Austin, Texas, City Council Hears Advice On Women In Government & The Arguments Are Outrageous
According to one presenter in Austin, Texas, women just aren't into fiscal arguments. You have to present information to female elected officials in a totally different way than you would their male counterparts. Oh, and women ask a lot of questions, so try to be patient, he said. These actual pearls of wisdom were from a March professional development session conducted by the city of Austin, titled "Changing Dynamics in Government," The Washington Post reported, where Jonathan K. Allen gave advice about women in city council. Bustle has reached out to Allen, who was unavailable for comment.
The apparent problem in Austin, you see, is that there are now seven women on its 11-member city council. So, officials with the city manager's office decided some kind of training was in order, and they organized the training session in March for staff who deal with the city council in order to prepare them for the incoming councilwomen. One of the people who spoke during the session was Allen, who was city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, when it had an all-female commission. Among Allen's suggestions for handling these elected women, according to The Austin American-Statesman, which published a video of the speech, are these below.
First, don't try to make fiscal arguments to women. "It may make financial sense, but if I want to get it through I have to present it in a whole different way," Allen said. The problem is that "women can't process things at the same way," he says at the opening of the video.
Second, Hillary Clinton is going to run for president, and then all these women are going to run for office, too, so get ready. "I submit to you if Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership position if she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top," he says in the video.
Oh, and third, listening to his 11-year-old daughter taught Allen to be more patient when answering questions, even when the questioner "already knows the answer," the American-Statesman reported. Allen said this lesson better taught him how to communicate with women.
While city spokesman David Green told the American Statesman the session was a "timely and relevant professional development opportunity," city manager Marc Ott, whose office organized the training, told the Post it should have been better vetted.
The city councilwomen were none too pleased, either. During a joint press conference Wednesday morning, Councilor Sherri Gallo said women asking questions is (obviously) a good thing.
Effective leaders ask questions. Then they evaluate and listen to the answers. What was so troubling was that the training grouped all women together and stereotyped their skills and how they process information.
The video of the training has been removed from the Austin city website, with a statement from Ott, who said he takes full responsibility for the session not being more thoroughly screened in advance. He added that Allen's remarks "are not reflective in any way of our culture, philosophy or approach."