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Women in the Workplace: Kate Vrijmoet

Kate Vrijmoet is a curator, an artist and a passionate activist. She keeps a studio in Pioneer Square, a small business, but one that, although she manages to pay her taxes, she operates at a loss.  K-Vrijmoet-#3Col

As she points out, regretfully, there’s a big gap between male and female artists. The stats are grim: Although 60 percent of arts graduates are women, galleries display only about 25 percent of women’s work nationally. Seattle’s record at 39 percent is somewhat better. Less than 4 percent of museum collections are credited to women artists.

When asked why this is the case, Kate reflects that salary negotiation and having a family have been obvious barriers in her own art career. However, it is clear that … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Kaffeeklatsch

kaffee 1Annette Heide-Jessen has felt the sting of the gender gap. She says that, in many ways, it’s still a man’s world. But she is candid about what brought her, a native of Berlin, to Seattle: It was a man. By the time the two parted, however, she’d fallen in love with the city: the mountains, the water and, more importantly, the people.

It was partly that connection to people that drove her to open Kaffeeklatsch, her coffee shop and bakery, in Lake City in January, 2011.  As she explains, “I had lost my job and been unemployed for two years.  There were not any independent coffee shops in Lake City, so I borrowed money with a business … Continue Reading »


Women in the Workplace: Mobile Electrical Distributors

Colleen Hallett has a stock of stories to share about being a woman who owns a mobile4traditional blue-collar business, an electrical supplies firm on Lake City Way Northeast.

She says, “One day a guy came into the counter. When I asked, if I could help him, he said, ‘Oh, I’ll wait for one of the guys.’” “Finally my part-time truck driver came in and asked the guy what he needed. After he ordered, the truck driver had to turn to me to find out where the part was located.”

Hallett, president of Mobile Electrical Distributors since 1998, laughs at the memory. She says, “I guess the guy just wanted to wait.”  Hallett has been working at the family-run business since 1967. She … Continue Reading »

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Seattle’s Got Distinction

If you’re assembling an “Only in Seattle” file, you’d have to include June 6th, the night that the Seattle Symphony showcased music inspired by Seattle hip-hop icon Sir Mix-A-Lot. sirmix

Sir Mix asked for “a couple of ladies” to help him out with his signature song, “Baby’s Got Back.” Upwards of three dozen women crowded onstage and boogied while he rapped and the symphony played. The free-form performance quickly went viral across the country. Few, if any, symphony orchestras anywhere can match that claim.

Mix’s dance-a-lot is only one of the happenings that make Seattle stand out as a city where the unusual is usual. Every day brings us more evidence that Seattle’s got distinction.

For example, as we speak, Seattle is fine tuning … Continue Reading »

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Corporations Can Dictate Contraception? My Thoughts on the Hobby Lobby Decision

hlI confess that I was totally blindsided. I never expected the Supreme Court would rule the way it did, five justices – all male, by the way — agreeing that requiring family-owned corporations to provide insurance coverage for contraception somehow violated a federal law protecting the corporation’s religious freedom.

A corporation’s religious freedom? I guess that’s what really stunned me. It was outrageous enough that, writing earlier in the infamous Citizens United decision, the court had declared that corporations have First Amendment rights to free speech. Now the court’s majority has decided that corporations – at least those owned mainly by families — are also entitled to freedom of religion.

If one follows this convoluted line of reasoning, corporations apparently … Continue Reading »

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