I was floored when, earlier this year, North Dakota Democrats adopted an official resolution stating that women in North Dakota face “emergent danger…by simply being women in this state.”
Not just danger, mind you, but emergent danger. As in urgent danger.
That’s a little hard to swallow. One could argue that the influx of young men working in the energy boom has resulted in some tension. Any time you get a disproportionate number of young men in one area, and given them a significant amount of disposable income, you’re going to have some issues.
But emergent danger? That’s a stretch. Yet, those sort of wild-eyed pronouncements have become a central plank for Democrats both nationally and here in North Dakota. Senator Heidi Heitkamp was quick, during her campaign last year, to play the victim card when criticized. How often did we have to hear about how Karl Rove or Rick Berg was “attacking women” by going after Heitkamp?
It was ridiculous. And all the “war on women” hyperbole is even more ridiculous when you consider reports like this one in Business Week detailing the opportunities North Dakota’s thriving economy has created for women.
In fact, by the numbers, wages for women in the state are actually growing faster than men:
While men dominate North Dakota’s shale-oil industry, women in the region are starting complementary service businesses ranging from oil-well geology to occupational testing to day-care and medical clinics. “There are great opportunities for women,” says Kathy Neset, 57, president of Neset Consulting Service. “Whatever skill you have, we need it in western North Dakota.” Neset and her husband founded the geological services company in 1980 in Tioga, which is in the northwest part of the state. More than one-fifth of its 180 employees are women. Neset regularly gives presentations at elementary and middle schools in the upper Midwest, encouraging girls to pursue careers as geologists, where salaries range from $80,000 to $140,000 a year. …
Salaries for women employed full time in North Dakota jumped 22 percent from 2006 to 2011, to $32,500, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, compared with a 14 percent increase for women’s salaries nationwide. Male employees in the state saw a 17 percent increase over that period, to $45,439.
Those facts just don’t fit the Democrat narrative about women in “emergent danger.” In fact, they don’t fit talking points Senator Heidi Heitkamp was pushing earlier this year about gender pay inequality in North Dakota.
Heitkamp pointed out that women in North Dakota make just 73% of what men make on average. But Heitkamp didn’t mention that, thanks specifically to the state’s oil boom, that wage gap is closing.
Because, again, those facts don’t fit the narrative.