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Three generations of Treacy testify to support Equal Rights Amendment in MN by Ann Treacy
February 1, 2022, 5:23 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Today my Mom (Elaine), my eldest daughter (Lily) and I did something important and a little scary. We testified in front of the Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee to support House File 726 (HF626): Gender equality provided under law, and constitutional amendment proposed. Big thanks to both Mom and Lily; this isn’t something we do every day but I think it was helpful for the legislators to hear from three generations and to get a glimpse at what has change and what hasn’t in the last 70 some years. And if you listen to the end you’ll hear Chair Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn say this is the first time they have heard from three generations. And thank you to Minnesota ERA for inviting us.

Here’s our portion of the meeting:

And the whole meeting:

I will paste the testimony we planned to read below. It’s pretty close to what we actually read. We thought this was important because gender is not currently protected in the Minnesota constitution. Most people think it is; most people think it should be. They had wonderful people testifying – some even more qualified than we are. In the end it was moved to Government Finance, which is a step forward. I expect is will pass in the House; not as hopeful for the Senate. (So if you care, find your state senator and ask them to make the ERA a priority.)

The sticky wicket seems to be the term gender versus sex. Detractors seem to think that including all genders means we somehow risk losing something. However, if we’re striving for equality for all, that means everyone – who cares what gender? It’s couched in a lot of different ways but in the end I feel like some folks feel we need someone to be less equal to make themselves feel more equal. I’d rather be on a team of all winners and we have the power (at least here) to do make everyone a winner.

See full testimony

Testimony for ERA bill on Feb 1, 2021

Ann: Madame Chair, Representatives, thank you for having us. My name is Ann Treacy; I am on the board of Women’s March Minnesota. I am here with my mom and daughter to talk about our personal experiences, recognizing that we have privileges, like color, that also impact our experiences; but we are three generations asking for the security of Equal Rights for ourselves and future generations. We have seen improvements over the years, but it’s been incremental and without legal support, which means we don’t have rights; we have the illusion or assumption of rights. There’s no security in that.

Elaine: Madame Chair, Representatives, my name is Elaine Treacy, mother of 3, grandmother of 7, a former Senior Systems Analyst. When I was in grade school only boys could be on the police patrol aka crossing guards or servers at church; there were no sports teams for girls. I envied their choices. After high school people questioned why I went to college, when they assumed I would be a stay home mother. When I was married my salary was not including in our mortgage applications, which meant we qualified for less and I needed my husband’s signature for a credit card or major purchases. He did not need mine. Most damaging was how these limitations reduced my expectations for myself. I wanted to go to law school, to become a lawyer but I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t feel equal because I wasn’t, and I couldn’t dream equally.

Ann: Madame Chair, Representatives, again I’m Ann Treacy, daughter to Elaine. I have three daughters and work in a high tech field. I walked easily through some of the gender doors opened  by my mom. I played a sport, it was assumed I’d go to college, even get graduate degrees. BUT one year into one of my first career jobs, I learned I was being paid considerably less than male counterparts. The employers fixed it but it happened – decades after the equal pay act of 1963. Greater protections of the ERA would help enforce equality.

Lily: Madame Chair, Representatives, I am Lily O’Donnell, daughter to Ann, granddaughter to Elaine and a college student. Some things are better for me now; some things aren’t. In high school, the boys seemed to get best times or spaces for sports events and practices. In grade school, girls couldn’t wear yoga pants because they were too distracting to the boys; the boys were not restricted based on reactions of girls. So we’re still not equal.

But more worrisome now, I’m seeing that transgender and nonbinary friends are running into roadblocks like my grandma did – and worse. Sports opportunities are limited – even bathroom access can be difficult. There is discrimination. The impact is that like my grandma, students are still limited in expectations and dreams.  Because of limited gender equality the community is not reaping the benefits of our best selves.

Ann: Madame Chair, Representatives,  thank  you again for your attention and for taking up the Equal Rights Amendment. It’s necessary; it’s time; it’s past due.


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