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“Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination
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SH



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

From the Op-Ed page (A11) of the WSJ yesterday (September 6, 2008):

Let's Talk About Palin's Family Challenges
By KATTY KAY and CLAIRE SHIPMAN


Gov. Sarah Palin's commando muscle-flex in St. Paul Wednesday night eviscerated the argument that she might not be capable of handling the vice presidency and five children at the same time. Indeed, we were left with the distinct impression that on a slow day, she could clean up America, balance our budget with a little help from eBay, and win the Iditarod -- all with 10 kids tied to her back.

What Sarah Palin did not do, however, is put an end to the latest national conversation about "trying to have it all." Because the question we're all asking isn't can she do it, but why is she doing it? Mrs. Palin, you see, happens to be bucking a new national trend. Even as most mothers across America chuckle appreciatively about pit bulls and lipstick and applaud her bravado, they are making choices that look very un-Palinesque.

This week we've heard our feminist foremothers argue that any sentence mixing the words woman, kids and work is inappropriate -- heretical even. "A man wouldn't face this sort of scrutiny," they grumble darkly.
But Mrs. Palin and her career aspirations are not falling victim to a secret cabal of men trying, once again, to impose an impossible standard on women. And this is not a redux of the old Mommy Wars -- that stale, red herring of a debate between "career" moms and their "stay at home" counterparts.

Mrs. Palin is actually putting a spotlight on a new women's movement we call "Womenomics." Thanks to women's fast-growing market value we can finally live and work in a way that wins us time and avoids that agonizing choice of career or kids. Today as never before women can define success on their own terms.

Fed up with 50- and 60-hour weeks and a career ladder we didn't build and don't want to climb, women are looking for jobs that demand fewer and freer hours. We want to work but we also want quantity time, as well as quality time, with our children. Most of us no longer buy the onwards-and-upwards drive to the corner office (or in Mrs. Palin's case, the West Wing) at the cost of a fragmented family life. More and more, women are choosing a tapestry of family and work in which we define our own success in reasonable terms -- even if we sacrifice some "prestige."

In 1992, 57% of women with degrees wanted more responsibility at work, but by 2002 that figure had plummeted to 36%, according to the Family and Work Institute. Four out of five women want more flexibility at work and call it a top priority; 60% of us want to work part-time. What we're saying is we'll trade responsibility, title -- even paycheck -- for more time and more control. And we have company. Increasingly men say they too want more flexibility at work. Gen X and Gen Y won't even talk about sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day.

What makes this revolution possible is that it's grounded in hard-core economics. Women are the hottest commodity in the hunt for talent.
We're 58% of college graduates, we get graduate degrees in greater numbers than men. Companies are waking up to the fact that women are more than a politically correct nod to diversity. We help the bottom line. A recent 19-year study of 215 Fortune 500 firms found that companies that have more women in executive positions make more money. Companies with more women in senior management get higher valuations on the American Stock Exchange.

Overwhelmingly, women are using this professional clout to redefine work, not chain themselves to it. And companies, eager to keep us and terrified of the cost of replacing us, are responding. They've discovered that offering work-life balance actually increases productivity. There are accountants who get home at 3 p.m. every day but remain on the fast track. Top New York Law firms have part-time partners who are still players. Can investment banks be far behind?

This isn't really about whether Mrs. Palin can do the job with five children. Will she do it all well? That depends on your yardstick, at least on the home front. How much time is "enough" with your children, or at work, is an extremely personal decision. The point is we now have reasonable options -- it's not all or nothing. Our mother's generation may bemoan the fact that there is still a dearth of female CEOs, but our generation knows a big part of the reason why isn't that we can't get there, but that most of us don't want to make the sacrifices necessary, as the jobs are now defined, to get there.

It's important to understand why, then, Mrs. Palin has hit a nerve. It's not because she's a woman with children trying to do a man's job. It's because she's actually pushing the combination of professional and personal ambitions beyond the sensibilities of this generation of working moms. As women, we may be awed by her, but she's not necessarily a role model for so many professional women who now say they want to do it differently, that they don't want to do 150% of everything all of the time.
So what you are hearing is less condemnation than a collective gasp of amazement -- and exhaustion -- at the thought of juggling five children, one of them an infant, and the most extreme example of a job with little or no flexibility. It would make supermom feel feeble. And we should celebrate the fact that all of this can now be discussed openly.

It is not sexist to have this conversation. It is sexist not to.

Ms. Kay is a BBC anchor and reporter. Ms. Shipman is an ABC News reporter. They are the authors of "Womenomics: The Workplace Revolution That Will Change Your Life," due out next spring by HarperCollins.


