Opinion: On the behavior of male Marion Planning Board members

May 5, 2024

To the editor:

I described my displeasure recently with the behavior of some male Planning Board members and another male associated with that board. It is disheartening to be treated as inferior when one is not. To provide a clearer perspective on this behavior, I suggest men in Marion and elsewhere try a thought experiment.

Imagine living in a world where women routinely patronized you. Imagine having your views ignored or your expertise frequently challenged by women. Imagine trying to speak up in a meeting, only to be talked over by female colleagues. Imagine women subordinates resisting you as a boss, merely because of your gender. Imagine women’s superiors promoting other women, even if they are less qualified than you. Imagine people always addressing the woman you are with before they address you.

Every woman has a story about being underestimated, talked over, ignored, patronized and generally not taken as seriously as a man. As long as this behavior continues and as long as we see many more men than women in positions of authority, we will tend to associate men with authority and women with subordinate status.

During the reorganizational meeting of the Marion Planning Board in May 2023, the male members demonstrated patronizing behavior. Despite my nomination of Alanna Nelson as chairperson and vice chairperson, citing her exceptional leadership attributes and management qualifications, the men nominated Mr. Tucker Burr for chairman and Mr. Andrew Daniel for vice chairman, without even providing one shred of evidence regarding leadership attributes or management qualifications to support their candidates. Yet, the men hung together voting in a block, resulting in a 5-2 decision.

If men do not take women equally seriously, we end up with a town that lacks direction and is potentially dysfunctional. When women succeed, we all succeed.  


Eileen J. Marum, Clerk

Marion Planning Board