POC, LGBTQ+ and other vulnerable communities.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“I can’t choose just one, and I can’t limit it to only cis females. The people of Athens, and the many groups they’ve founded and are active with, are extraordinary in their dedication and persistence. I feel that we are fortunate to live here, and that they have contributed to the betterment of not only those who live in Athens and our country, but also through out the world.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“Sexual Assault Advocacy Program! Helping women feel safe, understood and listened to!” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“River Rose ObGyn, probably the most excellent clinic in the state. They provide amazing care and listen to their patients.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

WHAT TYPE OF sexist behavior exhibited by men bothers you the most?

“I am bothered most by men who feel it is their responsibility and right to make decisions regarding a woman’s body and what she does or doesn’t do to it.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“The fact that they think their own needs are inherently more important.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“Boundary breaking.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Belittling females.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“Harassment of any kind.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Just the superior attitude, hate that.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“That some feel they hold the rights, and even abilities, to make decisions that effect others.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“Belittling or ignoring the contributions of women.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

 “Any and all. It can’t be quantified.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“Men who say, ‘let a man do that for you.’” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“Really, it is all equally bad, but unwillingness to discuss and learn about sexist behavior makes real change nearly impossible.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“Ignoring a woman when they speak.” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“Being told I shouldn’t cry or I’m overreacting or I’m too emotional.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Thinking they own their wives or girlfriends. And that they know best. And that women owe them the use of their bodies.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“All of it.” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“I would like to see less judgment and more sympathy for reproductive rights in politics.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“Patronizing behavior.” – Trisha Cain, 65, of Athens.

“None really.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

“Groping.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“Chances are good that if I’m in a hardware store, I already know what I’m looking for. If I don’t, I’ll ask. No need to hover.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“Older men who think women are there to take care of everything for them.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“‘Mansplaining’ – when men talk over me to explain something that I am perfectly capable of explaining.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“When men assume they know what women are thinking. The argument that there isn’t a true wage gap because women WANT to stay home with kids really bothers me. There is also very little understanding by men that they have ingrained social constructs that tend to see women as inferior. You can be the best guy in the world, but once you see a woman pregnant, she is now just a MOM to you. It’s really made me reconsider having children.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

Katie Daniels -

Katie Daniels

“When a man is called out for sexist behavior, and either denies and defends his actions, or refuses to assume responsibility and change his actions moving forward. Additionally, when men do not call out other men for their toxic masculinity, this largely contributes to this behavior continuing.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“Catcalling in public places.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“Being called honey or darling. I have a name; please use it.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“Cat calls.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server.

BECAUSE OF CLIMATE change and other serious modern issues, many young adults are hesitant to have children of their own. How do you feel about this?

“I want to raise a child in a safe environment, and our future won’t be safe if we don’t start taking care of the planet.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“It’s up to each individual.”  – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“I am also hesitant. Unless there are significant moves towards mitigating climate change, I will not be having children. It isn’t fair to bring children into a world where I know that they will face certain hardships related to climate change.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“I understand this fear, and sympathize with it; however, I do still hope to have children one day and combat the climate crisis through educating the next generation.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“I support that decision in that it’s a decision I’d make myself. Perhaps we could raise a generation that will support the well-being of our planet, but increasing the population also increases strains on our already weakened environment. While we do need to raise a more conscientious generation, I’m torn over what they will inherit, or if they will even live long enough to effect changes for the better.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“How is it my place to tell any other person what to do with their body? Or have any place at all in their reproductive decision making? It’s not. Why is this even a question?” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“I’m one of them. Why bring someone else into our messed up world.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server.

“I am also hesitant, but at the same time, I want to have children and teach them to do better and make the world a better place once I’m gone.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Having children is always a personal choice. I think it is wise to consider a broad range of factors before have a child.” – Ashley Metcalf, 36, of Athens. Department chair and Associate Professor.

“I can’t blame them.” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“It’s a fair and serious concern.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“Not an issue for me, really. I have four children, and I think the important thing is using fewer resources.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“I get it. Fewer people is all right with me.” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“I would still like to have children, but not in the current world environment.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“I don’t blame them.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“I have chosen not to have children because I don’t think it’s morally right given the threat of total global collapse.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“Choosing not to have kids- not about climate change, just don’t want any!” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“I agree.” – Trisha Cain, 65, of Athens.

