“It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”
Well, we already knew Russian President Vladmir Putin‘s feelings on uppity women, so is it really a surprise that he made sexist comments about Hillary Clinton — and all women, really — and her leadership qualities in an interview posted on the Kremlin’s website? No, no we are not. Goodness gracious, Clinton hasn’t even announced a 2016 presidential run yet and already this horridness is starting. [Huffington Post]
“I think [encouragement to become the first female president] reflects a desire on the part of a lot of Americans, not just women, that we have unfinished business. I’m certainly in the camp that says we need to break down that highest, hardest glass ceiling in American politics. To have a woman President is something I would love to see happen, but I’ll just have to make my own decision about what I think is right for me.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on the cover of People magazine this week, which methinks is proof enough that she may have made her own decision already. (Also? Her forthcoming memoir is called Hard Choices, which seems like a deliberately tough-sounding title to me.) But of course, then People had to go and ask her about the hard-nosed, pressing matter of her hair: Keep reading »
Your career plans might not include New York Senator or Secretary Of State. Even so, surely you can’t deny that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows a thing or two about successful careers. Speaking this week at New York University about her new Clinton Foundation project, “No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project,” Ms. Clinton dished out career advice worth listening to. “One of the best pieces of advice that I ever heard from anyone was Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1920s who said that women in politics or in public roles should grow skin like a rhinoceros. I think there’s some truth to that,” she said. “It’s important to learn how to take criticism seriously, but not personally. And to do that, you have to be willing to hear what others, who are your critics, are saying and to evaluate where they’re coming from.” It’s sexist and annoying that women need to be this way more than men (and mothers in politics and public life especially), but I don’t doubt that Clinton, who has an admirable rhinoceros hide herself, is correct. [CBS News]
“If you are 35 and don’t have a husband, there is something wrong. … We will start demanding that you are married before you are elected. … You young ladies: look for husbands and get married. You are the ones causing problems. … Someone who is able to manage a home is equally able to run the affairs of the people. But if you cannot manage a home … can you manage public affairs?”
This is William Kabogo, the governor of Kiambu County in Kenya, who has since apologized for criticizing unmarried women who dare to run for office. He was throwing shade at an MP named Alice Ng’ang’a, who is unmarried and also happens to oppose Kabogo’s ideas on taxes. Obviously she has silly ideas about taxes because she is a woman who is single, duh. I hope this guy shuts up so he doesn’t give American politicians any worse ideas. [BBC]
Realistic marriages have little real estate on television, and feminist marriages even less. “Mad Men” and “The Sopranos” were studies of estrangement; “Breaking Bad” of spousal abuse. On “Friends,” marriage meant banishment forever on to the suburbs.
Imagine my excitement, then, on chipping my way into the first DVD set of “Borgen” — the so-called ‘Danish West Wing’ — and finding a perfectly preserved companion marriage. The show centers on Denmark’s first female prime minister, the charismatic Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, flanked on one side by her supportive husband Philip (Mikael Birkkjær) and children, and on the other by a fickle coalition government. Keep reading »
When a woman attempts to find some semblance of “having it all,” she automatically becomes demonized. We can’t seem to rise up in the ranks — whether it’s in the corporate world or in politics — without our personal lives, particularly our mothering skills, being called into question.
The latest female politician in the hot seat is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who is running for governor on the Democratic ticket. She has recently been skewered (again) for having been both a young mother and a single mother. The focus circumventing her actual politics (like her support for women’s reproductive rights) and instead revolve around how she is as a mother. A reporter for Fusion even asked Davis to respond to a blog post by Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol Palin — seriously, her — that called Davis a woman “whose ambition and ego were so big she couldn’t have both a career and kids at the same time.” Both Jessica Luther and Carolyn Edgar wrote insightful pieces this week explaining why these allegations are egregious, erroneous, and just plain clueless.
I could spend hours picking apart what is wrong about these attacks. Instead, I’d like to note that we hardly ever see male politicians skewered for their parenting. We look past that aspect of their personal lives — for the most part, barring a mistress or financial scandal — and focus on their politics. A male politician who is also a father gets to be, first and foremost, a male politician. But a female politician who is also a mother? It’s completely different. Keep reading »