To the Editor:
Research by me and others has clearly documented the reality that women have a more difficult time seeking and working in governmental positions because of the stereotype of women as being less knowledgeable about politics. Though this perception has been shifting (as seen in the growing number of female candidates and office holders at all levels of government), its power can be seen in the dismissive attitude and vitriol directed against women during this election.
Consequently, it was particularly distressing to read the Sept. 8 article discussing the candidates for the McHenry County Board. Overall, the female candidates were hardly mentioned. Moreover, the coverage of Tanya Jindrich (Democratic candidate in District 3) was especially galling.
Information about Ms. Jindrich’s qualifications and political positions is readily available: she had participated in the first round of candidate interviews and her website details both her qualifications and her policy positions.
Yet, the article’s primary characterization of Ms. Jindrich was as “a mother and concerned citizen rather than a politician.” Though these traits are especially valuable for County Board members who are tasked with understanding the impacts of local government, the article failed to mention the specific elements of her experience that are exceptionally advantageous in this period of financial crisis.
In particular, Ms. Jindrich has a Master’s degree in finance, and worked for many years in two of America’s dominant financial institutions before creating her own small business. She has additionally served her community as a volunteer for a number of organizations, including the Wehde Early Childhood Center and District 47’s Special Education Parent Teacher Organization.
The article gave the impression that she was not suitable to be a career politician. In contrast to its dismissiveness toward her, it gave more detailed summaries of the policy positions of both of her two male opponents, especially the incumbent. It did not address the marital or parental status of any of the other candidates.
I would hope that voters of District 3 will give Tanya Jindrich fair consideration by looking at her website. She has the background, experience, and policy positions that would make her a valuable District 3 Board member.
Meredith Reid Sarkees