A Different Kind of Battle

Monday, March 22, 2010

40 years ago, 46 women filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Newsweek Magazine. At that time, 25% of the staff journalists were female. This year, 39% of the staff is female. And yet, the author of 46 headlines published by the magazine last year were by men. An article published in Newsweek last Friday addressed this issue and the battle that women still face in regards to our place in the work force and the control we have over our careers.

The women who wrote the 1970 article brought up several very valid points that even in my career I have been witness too. Women in positions of power have had to fight hard against the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one that was there 40 years ago. This leaves them perceived as unkind, overly ambitious, and other sometimes not-so-nice stereotypes. Does this come from an unrealistic expectation that's placed on young girls during their youth? You can have it all: the house, the husband, the 2.5 kids, the SUV, and the career, if your willing to work hard for it.

But in reality, you can't have it all. And, in my personal life, I've experienced the opposite of the battle described in Newsweek. After the birth of my second child, I chose to downgrade my position at work to be able to be home more. This led me to experience opposite judgments than those who are trying to climb the ladder of success. I've been perceived as lazy, just a home-maker, unambitious; one co-worker even went as far as to tell me that in making that choice, I'm fighting against all that the women of the past had fought for. Didn't I appreciate the fact that I can be out of the house and have a career, instead of being just a mom?

Of course I appreciate that. I'm all for people advancing themselves; if you have a dream, go for it. But, the different battle I've faced is that my dream is to be a mom, and that's it. I don't have a desire for a title other than mommy. Does that make me unappreciative of the battle that has been fought by my female predecessors for the right to work? Of course not. But, in reality, shouldn't equal rights mean that I can choose to work or choose to be home?

It's a very good read and rather eye opening, but it leaves me wishing that when discussing sexism in society, that people wouldn't forget the other side of the battle: there are those of us who want nothing more than to be homemakers, and that should be acceptable as well as those who want to be CEO's.


Julia Robinson March 23, 2010 at 11:21 AM  

I enjoyed this blog post very much. The statistics in the first paragraph were very interesting to me and caught my attention. Also, I found it appealing to know that there is a battle going on with these issues right now.

My favorite part of the blog post was the personal voice, though. The facts were nice, but it was interesting to hear this woman's opinion based on her life and personal experiences.

Grant Rodgers March 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

I completely agree with your argument that too often when discussing issues like this, people tend to forget the opposite side. One thing I found interesting however, is the way in which you were treated when you took time off at the birth of your child. Society, America in paticular, needs to adjust its views on this issue to be more understanding of the issue.

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