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Female Idaho lawmakers hold rally to support women in workforce following BSU professor's comments

Idaho women are gathering at the Boise State campus on Saturday morning to show support for women in the workforce.

BOISE, Idaho — In response to comments made by Boise State political science professor Dr. Scott Yenor about the role of women in society, Idaho women are gathering at the Boise State campus on Saturday morning to show support for women in the workforce.

The rally will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the "B" on Boise State's campus.

Yenor received criticism on social media after comments he made regarding women's occupations at the National Conservatism Conference. During his speech, Yenor claimed women in the workplace are "more medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome than women need to be."

Yenor also said "Every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med-school, and the law, and every trade." 

"In the year 2021, it's really troubling that I have to defend myself as a human being. I have to remind people that women have access and the same rights as anyone else," Sen. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) said. "It is more than troubling for sure, and I thought the conversation was interesting." 

Wintrow has been a gender studies professor at Boise State since the early 2000s. While she agrees there is value in provocative conversations, Wintrow believes the recent words from Yenor are harmful.

"He goes beyond just having a provocative conversation about gender roles, he says, 'You don't belong and that you belong somewhere else,'" Wintrow explained. "So he says, 'We should be discouraging women from getting their education and being in the workforce.' He doesn't just talk about it in some generic sense, he is actually saying we shouldn't do it."

Lawmaker Brooke Green (D-Boise) graduated from Boise State and is now working in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). After hearing Yenor's comments, she said she felt compelled to speak out. 

"I'm a transportation planner. I plan and help my female engineers build our roads, and so when he makes the statement that we are not to be promoting women into these roles, it is personal because I sit at that table with all my women colleagues, with all my male colleagues and we work together," Green said. "I remember staying up late at night thinking, 'What can we do to create a presence in our community and to elevate women in all of these professions and give them an opportunity to be present?'"

After going back to Yenor's statements, Green said a comment he made at the very end about "the effort to erase the old standard of public men and private women" stood out. 

"There is nothing more public than the event we are doing Saturday to promote women to be present," Green said. "That is really the catalyst behind it, those last few words because there is nothing about putting us quietly on the back burner in our professions and our lives as that statement was."

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