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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas with my mom and a friend celebrating my 21st birthday. My social status as a young female has never proved so beneficial. I skipped hour-long lines, scooted my way into VIP areas and received free lap dances from Australian male strippers (no, seriously).

I was impressed by how easy it was to get special treatment as a woman. Then I realized how ridiculous that is. The only time in my life that it's actually been advantageous to have two X chromosomes was during a weekend trip to the Strip. I don't think Gloria Steinem would be very happy.

This got me to thinking about women in the 21st century.

We like to believe that respect for gender, if not complete equality, has finally come to fruition. But has it?

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has definitely endured her share of ridicule as a female.

At a recent speech given by Clinton prior to the New Hampshire primaries, two male attendees proved that sexism still exists.

The men, positioned near the front of the auditorium, interrupted her speech by chanting, "Iron my shirts," until escorted away by security guards. Clinton spoke of breaking a glass ceiling and cleverly concluded her speech by saying, "If there's anybody in the audience who wants to learn to iron his own shirt, we can talk about that." Although the event has been named as a factor in Hillary's growing popularity, it is still unnerving as a female to hear men so certain of women's inferiority.

Here's another example of how far we still have to go. This week on Yahoo News there was an article about the growing prominence of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Neato, I thought. Then, I read on. There are currently 10 female CEOs. Wow, 10, really? This is news?

I'll do the math to save you the trouble. Two percent of the top 500 companies in the U.S. are run by women. This information is neither astounding nor encouraging. In fact, it saddens me. Is that really newsworthy? If women were truly as respected as men in the workplace, there would be more like a few hundred powerful ladies on the list.

I understand there are many working women who quit their jobs at one point or another to raise children, thus preventing them from moving to the top of the corporate ladder.

But I don't believe this is the reason that 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by men - just as I don't think Hillary's starched, wrinkle-free shirts are the reason male protestors asked her to iron theirs.

I'll admit I'm guilty of joking about marrying for money and spending my days on the tennis courts. But honestly, I plan to have a successful career as well as a family. I want to drop my kids off at school and then kick off my pink heels beneath my oak desk in the corner office.

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In order to do both, I have to be seen as an equal or at least be revered for more than my ability to bake Funfetti cupcakes.

In this particular instance, what happened in Vegas must not stay in Vegas. I hope that some day respect for women will be as common as bottles of bronzer in a Thunder From Down Under dressing room.

Carly Hallam is an advertising senior. Her column appears on Fridays.

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