“Good but bad.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“Obviously, this greatly concerns me, but I completely understand and respect their hesitation to bring a child into the world.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“It’s a tough job without those challenges. I think that you need to be very intentional about how you raise children today. If you are up for the challenge, go for it! We need strong openminded people for the future.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“I completely understand. The world is a scary place, and kids are fragile. Hopefully, you are able to make it past the infant/toddler stage without RSV, etc., but then you have high school and high teen suicide rates due to social media. If you survive that, there is rape culture where girls don’t understand how they are gaslighted into binge drinking and being in unsafe situations. THEN you have sexual harassment at work and no Title X funding for Planned Parenthood. This doesn’t even touch on the possibly irresponsibility of adding to the population regarding climate change.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“I have yet to have children for many reasons, climate change and the state of our country and world included.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“I’m not sure I personally know anyone who would use those issues as a reason to not have children.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“I would say that I feel the same.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

HOW HAS YOUR opinion on reproductive rights changed during your life (if at all)?

“After forming my own opinions and becoming more educated, I believe that abortion should be safely available to anyone who feels that it is right for them.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“Any person should have the right to make their own decisions. Should be a decision made with care and consideration. Not government rules.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired

“Nope. As soon as I found out it was an issue, I thought it was ridiculous people were arguing over them at all. Of course, women should have reproductive rights.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“It is a very private and complicated issue. I have learned to trust the judgment of the partners the decision impacts to make the right one for them, and that outside opinions should be considered with less weight.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“Yes. I changed my mind regarding abortion. I am now totally pro-choice, no exceptions.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“I feel a woman and her doctor should decide what she needs to do with her body. No one else has the right. I have always felt that way.”  – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“No. I have always believed that a woman should be able to make her own choices about her body.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“When I was wrong, I thought abortion was one of the worst and most selfish things you could do. I was not planned and was so grateful my mother kept me. Then, as one does, I became more educated on the issue. I learned about income disparity and the education system. I learned that the real selfish decision is not allowing someone to make their own decision.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“It hasn’t.” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“Hasn’t changed any.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“No abortions still.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“Reproductive rights are for each individual women, and I have always felt like this.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Yes, I was anti-abortion as a teen and young adult. But I have become 100% pro-choice now as a middle-aged woman.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“I am very protective of my reproductive rights. I am pro-choice all the way.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Yes it has. I am now at an age where I do not wish to reproduce.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“Not at all. While a student at OU in the late ’70s, I wrote an essay supporting a woman’s right to choose or not choose to have an abortion. My opinion remains the same.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Always a woman’s right to choose.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“I grew up going to a church that would shun women who support reproductive rights, among other issues, and I have gained a whole different perspective since then.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

Suzanne Greif - women in Athens

Suzanne Greif

“For as long as I can remember being able to grasp the concepts and issues around reproductive rights, I’ve felt that such decisions should be in the hands of those directly affected, namely those who possess a uterus in which they can decide to carry a child, or decide not to.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Work in the nonprofit sector.

“It hasn’t. I’ve been pro-choice since I knew what that was. Nobody can control another person’s body or make them experience the high risk of pregnancy... I’ll die on that mountain.”  – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“I’ve always had the same views, a person’s body is their own and shouldn’t be governed by another.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“I’ve only become more focused in my desire to see choices accepted – including and especially archaic attitudes surrounding voluntarily female sterilization.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

HOW ARE CHORES divided in your household? Is there any friction related to this issue?

“Chores are divided by whoever has time to do what’s needed. There is no friction at all.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

“My mother did all domestic labor.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“I work. My man is retired. He cooks. I do the dishes. Using a simple system of checks and balances works for us.” – Tracey Maine, 60, of Albany. Marketing intern.

“My male partner does the things for which he is more naturally suited, like firewood. I clean inside the house. If it was just him, he wouldn’t clean. If it was just me, I’d have push button heat. We cool. (-;” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“My husband shares responsibility in household chores and childcare. We both cook, he does dishes, and I do laundry. This is a normal, modern family dynamic, and it is the only way we can both have careers.”  – Ashley Metcalf, 36, of Athens. Department chair and associate professor.

“Split 50/50 with my boyfriend.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“I do everything, and yeah, I gripe at myself all the time to get things done.”  – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“Pretty evenly. I will occasionally get upset if I feel he is not doing his share.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“The divisions average out, and if there’s friction it’s simply about the general distribution, not gender specific.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Work in the nonprofit sector.

