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It's Time to Move Forward

There have been some recent national media items that made me embarrassed to be a Utahn.  It is a unique and amazing state and there is nowhere I'd rather live and recreate but sometimes the politics are overwhelming.  There is only so much you can tune out.  This week, I kept a tally and decided to do something about it by writing and speaking my mind.  It is discouraging that we can have all these great successes but continue to see decisions that move us backward, especially as women.

I don't want to dwell on the negatives, so let's start with the positives.  
+ Women are going to the Winter Olympics for the first time as ski jumpers!  The fight for equality was led out of Park City thanks to our local jumpers, their parents, and Deedee Corradini.  Deedee was Salt Lake City's 1st and only woman mayor.  ParkiteSarah Hendrickson's Flying commercial has been airing all weekend showing the nation that women are athletic, determined, and going to kick some butt in the Olympics.  Over 5000 fans showed up in Park City for the US Olympic Trials to watch these amazing women jump and make history.

+ Sundance is just a few days away bringing too many visitors to count and plenty of media recognition.  Attention will primarily be on Park City and not the entire state, but it is a chance to show the world how open-minded Utah can be.  Many Sundance volunteers and attendees are women, not to mention a growing number of women in the movie business.

+ My workplace in Park City has more women than men and in addition to being software geeks, we are all active.  This Friday, instead of going to yoga during lunch, we hustled to the ski area and knocked out a few powder runs before we had to be back for meetings.

+ Stanford visited to play the Utes.  Everyone across the nation knows how amazing the Stanford Women's Basketball program is and they always fill their stands and the teams they visit. Huntsman arena was busier than normal on Friday, but still relatively empty compared to the men's games.  The supportive crowd included young girls, same-sex couples, athletic women, families, and older fans that willed the Utes to keep fighting even though the Cardinal just kept knocking down shots.

Those are just some of the good things I'm involved with that shows Utah as an open-minded progressive state.  I'm sure there were plenty during the 1st full week of 2014.

But it isn't all sunshine and powder here in Utah, so let's look at the negatives that got my attention.
- Same-sex marriages were legalized a few weeks ago and 1300 marriages took place in Utah... but then our state refused to recognize the marriages and their rights even though the federal government does.  I don't know all the legalese, but I know it isn't right.  

I listened to a state spokesman on the radio smugly saying everything was ok since these couples could move to a state that recognizes same-sex marriages and they'd be legal.  Almost as if he wished that would happen.  Then, 5 minutes later, I walked into the Utes basketball game and sat near several same-sex couples.  I couldn't feel more embarrassed and frustrated that our state can't support these women that support women athletes at the state's largest university.  At least the games are a welcome place for all types of supporters, no matter what the state thinks.

It is also reassuring that many of our Sundance visitors will be same-sex couples and be treated with respect in Park City.  I hope our state's immaturity doesn't deter them from visiting.

- Obviously, more women in politics and leadership roles in our communities can only help. Unfortunately the other negative news this week is how unfriendly Utah is to women in politics.  There was a 30 minute discussion about it this week, which includes Deedee Corradini.  This research and discussion are a follow-up from the study from September when Utah was given an "F" for women's well-being.  If you want to get more involved, check out RealWomenRun.org

I'm not running for office, but hopefully by blogging I can help spread the word and get others to act in ways that work for them.  Get involved, give your support, speak up, and be a part of the movement.  Let's keep the positives happening and do our best to eliminate the negatives.  It's time to move forward.

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