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Friday, June 21, 2024

For Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, being a woman has been worth more than $100,000 of campaign donations.

As part of the second annual Women’s History Month event sponsored by Florida Women in Business and Students in Free Enterprise, Hanrahan talked to about 25 business school undergraduates in Bryan Hall on Tuesday night.

She spoke about the benefits of being a woman in the business and political spheres.

“For whatever reason, people operate under the assumption that being a woman is a disadvantage when running for public office,” Hanrahan said to the all-female audience. “But it is the exact opposite.”

Having a defense mechanism ready, such as wit or sarcasm, can be helpful for dealing with sexism, she said.

But she said sexism is becoming rare.

“This is an extraordinary time for women in leadership, whether it is in business or academia,” Hanrahan said.

She said women are more likely to vote and go to college, and being a woman in the workplace is easier than ever.

Some gender-specific challenges will never go away, she said. 

“I highly recommend running for office while being pregnant,” she said. “And going into a business meeting and having baby snot on your shoulder. Those are just the kinds of things you will have to work with.”

The future of gender relations in the workplace is bright, she said.

“For women in your age range, the men should be just fabulous,” she said with a wink.

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Event organizer Sarah Hudson said she plans to invite a similar speaker to next year’s celebration.

“It was really good to have a successful woman who went to UF who is still in the community,” Hudson said. “Being a woman is not a disadvantage.”

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