Preview: Northeast Nebraska Significantly Below National Average for Women in Government, Law Enforcement

Women are sometimes pushed aside, and (told) this is a mans job

- NECC American Government Instructor Gary Timm

There are zero women in elected positions at the city or county level in Madison County.

Northeast Community College American Government instructor Gary Timm says the idea of traditional gender roles is still entrenched in society.

“Women are sometimes pushed aside, and (told) this is a mans job,” Timm said. “Women are still reliant on doing a lot of the day care and so forth. The meetings are at night and the whole family unit thing.”

Former Stanton Mayor Colleen Paden says she never felt like she was treated differently because she was a woman.

“I really have never thought of myself as any different,” Paden said “So, I felt like I had something to contribute.”

But for whatever reason, nobody has followed Paden’s footsteps. There is only one woman mayor in a nine county sample of northeast Nebraska. And the gender disparity is in law enforcement too. Meet Amanda Dunbar, Norfolk’s only female police officer.

“I worked in the social services field for several years,” Dunbar said. “But after I had kids, I kind of wanted to go in a different direction with my career and thought law enforcement would be a good match.”

The numbers are staggering. Northeast Nebraska has significantly fewer women in both government and law enforcement than national averages. We take an in depth look at women in both fields in our feature stories for Monday and Tuesday. Tune in at 6:00.

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