What do you think? I don't agree that "Womenomics" is a new women's movement. What I think is that “Womenomics” as a phenomenon is one of the achievements of the women's movement past that brought women independence and choices. These are choices that are beyond abortion rights, and beyond reproduction rights. It is because of this achievement that I (not too much younger than Palin) am comfortable being married without children, not because I choose career over family, but because I gradually come to realization that motherhood is not my path. And I believe it is this same achievement that allows Gov. Palin to exercise her choice in being a mother as well as a political leader, which eventually leads to her nomination and candidacy.

However, I am one of those who feel weary of her nomination. I am even more so today than a week ago, after listening to her acceptance speech and all the news interviews of analysts and women voters who claim Palin knows what women go through everyday. I am glad that finally these two writers put into words what I have felt all week since the nomination but was unable to verbalize. I think I could admire Palin for her choices and her achievements if only there were not these undertones that she represents women and her achievements are for all women. It’s not that I feel my self diminished next to Palin; it’s that I don’t think one woman’s choices and achievements speak for all women. I think I would be less worried if Palin would in anyway indicate that not all women care or need to walk her walk. But why would she, when one of the reasons of her candidacy is to bring votes to her party by highlighting the women’s experience (note: singular)?

In this regard, I think I have to agree with these two writers that Palin’s choice requires discussion, a genuine discussion on choices women make, with Palin and other women in the spotlight as examples. Otherwise, there is a danger of Palin’s choice becoming THE choice which likely would once again turn women who choose differently into outcasts.


Last edited by SH on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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Maggie AAR



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:24 am    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

SH wrote:
. And we have company. Increasingly men say they too want more flexibility at work. Gen X and Gen Y won't even talk about sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day.


At the risk of having tomatoes thrown at me, I would like to speak as an employer here. The last ten years of being in the hiring zone have frightened me regarding future generations. A LOT of young college and just graduated young people talk about having a LIFE and not being tied to a job like their moms and dads. Thing is, the person funding this life tends to be -- mom and dad. One girl who just turned 30 was quite stunned as mom and dad started pulling funding away and she began to realize that the life she wanted to have required MONEY.

I want to emphasize I know this is not everyone. I know there are still plenty of people with lots of ambition. I am just concerned at the growing number of people without it.

SH wrote:
Otherwise, there is a danger of Palin’s choice becoming THE choice which likely would once again turn women who choose differently into outcasts.


Uhm, I think the battle is still raging. Certainly as recently as a few years ago I can remember shows on the mommy wars (stay at home vs. working) still taking place. I don't think we can lay this at Palin's doorstep. She is the product of it, not the cause.

maggie b.
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SH



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

Sorry if I wasn't clear. Perhaps I should have quoted the section of the original article from which I derived my comments:

Quote:
Mrs. Palin is actually putting a spotlight on a new women's movement we call "Womenomics." Thanks to women's fast-growing market value we can finally live and work in a way that wins us time and avoids that agonizing choice of career or kids. Today as never before women can define success on their own terms.


I never meant that Palin is the cause of this on-going cultural war. (I was weary of her nomination, but I wasn't happy with some of the criticisms heaped on her, either.) What I meant is there is a need for genuine discussions on choices women make, but no one choice should be implied as THE choice. The gloom I perceive is that with Palin in the spotlight, we are going to be stuck in this cultural war for longer than necessary because of the polarized reactions. In addition, I do not perceive Palin as a person who is likely to encourage alternatives after listening to her speeches.

maggie b. wrote:
I want to emphasize I know this is not everyone. I know there are still plenty of people with lots of ambition. I am just concerned at the growing number of people without it.


I hear you, maggie b, but I think this issue of ambition is an example of "defining success on their own terms." I switched departments from one that requires working into 10pm for 4 months of the year to one that allows me to come in late one day per week so I could be a volunteer in my community. I did it being fully aware that I would not advance further in this company, but I am happier now than before. I think it's okay to be lack of ambition, but it's not okay to be irresponsible. The employees you described sound to me more irresponsible than lack of ambition.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:
SH wrote:
. And we have company. Increasingly men say they too want more flexibility at work. Gen X and Gen Y won't even talk about sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day.


At the risk of having tomatoes thrown at me, I would like to speak as an employer here. The last ten years of being in the hiring zone have frightened me regarding future generations. A LOT of young college and just graduated young people talk about having a LIFE and not being tied to a job like their moms and dads. Thing is, the person funding this life tends to be -- mom and dad. One girl who just turned 30 was quite stunned as mom and dad started pulling funding away and she began to realize that the life she wanted to have required MONEY.

I want to emphasize I know this is not everyone. I know there are still plenty of people with lots of ambition. I am just concerned at the growing number of people without it.

