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  • Writer's pictureSharon Van Baale

Women in White at SOTU

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

As a woman who has been in the workforce since 1969, I am saddened by the disrespectful show that the "women in white" displayed at the State of the Union address by President Trump, last night.

Women have worked hard over the years to gain some grain of respect and trust in the workplace, enduring, at times sexual innuendos, overtures, expectations and outright attacks, just to keep a decent paying job.  We suffered through the disrespect of being a woman in a "man's job", while we worked hard to prove we could do it just as good as they could.  We earned the respect at a great cost at times, but we opened up the field in many areas for women by proving we could do it just as well or even better that a male counterpart.

One saying that has stuck with me is that we had to do twice the work of men to receive half the credit.  I worked as an EMT on the ambulance once for a male Director, doing my job just like he did.  When he resigned, he recommended me for the job.  The first question I was asked by the all male council was, "How are you going to be able to lift a patient?"  My answer, "Just like he did...with a partner on the other side."  I was hired and gained the respect of several at the meeting.  So, I was the FIRST female EMT-1 Ambulance Director in the State, or so I was told. 

We have broken through the world of finance, as well.  I went to my bank one time to ask for a small loan to start up a small company.  The bank had been financing my husband and our company for years.  I had been in there with him many times when he just had to go in and sign the papers after calling on the phone to say he had bought something.  I paid the bills.  I deposited the money.  I set up the accounts,  I was co-owner of the business.  I was 50% owner by the law of Community Property.  BUT I had to get a lecture by the loan officer and provide a business plan and show how I was going to pay for it.  That is understandable by itself and a first time loan, NOT with 20 years of experience and an excellent credit record (since I was 16) and legally, I retained half of the credit my husband had, and my credit history was better than his.  I should have been able to pick up the phone and tell the loan officer that I had purchased equipment for my new business and ask when he wanted me to come in and sign the papers.  So when he asked me if my husband was going to co-sign the note, I told him where he could get off my world. 

That experience taught me another valuable lesson...that as a female, I had to always look out for myself because no one else was going to.  My husband would have co-signed the note, but that was not the point.  I should be able to operate separate from him.  I did not pursue the business, but I did choose to find a banker that I could pick up the phone and call without the permission of my husband.

It aggravates me to see younger women now, dressing sexy to please a male boss or client, thinking it will get her further up the ladder. Honey, we changed that for you.  If you have to still do that, it's the wrong ladder.  Women like that, set the rest of us back a bit.  We have come into our own, but the respect must still be earned though hard work, dressing respectable, acting respectable, and treating others with respect.   You'll be treated that way in return. 

The political world is even more difficult to break into for women because men are supposed to, historically, be the leaders, heads of families, churches, businesses, etc.   Expectations have changed to include women as leaders over the years, but, again, we had to prove ourselves.

I was fortunate to be raised in "Texas, Where Men are Men and Women are Senators and Governors."  We have had women in politics here for years, just not a lot of them.  Women in Texas, historically have worked right beside our men.  It was a hard country and it took us all to survive, no matter what role we were destined to play through the years of growth. 

When I signed up to run for County Chair, I never expected a problem being female, and there was none.  I have been to conventions, State level meetings, met 2 governors, senators, representatives, and judges and have never felt inferior.  Just the opposite, I guess considering they need me on their side when they are campaigning for office.  Just kidding.  I do not feel that from most candidates.  Most of them are appreciative for the support.  The ones that are not....probably are picking up on the vibe that I do not support them.


The big deal about women in elected positions in Congress is overstated, from my perspective.  There is no reason they should be any more special that their male counterparts.  I sincerely believe that a candidate that is in charge of the government that controls my life needs to be thoroughly vetted and I do not care if they are male, female, black, white, brown or green.  My requirements are God-fearing, Pro-life, conservative thinkers and doers.

I respect the fact that the "women in white" stepped up and ran for office.  Now  they need to act like they are deserving of the position and not entitled to it.  They need to respect and earn respect from their co-workers, whether they agree or not.  As elected officials, they should try always, to keep the United States of America as their main focus...what is best for this great country, that stays within the confines of our Constitution. They do not have to like, nor agree with, but they should at the very least, attempt to respect the President of the United States of America.

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