“There is not. We all do what we can.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“I do more but have a less demanding job, so it’s cool. Also, I’m a way better cook!” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“Always.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“Equal divide.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“My husband and I share chores. If the yard needs mowed and he’s busy, I mow. If I don’t feel like cooking dinner, he cooks! There is absolutely no friction related to this issue because we behave like respectful adults and communicate with each other!” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Each person has their own set of chores. We occasionally rotate to keep it from getting boring.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Friction from socialization but we try to divide evenly since we both work.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“Fairly evenly. People do what they can when they have time, and when one person’s hindered, the other picks up the slack.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“Chores are discussed and distributed evenly based on who feels more comfortable doing certain tasks (one does dishes and the other cooks, etc.). Also, when one person is having a hard day, the other helps out with that person’s chores and vice versa.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“In our house, we each do our own laundry. We rotate cooking and whoever does not cook cleans up. I like the counters cleaner than my husband so tend to clean more. Outdoor chores are his because he enjoys the physical nature of mowing, weeding, etc. I clean inside because technically the pets are mine, and they make the most mess (hair). Bathrooms are really whoever caves first… The only friction really lies in my husband wanting the vacuum run more often, but if it starts getting to him, he will just run it himself.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“They aren’t. I do most of them, and yes, it causes lots of friction.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“It’s just me and my daughter. We each take a task that needs to be done based on who does it better or enjoys it more. She’s ace at mopping and vacuuming while I enjoy laundry.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“My husband and I have five children. So a household of seven. Everyone does something but not always the same something. There’s no ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ chores.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

 “My husband and I take turns with chores.” – Jennifer Finley, 29, of New Marshfield. Server

“My partner and I divide the chores based on what needs to be done. No friction.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“Household chores are divided by who in my household may complete them the best. My partner (male) really enjoys mowing the lawn, even though this is a chore traditionally completed by men. I, however, am in charge of paying bills and keeping track of finances. With most other chores in the home, the responsibility is split with occasional friction related to chores... because who likes to do the dishes?!” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“It would be nice to have chores divided. But there is no friction in my household. My cats do not mind when I clean.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

WHAT TYPE OF struggles do you experience – or see other women experiencing – in the workplace?

“My work environment has changed, and as a person in recovery, most of my struggles now lay in the general navigation through society in general, and certain institutions and professionals. Previously, my gender-related struggles, and those I saw others dealing with, existed in the perceived competency, and physical, intellectual and psychological abilities… I’ve even experienced and witnessed decisions blatantly based on appearances.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Work in the nonprofit sector.

“Their overall ability to juggle the demands of family versus those of the boss or coworkers.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“Discrimination, mostly in the form of thinking women cannot perform the same job.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“I don’t think women speak up for themselves enough, for various reasons. Speak up, go for that promotion, or question that policy you disagree with. This is not easy, and women who make it to leadership positions should work toward fostering female voice around them. If you have time, read the new book by Melinda Gates, ‘Moment of Lift.’ It provides some perspective on the importance of your own voice, lifting up others, and seeing needs specific to women. For instance, many women struggle with reliable, affordable childcare, which then limits their professional opportunities.”  – Ashley Metcalf, 36, of Athens. Department chair and associate professor.

“Experiencing sexism, unequal pay, disrespect.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress.

“Interpersonally, not being included because men like to exclude women. Sexual harassment and offensive comments in the workplace and superiors not taking it seriously. I saw a young lady report unwanted touching from a young guy at a local fast food restaurant. The manager immediately documented stories of that girl accepting the behavior on another occasion to disprove her complaint. The girl ended up leaving, while the guy stayed and got a raise. (BTW, he was a total 17-year-old misogynist.) “ – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“Too many employers prioritize youth and master’s degrees over maturity and on-the-job experience when it comes to hiring and promoting employees. The misconception that someone over 40 with an associate’s degree and years of job experience is somehow a less desirable job candidate than someone fresh out of college needs to be smashed.” – Tracey Maine, 60, of Albany. Marketing intern.

“I get tired of seeing women infantilized – to the point of being told on a wide scale to ‘go home’ – simply for being women. No thank you.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“Personally, my struggles are getting everyone to work together and not put their workload on others.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

“As I mentioned above, I believe there is a real unconscious bias with hiring, promotions, etc. I also think we still live in a culture where women are not as assertive as they ought be, especially when negotiating promotions or wages.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“Getting enough pay to live on.” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“Unequal pay.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“I have seen women being put down and have experienced inappropriate touching. I told him to keep his hands to himself or I would hit him with a pan. I was working at the time.”  – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Teachers: having their needs and requests ignored every day; useless meetings that add up to days of lost teaching time; one person having too much power and no vision, creating road-blocks to student advocacy; having no voice in decision-making when they know what would help students. Legislators who have to educate privileged men about the needs of less privileged women and children in order to have their voices heard/policy created; lack of support and respect in workplaces dominated by men. Professors who put up with sexual harassment because there are no easy ways to avoid or report their superior.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“Being taken less seriously, making less money.” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“Not treated with respect and as an equal.” – Trisha Cain, 65, of Athens.