SH wrote:
Otherwise, there is a danger of Palin’s choice becoming THE choice which likely would once again turn women who choose differently into outcasts.


Uhm, I think the battle is still raging. Certainly as recently as a few years ago I can remember shows on the mommy wars (stay at home vs. working) still taking place. I don't think we can lay this at Palin's doorstep. She is the product of it, not the cause.

maggie b.




Sounds like a different version of The Mommy Wars, which was a hard fought battle. Looks like it's taking on another life. Used to be if women stayed home with their children when they were little, the women who worked full time resented them, and vice versa. At least women have more of a choice now. If Palin does get into the White House, perhaps her husband can be the one at home. Personally, I think it benefits the child.
As for young people without ambition, my daughter has worked since she was 15... s friend's mother offered her a job in her toy store, on the weekends and couple days after school. I didn't want her to do it, but she promised her grades and homework wouldn't suffer, and it didn't. She's now 20 and for the last 2 summers has been an intern in a corporate office here in MPLS. She works on her breaks from school too and has a job in an office on campus. She's got a lot of ambition, but that's not always the case with her age group. She likes to be busy, and that is probably what drove her initially.
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KayWebbHarrison



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I have a problem:

When John McCain had young children at home, when he was first running for the Senate, did anyone question whether or not HE would be able to function effectively as a father and as a Senator? Has any male candidate ever had to answer such a question?

It seems to me that once again SEXISM is rearing its ugly head. I strongly urge Democrats to keep emphasizing issues--the economy, national security, international diplomacy and recovery of our international reputation, energy independence, etc. AVOID personal criticism.

Kay
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bbmedos



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing particularly pertinent to say at this point, just a curiously coincidental link I ran across:

Feminists Flip Out Over Palin

I particularly like the last paragraph of the essay.
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SH



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

KayWebbHarrison wrote:

When John McCain had young children at home, when he was first running for the Senate, did anyone question whether or not HE would be able to function effectively as a father and as a Senator? Has any male candidate ever had to answer such a question?

I think this is also these two writers' point, that silence on such questions permits a sexist culture to continue. A healthy society should ask both its male and female citizens such questions. I've heard people wondering whether Obama does/did laundry at home. (I don't know the answer.)

xina wrote:
If Palin does get into the White House, perhaps her husband can be the one at home. Personally, I think it benefits the child.

That's the answer I've kept waiting to hear, but haven't. When the question of "Can she do all these?" was raised, I kept hoping to hear her defenders answer, "Yes, she can, but she doesn't need to, because she has a supporting spouse who would take care of the home front..." rather than "How dare you ask this question?" The former broadens the discussion and affirms gender equality and alternative family lives and the latter prolongs the same battle.
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bbmedos



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

SH wrote:
That's the answer I've kept waiting to hear, but haven't. When the question of "Can she do all these?" was raised, I kept hoping to hear her defenders answer, "Yes, she can, but she doesn't need to, because she has a supporting spouse who would take care of the home front..." rather than "How dare you ask this question?" The former broadens the discussion and affirms gender equality and alternative family lives and the latter prolongs the same battle.


'Kay, then, here you go. It's already been reported, repeatedly, by various news sources that her husband quit his North Shore job to be a stay-at-home dad at some point once she became Governor. I don't believe it was an issue while they were still in their home town. Since the fishing one was probably seasonal anyway, I'm not sure how that applies to things but I would think it would be a lot less significant to the situation in the first place.

Specifically, though, these questions definitely came up in an interview (documentary?) done in Alaska in the last year or so and replayed in part on FoxNews during their An American Woman feature on her over the weekend hosted by Greta Van Susteren. So it's common knowledge in Alaska that he's a stay-at-home dad.

Addendum: I guess what I'm saying is why should they have to expand upon something that's already accepted as normal for a male candidate? So what if he wasn't a stay at home dad? They couldn't get nannies? Huh?

Talk about a double standard.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

xina wrote:
If Palin does get into the White House, perhaps her husband can be the one at home. Personally, I think it benefits the child.

That's the answer I've kept waiting to hear, but haven't. When the question of "Can she do all these?" was raised, I kept hoping to hear her defenders answer, "Yes, she can, but she doesn't need to, because she has a supporting spouse who would take care of the home front..." rather than "How dare you ask this question?" The former broadens the discussion and affirms gender equality and alternative family lives and the latter prolongs the same battle.[/quote]


I think it's a valid question. I don't politically support her, but more out of curiosity, I am wondering what her plan is. I would think her husband will be the main caregiver or they will have a nanny. Personally, I had a part time nanny growing up and my brother stayed home with his little girls for 6 years while his wife worked. There is certainly nothing wrong with either of those choices. I just think the accusation of calling it a sexist remark is uncalled for. It's a question...nothing more.
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Gail K.



