Back in the 1980s, if you went to a KPA news or advertising seminar, you found the ratio to be something like 75-80 percent male, 20-25 female. Things gradually changed and by the turn of the century, it was probably a 50-50 ratio.
The Strategic Plan we went through in 2008-2010 showed us that newspapers didn’t want seminars any more, mainly because of the costs (travel, registration, overnight rooms) and for us to focus on webinars. But if we were having seminars, I don’t doubt the tables would be turned — probably 75-80 percent women; 20-25 percent males.
Not long ago, someone new to KPA commented about the number of females on the Board of Directors and I told that that’s one of the things that makes me proud of what we have today. Not only do we have a lot of women on the Board but nine of our presidents since 1986 have been women. Betty Berryman, who was publisher of the Winchester Sun, was the first lady to serve as VP of the organization. Then in 1991 and 1992, Celia McDonald and Mary Schurz served back-to-back years.
Not quite but nearly 50 percent of the KPA Board are women. In fact, the elected Board members for Districts 1 through 5 are all female: Barbara Atwill, The Current in Fulton; Sheryl Ellis, Kentucky New Era; Regina Catlett, Sebree Banner/Sturgis News; Melissa Mudd, Butler County Banner/Edmonson News; and Stevie Lowery, Lebanon Enterprise.
There’s also Cathie Shaffer from the Greenup County Times-News; Catherine Boone, Frankfort State Journal; Carrie Dillard, Paducah Sun; Jane Ashley Pace, Oldham Era/Henry County Local; Deborah Givens, Eastern Kentucky University, Journalism Education Representative; and Michele Day, Northern Kentucky University, representing the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association.
We still have the largest Board of Directors in the country of any state press association, taking over top billing a couple of years ago when the California Newspaper Publishers Association cut its number of Board members. With so many Board members, perhaps we don’t have the highest percentage of women vs. men on the Board but I’m not sure many of the others have close to 50 percent.
We’ve grown in a lot of ways as a state press association and giving women an important role in the organization has to be one of the best accomplishments.