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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?

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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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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Thank goodness for Hillary

Categories: Uncategorized, politics

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Last night I attended a lecture put on by the Jewish United Fund of Chicago that focused primarily on next week’s important presidential election. After giving a brief overview of both McCain and Obama’s political stances, the speaker turned her attention to Hillary Clinton, who she said, paved the way for one of the most exciting election seasons in recent memory.

I second that motion.

The speaker, Julia Strauss of Northwestern, pointed out two key components of Hillary’s run for president that changed the campaign, and perhaps politics for years to come.

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She wore what? Campaign style

Categories: career, celebrities, media, moms in the news, politics

5 Comments

nullFact: My high school fashion sense made Ugly Betty look good.

Yes, that’s me circa 9th-10th grade. I was mugging with my BFF, thus the open mouth. I feel that it took me until my 30s to really find a comfortable style for myself. It’s a bit preppy, a bit vintage, and a bit whatever suits my fancy. Despite being such a fashion dork I’m enthralled by the fashion throw down that is occurring on the campaign trail. First we had Michelle Obama cause an uproar when she appeared on “The View” in a White/Black dress. I along with the rest of America went to their website and despite the fact that I had been in one of their stores just months earlier, I fell in love with their style. Recently she was spotted on the campaign trail in an H&M dress. For a woman who was tagged as the next Jackie Kennedy, she certainly is thrifty!

Next fashion uproar was about Cindy McCain’s dress at the convention. For a party that kept claiming to be fighting for the middle class, that price tag for one night’s outfit was quickly picked up by the liberal end of the political spectrum.

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Are motherhood politics the right decision?

Categories: feminism, politics

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Stanton and childSarah Palin did not invent motherhood politics. She stands on the shoulders of many women before her in this regard. In fact I’m writing the entry for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Motherhood on suffrage and motherhood as I find much of inspiration for my feminist motherhood from Elizabeth Cady Stanton (pictured here_, whom I named my daughter after. So while we have Stanton, Rodham Clinton, Pelosi, and countless other moms who have entered the rough & tumble world of politics, is it proper for moms to use motherhood as their primary focus of their politics?

MomsRising is only one of the latest movements to use motherhood as a reason for women to get involved in politics.

Our members are bringing important motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country’s awareness. We are working to create both cultural and legislative change. It is time to break the logjam that has been holding back family-friendly legislation for decades and to advance workplace policies that will support families.

Bottom line? Moms need to be active in politics because of our families. I often fall back on this logic when talking to moms who claim not to be political. Anyone who has children of school age is political. We have to evaluate our local school, decide if that’s what we want, and if we have the ability, chose to go in another direction. I’ve rarely met moms who say they didn’t even look at the public school before deciding on private or home-schooling. They chose not to put their kids in public school because of the system and frankly, that’s one of the most radical and political actions I can even imagine.

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Are we all living at the corner of Wall & Main streets?

Categories: politics

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Despite my best intentions, I still don’t understand most of the things that make our economy run or stammer. When I finally took an economics course in graduate school I made my lecturer crazy because I kept questioning the reality that are economic models – which aren’t based in reality, but theory. Theory says that when demand goes up, supply goes down and price should go up. Oil usually follows this, but organic foods don’t really follow.

The past few months and especially this past week has been almost impossible to follow for the average person. Banks are failing, someone who spent only 17 days on a job gets $11M in severance, and thousands of families lose their homes each day. The US Congress is on the verge of passing a GINORMOUS bailout package for Wall Street. The talking heads from Wall Street keep saying that we, the regular person, must go along or we’ll end up in a depression.

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On NOW PAC’s endorsement of Obama/Biden

Categories: feminism, politics

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Last week the National Organization for Women PAC along with other feminist organizations announced that they were endorsing Obama for President. Normally feminist endorsements don’t make many waves as the media ignores feminism. When NOW PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton in spring 2007 you had to know to look for the story. Believe me, I wanted to blog it and link to a media piece. But this endorsement got some media attention and not for the right reasons.

Oddly anti-feminists and feminists saw this as an anti-Palin statement rather than a pro-Obama statement.

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Will Palin bashing keep women out of politics?

Categories: mommy wars, moms in the news, politics

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Palin familyI received a review copy of “National Security Mom” by Gina M. Bennett and part of her thesis is that women and especially moms should be participating in politics. As a terrorism analyst and a mom, she parallels many issues from international affairs with what we deal with everyday as mothers. While I will fully review this book on my personal blog later this week, I was struck by her premise that our lives as mothers should be enough for us run for elected office.

Contrast Bennett’s message with the pounding that Sarah Palin has been taking since McCain announced her as his running mate. On one hand she’s presenting herself as just a hockey mom who happened into politics, on the other she keeps mentioning that she has executive experience. Then Charlie Gibson did many of us hoped he would do, pressed her on issues including her views of international affairs. Obama backers jumped on her inability to state what the Bush doctrine is while McCain backers including George Will on ABC’s This Week said that they didn’t get the memo about what the doctrine is exactly. Palin’s status as a mom plays as both her strength and a weakness.

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Why Sarah Palin is good for feminism

Categories: feminism, moms in the news, politics

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It was the tweet heard around the world. Sarah Palin is John McCain’s pick for his running mate. Ah, sweet irony.

Palin is now the second woman to ever be chosen for the vice-presidential position on a major party ticket. This is a major milestone for women in this country. It was a generation ago, 1984, that Geraldine Ferraro was the running mate for Walter Mondale. The college students I work with on a daily basis weren’t even born then. Think about that.

That said, I think that Palin may be the best thing for feminism since Alice Paul went on a hunger strike. Stay with me…

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