September 12, 1997 · Cavalier Daily

Couric Relates Personal Story at NOW Address

In a NOW forum on "Women in Leadership and Women's Issues," Virginia senator Emily Couric relates experiencing job discrimination and sexual harassment. She encourages women to take such incidents with a grain of salt and not be discouraged by them.


1997-09-12 Cavalier Daily Couric Relates Personal Story at NOW Address.pdf
Lindsay Wise
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Couric Relates Personal Story at NOW Address
Staff Writer
State Sen. Emily Couric, D-25th, discussed the importance of balancing personal responsibilities as well as supporting pulic education, diversity and public service in a speech before the University’s chapter of the National Organization for Women last night.
Although the group advertised the meeting as a forum about "Women in Leadership and Women’s Issues," Couric was quick to say she was pleased with the number of men in attendance and said she was willing to address all questions on any issue, not just women's leadership.
NOW President Jennifer Voss was particularly impressed with Couric's ability "to have a fulfilled career and be active in her children's lives.” Voss said, "She is an example of a woman who has proved you can do both and be successful."
"It was very hard," Couric said. "In the '70s, I suffered job discrimination and sexual harassment" as well as discouragement.
"But you learn to keep a sense of humor about such things," she said.
Her race to beat Republican incumbent Edgar S. Robb for a state senate seat in 1995 helped her realize gender bias is not as a much of a roadblock as she anticipated.
"It wasn't a problem campaigning as a woman in an agrarian community,” Couric said. "Voters were more concerned I was from the city than the fact that I was a woman. Still, I was told that I would never win.”
Couric, a former Charlottesville school board chairwoman, focused heavily on education during last night's speech. She now serves on the General Assembly’s Fordice Commission dealing with affirmative action in higher education,
Couric told the roughly 30 audience members she has a commitment to diversity and is concerned about the national retreat from affirmative action, as exemplified by Proposition 209 in California.
"l don't think people ever supported quotas," she said, "But, you have to have a certain sensitivity. Acts such as Proposition 209 sends a message out that minorities are not welcome, and that's not healthy for any college environment.
NOW Treasurer Joy Hunt said Couric’s speech highlighted the fact that the University lacks an adequate number of female leaders.
“There aren't enough women leaders at U.Va.," Hunt said. "Showing examples of diverse leadership and bringing in speakers like Sen. Couric is important here because people feel their voices are not heard. and seeing a woman with a strong voice is important to empowering all students."
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Date Added June 23, 2016
Date Modifed December 24, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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