“As a female in a supervisory role in the workplace, I am privileged to have not experienced direct sexism within the workplace. However, as a supervisor of many women, I hear of many stories in which women are not respected in a professional setting, women are interrupted and talked over, and women are sexualized during their work with consumers. I personally experience frequent comments regarding my weight, age and appearance. Whether positive or otherwise, I don’t believe this is appropriate in a professional setting.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

“Not enough (paid!) maternity leave; can’t find inexpensive daycare/babysitter.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Over-working.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“I often feel as though a woman’s input regarding solutions to issues associated with a job are not taken seriously. We are often dismissed.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Unwanted advances of affection and inappropriate comments.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Being overlooked for promotions.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“Difficulty setting and holding boundaries.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“Men thinking they are smarter.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

Jennifer EskeY

Jennifer Eskey

“So you say struggle where I see challenge. Struggle makes it sound like a sad burden where challenge makes it seem like a goal to achieve. The only challenge I face, and I’m certain this can be felt by many women, is the pressure of time. We spend X amount of time working, X amount of time taking care of stuff, X amount of time on family stuff, and so on. Many don’t take self-care time, and it normally drives a woman to madness.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“Not being given credit for successes in the workplace.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“I personally have not faced issues in the workplace as a result of gender (i.e. harassment, etc.); however, I sympathize and see the importance of handling these issues with care.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

WHAT CAN BE done to improve the climate for women and others coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault?

“Bystander intervention training is very helpful for others not in the victim situation.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

“Provide external ways of reporting. The general managers and whatnot just wanna sweep it under the rug. Internal investigations aren’t a good way to do it. More sensitivity training. And maybe a vigilante group of biker chicks to ‘take care of’ little dickheads.’ Lol jk … sorta.” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“A good support group and a police force that listens and acts.” – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“I’m not sure, but needs to change for the better. More women in authority would help.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“Better protection for victims.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver.

“This is a double-edged sword. I think harsher punishment for anyone, male and female, who falsely accuse another of these crimes would help. But at the same time could be a deterrent for those who have been assaulted but fear no one will believe.” – Jennifer Eskey, 39, of Athens. Pastry chef/small business owner.

“Women don’t come forward because they are often blamed. That needs to stop before women will feel comfortable talking about their problems.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Oof. This is hard. I think one solution is to address binge drinking with our youth. These are dangerous situations. Yes, you should be able to pass out at a party and not be raped, but that is not our current world, unfortunately. I also think we need to work with everyone (males and females) about ‘locker room talk’ and the damage that can do. I also think we need to protect them more and provide more of a shield. Christine Blasey Ford should never have had to face a firing squad like that by herself. I know if it was me, my best friend would never leave my side.” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“Many times a woman needs to speak with a woman. What woman wants to talk to a man about another man being inappropriate. And the listener should be trained in how to listen to the victim.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Put the perpetrator on trial, not the victim.” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

“Demand respectful treatment.” – Trisha Cain, 65, of Athens.

“First of all, rape and sexual assault happen to people of all identities. Second, let’s use the words rape and sexual assault. Ideas: continued work on survivor rights/ending victim blaming, educate all law enforcement with programs such as the Maryland Crime Victims Rights and Services training; expand DV shelters throughout Ohio and the U.S. so that there is always a safe place guaranteed for survivors, children and pets. Also important, let us educate our children and reeducate adults about what healthy sexual and non-sexual relationships are and what consent means, to stem generational violence.” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“Nothing we can do; it won’t matter if we try.” – Chastity McKee, of Chauncey, 34. Bakery. 

“Unfortunately, until we address the fact that our society continues to raise boys to believe that it is OK to disrespect a woman, then this issue will persist. Supporting victims of sexual assault/harassment begins with changing this mindset. In the meantime, these individuals need assurance that when they find the courage to come forward that they will be heard and protected.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

“Change the system completely.” – Reagan Neviska, 24, of Athens. Waitress 

“Coming forth sooner so that the investigations can happen and people are held accountable.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“Removing stigma, providing support, and continued efforts to raise awareness, can facilitate needed changes in laws and attitudes. While attitudes are harder to change, and people, not laws, are more effective in that realm, that doesn’t mean that laws can’t help facilitate changes as well, and we do need legal support as well.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“Put yourself in their shoes. Make a difference by caring about others.” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Realizing that not every person has the same reaction to violence. I can tell you the story of the ex who tried to kill me on multiple occasions while making it sound comedic. Another woman may not use humor to cope and be angry. Stop judging the validity of a survivor’s experiences based on what method she uses to cope.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“More sympathy and education.” – Sarah Horne, 21, of Athens. OU student.