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting article! Thanks for posting it, SH

I have friends in their early 30's with young children who have managed to work out compromising schedules with employers. One lawyer friend works from home Tuesdays & Thursdays (but acknowleges that sometimes a gurgling baby in the background isn't always conducive to conference calls). Another physician friend is sharing a Kaiser-Permanente (one of the most flexible employers, apparently!) full-time position with another doc who is also a mom. Other friends have to pay out of the nose for day care, nannies, or are fortunate to have retired parents and in-laws helping out. I think this generation is more respectful of the myriad of ways a couple decides to balance work and family life. For the most part we don't judge. We may have to thank the horridness of the "Mommy Wars" we witnessed growing up, for that.

What is notable, however, is that most young parents I query have told me they don't intend to expand their family beyond two kids. They can't afford it.
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bbmedos



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:44 pm    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

xina wrote:
I think it's a valid question. I don't politically support her, but more out of curiosity, I am wondering what her plan is. I would think her husband will be the main caregiver or they will have a nanny. Personally, I had a part time nanny growing up and my brother stayed home with his little girls for 6 years while his wife worked. There is certainly nothing wrong with either of those choices. I just think the accusation of calling it a sexist remark is uncalled for. It's a question...nothing more.


But is it a question that's been asked of Biden?
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xina



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Re: “Womenomics” & the Palin Nomination Reply with quote

But is it a question that's been asked of Biden?[/quote]



I really don't know Bev, has it? Can't say.
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Sandlynn



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this was interesting:

Quote:
EMILY's List Poll: Palin Not Attracting Female Voters to GOP Ticket

Roll Call Staff
Sep 03, 2008 12:43 PM

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) continues to hold a double-digit lead among female voters over presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), even with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin now on the GOP ticket, a new survey by EMILY’s List found.

The poll found Obama leading McCain 52 percent to 41 percent among 800 female voters surveyed Monday and Tuesday. The survey was conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group and has a margin of error of 3.5 points.

EMILY’s List supports female candidates running for office and backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in the Democratic presidential primary.

“These survey findings confirm, the Democratic presidential ticket of Barack Obama and [Sen.] Joe Biden continues to benefit from the the strong support of women,” states a memorandum released with the poll numbers. It noted that in 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) only held a 3 percent lead among women voters.

The survey also refuted the argument by some Republicans that former backers of Clinton would support McCain with Palin on the ticket. According to the poll, 55 percent of Clinton voters say they are now less likely to vote for McCain with Palin added to the ticket, with only 9 percent saying they would be more likely to support the GOP ticket.

Moreover, the survey found 59 percent of female voters believe McCain picked Palin for political reasons rather than based on her experience and qualifications. Fifty percent of those same voters said they believed Obama had picked Biden based on his qualifications and experience.

— By Meagan Swartzer
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dick



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's still a legitimate question to ask about Palin or about anybody. Regardless whether it's sexist or just "things as they are," mothering and fathering are different. As a college professor, I had far more time to be available than my wife as a registrar. My son and daughter and I were unusually close as a result. Even so, in my experience, there are some things a father just can't provide that a mother can and does and vice versa. The bond formed in the womb supplies something that a father, however close, can never quite equal.

Just an aside, but I think, Joe Biden could respond to the question with considerable insight, if the information about his relationship to his family is accurate.
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KarenS



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sara Palin is a distraction. She's a fresh new face for most of us even though she's well known in Republican circles. She is a GOPAC candidate who is a right wing idealogue. If you want someone who believes creationism should be taught in the public schools but disbelieves in global warming, who opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs, opposes stem-cell research but approves "abstinence only" programs, by all means vote for the McCain-Palin ticket. They are doing their best to make their "princess" the focus instead of the issues since the Republicans have created the majority of the problems. They created the economy and have no plans to do anything about improving the economy. It's easy to focus on Sara and her many issues since there are so many to dwell on. Love the fact she tried to use taxpayers millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation. Who needs a decent public school system when it's better to have a dumbed down electorate?

McCain's speech was a rehash of "W's" 2000 acceptance speech so that tells you he has no plans for change. He is being told what to do by the cabal who put "W" in office. I do question his ability to be President. His impulsiveness concerns me. All his life he has had a reputation for being a hot-head who does things his way regardless of the consequences.

Maureen Reagan said there would be true equality for women when we elect incompetent women to office. Palin doesn't even know what the Vice President duties are so she should do just fine being a heart beat away from the Presidency. Her handlers will tell her what to do as they have done for Reagan and "W." So who needs a qualified person when the puppet master pulls the strings.
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