Feminism in the digital age - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Feminism in the digital age

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WARREN, Ohio -

Decades after the women's rights movement, women are still battling for equal rights, pay and respect.

Social media is capturing our every move in the digital age and the images shared with followers can make a lasting impression whether they're intended to or not.

Social media expert and chair of the YSU communications department, Adam Earnheardt,  is a father of three daughters who says he's worried by some of the photos he sees.

"They're just now starting to use social media, just now starting to post pictures, of course I'm concerned," he said.

He believes social media is falling in line with TV where in some cases sex sells, but on the other hand Earnheardt believes digital platforms can play to a woman's advantage.

"Mommy bloggers for example, women who maybe feel like they would otherwise not have a voice in the workplace now have become these entrepreneurs," he said.

From digital to hands-on jobs, women are still working their way into career fields that have historically been dominated by men.

Dale Foerster and her husband are co-owners of STARR Manufacturing in Warren. While working her way up the ranks in management roles, Foerster says men were hesitant to accept her as a leader.

"After they found out that some of the things that I did suggest and explained to them worked, they did take me more seriously," she said.

Hiring women for jobs inside the plant was even a tough sell up until about three years ago.

"The first time I talked to some of the guys about interviewing a couple women for welding, they were very negative," she recalls. "One so much as said 'I am not having a woman on this floor'."

Now three women are working on her manufacturing the floor as a welder, a quality control inspector and a machinist.

Foerster has lived through the challenges women have made in the workplace and sometimes worries women may hinder their progress with images online that don't portray them in a professional or positive light.

"Many of us are putting too much fluff into social media that too many people can access and I think we're not careful enough about being private," she said.

Women make up about half of the U.S. population, yet they're not where near close to holding 50 percent of the elected office positions in government.

Former Ohio Senator Capri Cafaro says women are starting to find their voice. 

Cafaro says she faced two hurdles when she entered state politics: being a woman and being young.

She knew knowledge was the only way to prove her potential critics wrong.

"I spent a lot of time doing my homework, that I knew all the players, that I understood the police issues inside and out," she said.

She reminds everyone to be careful about what they post online.

"Don't do anything stupid," she said. "Don't place yourself in a compromising position and I would say the same thing to a guy."
 

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