Archive for November, 2008

Moms On Issues

with Sara and Veronica

We're two moms with different backgrounds, jobs and points of view, writing about our opinions on the political and social issues affecting working moms. We'll also keep our eye on the media and the celebrity mom world to highlight issues that are relevant to your life.

Check out our personal blogs: Veronica's Blog and Sara's Blog

If the position doesn’t pay, does it command respect?

Categories: career, feminism, moms in the news, politics

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No, this isn’t another “don’t blog for free” treatise, but close. One of the electoral victories for women is that the New Hampshire Senate now has a women majority.

New Hampshire’s state Senate will carve history for the Granite State in January when the legislative body convenes with women in 13 of the 24 seats forming the country’s first female majority.

Women will also factor in key positions of leadership: the Senate is presided over by its president, Sylvia Larson, and president pro-tem, Maggie Hassan, while Martha Fuller Clark continues her role as majority whip.

This is certainly significant as New Hampshire would be the experiment we have been waiting for to see if you do put women in charge if things would end up any differently, specifically in a better place. But one thing has put this experiment in some doubt – pay.

States such as New Hampshire and New Mexico, whose elected officials receive no compensation, tend to have a higher percentage of female representatives, says Ziegler, because the sessions are less time-consuming and the expectations and compensation are such that the people who serve think of themselves as public servants rather than professional politicians.

Ziegler goes on to parallel the New Hampshire and New Mexico legislatures to PTAs because of the no pay and smaller time commitments.

The PTA? Is that a correct parallel? My daughter is in kindergarten and I haven’t been snagged by one of the many committees at her school and based on a very unpopular question I asked at a parent meeting, I doubt I will be. But I don’t see the PTA as something that is not time consuming. Yes, less time consuming than being State Senator, but still pretty darn tough when you’re working and raising a family.

But back to this no pay thing…Would you be an elected official if there wasn’t any pay associated? The debate in freelance circles are “exposure” writers versus “pay-only” writers and then a huge group of writers in the middle. Are there gigs that might “pay for itself” in exposure? Yeah, I think so. Can being a State Senator of New Hampshire pay for itself in exposure? Incoming U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen [video link] is evidence that it can.

The debate occurring on blogs and listservs is whether or not the fact that women are the majority of New Hampshire’s Senate is a direct result of the non-pay AND if this means that being a state senator is less respected than in other states. Of course in my woman-head, I think that it shows more character to be a state senator for no money than to see people wrestle over a seat that pays a lot of money – Not knowing if they are in it for the service or for the pay. Maybe New Hampshire has cultivated a culture that commands respect for service, especially volunteer service.

Loyal readers…Would you run for an office for no pay? Anyone from New Hampshire who can shed a light on this amazing piece of history?

Michelle Obama and the working mom struggle

Categories: career, feminism, mommy wars, moms in the news

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When I was a kid my parents worked weekends. My dad at his second job and my mom worked nights in a hospital. They worked their schedules out so that every other weekend my two younger sisters and I spent the weekend with my grandma. This allowed my grandmother to have a lot of influence on me. She tried to convince my younger sister and I that our beloved cousins in San Antonio never fought; unlike us who held championship matches almost every day. But the one lesson that stuck with me, even if I didn’t live it, was this – Boys can wait, education first, get a job, and then find a boyfriend.

Michelle Obama certainly lead her life with this mantra, that is until she met Barack. “Michelle was full of plans that day, on the fast track, with no time, she told me, for distractions — especially men.” He has freely admitted that Michelle is the one who put her career on a mommy-track (not that her career looks anything like the typical mommy-track, mind you, just next to Barack’s career) for the kids sake, for his career sake. And now she is to be the next First Lady.

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Dads contemplate their jobs’ affect on family too

Categories: career

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I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised when I hear fathers in important positions discuss openly their fears about work interfering with their family. We are so used to mothers bearing the brunt of the work-life balance decision, that we often forget that fathers share that burden as well. Two prominent fathers in the media this week publicly discussed their jobs’ potential affect on their families.

Before Rahm Emanuel accepted the position as president-elect Obama’s Chief of Staff, he seemed conflicted about whether or not to take on this demanding job.

He said, “I have a lot to weigh: the basis of public service, which I’ve given my life to, a career choice. And most importantly, what I want to do as a parent.” And added, “this is not a professional choice. This is a personal choice about what my wife and I want to do for our family, as much as what to do with my career.”

The media often publicizes mothers making those types of statements or being at the focus of such conversations. But in reality, these decisions weigh just as heavily on today’s fathers.


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How did women fare in Election 2008?

Categories: feminism, politics

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It’s been a week since voters spoke and rightfully so the media has been focused on what President-elect Obama will do, but how did women fare? Don’t worry, I’ll get to Sarah Palin at the end of the stats…

First of all, Obama won the Presidency with 56% of the women’s vote, including 70% of unmarried women. Ruth Rosen has more on the effect of the women’s vote.

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And now the hard work begins…

Categories: Uncategorized

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women at workIn 2004 or 2005 I was sitting in my optometrist’s waiting room with my, now 5-year-old, daughter. I want to say it was 2005 because I was trying to use a Newsweek to distract her. I picked up the issue and pointed to the man on the cover, “He’s going to be our next President.” She smiled and went on flipping through the magazine. Yes, that man was Barack Obama. Last night she stayed up until just past 10 pm Chicago time to witness history. She went with one of my best friends, her aunt by love, not blood, to vote after school. She was so happy!

I’m still on a high from this and I think all Obama supporters will be for quite some time. Yet what Obama is doing and what we need to be doing is planning for the future. But first, let’s see how the rest of the ballot shook out:

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VOTE

Categories: feminism, politics

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VOTE No punditry here today mamas. Just a simple message to remind you to vote on Tuesday. I am overwhelmed by the images of people standing in lines hours long to early vote as well as the forecast that people may have to do the same on Tuesday. This is democracy in action. I think we’ve all seen the photos and video clips from elections in other countries, where people walk from their villages miles away just to vote. Now we have similar lines.

I am hopeful that we will have record numbers of voters this year, record young people, Latinos, African-Americans, heck, everyone. I’m still trying to figure out my election night plans. But I know we’ll be watching the returns with our daughter.

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