“Take every allegation seriously. There are few reasons why women would subject themselves to that kind of stress for no reason. The climate needs to be shifted so that more women are comfortable coming forward rather than being afraid of it.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

“Sexism is a lens or a framework. I don’t think most people have real antipathy for women in their hearts. But most of us have been raised in a patriarchy, and it’s very difficult to change your perspective. I catch myself reacting with sexism to these allegations, still and now. I think we are in a transition where norms are changing but we have to keep pushing, keep talking about these things. I tell my mother and grandmother, yes, we just put up with a lot of bad male behavior but why would you want to just let it go on for another 30 years?” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

“Believe all women. Support all women. It’s really that easy.” – Katie Daniels, 28, of Athens. Social worker.

DO YOU HAVE a favorite candidate for president in 2020?

Editor’s note: Many of the respondents simply said some form of “no,” including “not yet,” “I don’t have one,” or they just didn’t answer.

 “I have several Democratic candidates in mind whom I would like to see get the nomination, but I will be voting for whichever one ends up running against Donald Trump.” – Annika Gurrola, 23, of Athens. Student/graduate assistant.

 “Voting blue, no matter who.” – Janice Stephan, 70, of Coolville. Retired. 

“My favorite will be the candidate who doesn't resort to fear mongering, name-calling, finger-pointing and gender-oriented guilt trips to get my vote.” – Tracey Maine, 60, of Albany. Marketing intern.

“I am supporting Pete Buttigieg. I like his policies so far. They are well developed and well explained. He is a brilliant man, but more than that, I think he is a kind man. He is also the most genuine candidate. If you have not already, I encourage you to read ‘Shortest Way Home.’” – Adrienne Grooms, 29, of Athens. Data analyst.

“At this point a soggy McDonald's bag would be better than what currently passes as our Commander in Chief. I'd be pleasantly surprised if anyone could do worse.” – Caitlin Seida, 30, of The Plains. Writer.

“I need to do a little more research but I think Elizabeth Warren would be a wonderful way to show the world that women are powerful and a force to be reckoned with." – Emily Mullins, 23, of Athens. Student.

“Anybody but Trump.” – Christina McClain, 63, The Plains. Aide.

“No. We are a year out and who knows what will happen in the meantime?” – Celia Anderson, 58, of Athens. Student.

“No, they are all a joke at this point.” – Ann Wilhelm, 35, of Athens. Administrative assistant.

“Bernie Sanders. He’s the only one not full of shit! And Warren, too. They need to team up and fix this shit, for real. (Or maybe a vigilante lady biker gang will (-;  ).” – Mariah Waring, 43, of Athens. Web design.

“Pete Buttigieg. I think his policies are smart, reasonable and fair, and he’s level-headed and calm.” – Grace Anne Gasperson, 21, of Athens. Lobbyist and delivery driver. 

“I don't know as of right now. I think it should be a younger person, though. All of the frontrunners, both parties, are too damn old.” – Myrna Jones, 76, of Coolville. Retired.

“Pete! LGBTQ community finally being represented!” – Sarah Haney, 22, of Athens. Environmental educator.

“Not yet. I feel we need to have more intelligent conversations before I can pick a favorite.” – Samantha Haning, 23, of Albany. Student.

“Not really. I like Warren OK; I like Klobuchar. But I'm not optimistic about any of them beating Trump. I will vote for whatever Democrat is nominated – they could nominate the corpse of Grumpy Cat and I would vote for it.” – Amy Kinnison, 42, of Athens. Proposal content manager and consultant.

 “Elizabeth Warren. She truly has spent her life fighting for people and would make a fantastic leader.” – Mindy Oehlers, 34, of Athens. Social worker.

 “I haven't made my decision yet. I used to be a Republican, but with the current turmoil I can no longer support this party, at least not in 2020.” – Taunya Strahan, 58, of Athens, a retired educator.

 “Bernie – shake this whole mess up. Get people out of prison. Make college affordable.” – Carie Haugh, 43, of Athens. In banking.

“Not really. Dems. No Trump.” – Becky Meger, 61, of Athens. Disabled.

“I’m still working on that decision. So much is at stake, and I have a lot that I still need to learn and understand. I believe most everything and everyone around me stands to be horribly and negatively affected if we fail to get an extremely qualified and motivated person in office. I feel more rides on this presidential vote than any other presidential vote I’ve ever made.” – Suzanne Greif, 56, of Athens. Works in the nonprofit sector.

“Not really. Elizabeth Warren is probably who I am going to vote for. She is a relatable candidate for me.” – Emersynn McGuire, 20, of Athens. Musician.

 

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