By Jamie Self
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
South Carolina’s lone female senator had a message for her fellow women in the Legislature and women and girls listening into the Senate proceedings Tuesday.
“(Y)ou will experience roadblocks and challenges. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up,” Sen. Katrina Shealy said, speaking from the Senate well.
“And don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you are less than what you are. We need you to help solve the problems we face. South Carolina needs you to step up and lead,” Shealy continued.
Shealy made the comments in response to a recent exchange between her and Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Greenville, and sexist remarks Shealy said Corbin made to her.
Corbin told the Associated Press that he was joking when, over dinner with Shealy and others last week, he called women the “lesser cut of meat,” referring to God having made Eve from Adam’s rib in the Bible.
Since the incident, Shealy said Corbin apologized and she accepted, but Shealy said the comment was inappropriate whether made in jest or not.
Read Shealy’s full statement here:
I appreciate Sen. Corbin’s comments. We have also talked privately. We had a frank conversation. He apologized for what he said last week. I believe he was sincere in offering that apology, and I accept his apology.
But as I speak for myself and all women — these type remarks are never acceptable in public or in private. They never have been and they never should be whether the person speaking them thinks they are in jest or not, these words are hurtful and disrespectful. We are all created equal and as such deserve respect.
I am proud to represent this state as a Senator. You all know what I went through to get here. I worked my tail off to win my election, and I work extremely hard every day to represent my constituents.
I am proud that we have a female representing us a Governor. I am proud of each and every one of the 21 Female House Members Across the hall. We need more. And I am proud of every staff member, most of whom are women, who show up everyday and keep this state moving forward.
Each of us works hard every day to set an example for the girls and young women of this state that will come behind us to fill these positions and hopefully many more. Many of them could very well be your daughters or your granddaughters! We should not expect an easier path than our male counterparts, but we cannot accept any less than our male counterparts when it comes to responsibility or respect.
To the women and young ladies in the chamber today — and all those who may be listening — you will experience roadblocks and challenges. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. And don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you are less than what you are. We need you to help solve the problems we face. South Carolina needs you to step up and lead.
I accept Senator Corbin’s apology. I look forward to working with him — and each of you — as we move forward today and accomplish great things for the State of South Carolina!