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 »
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not yet said one way or the other whether she intends to run again for president in 2016. But that hasn’t stopped the chattering classes from dissecting every single item related to a “Hillary ’16″ run ad nauseum. The latest iteration is the TIME magazine cover this week: a coverline reading “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” over a photo-illustration of a huge, high-heeled woman in a pantsuit stepping past a miniature man who jumps out of the way.
See the full image after the jump: Keep reading »
What a load of chickenshit. Conservative French politician Philippe Le Ray has been fined $1,700 for making chicken noises at a female colleague while she spoke before the National Assembly on Tuesday. Oh, yes, he did this in front of everyone. Green Party MP Veronique Massonneau, an ecologist deputy, was speaking before the government about pension reform when Le Ray began loudly clucking. (In France, the word for “chicken” is used as a slur against women.) Massonneau stopped speaking and addressed him: “That’s enough! I’m not a chicken.” The leader of the National Assembly then temporarily suspended the parliamentary session and publicly chastised Le Ray when they returned. I guess it’s sort of a relief that politicians are juvenile sexist douchebags the world over? [Guardian UK, Belfast Telegraph UK] [Image of a chicken via Shutterstock]
Nina Siahkali Moradi won an alternate seat in Qazvin, Iran city council elections fair and square. But male colleagues agree she’s “too attractive” to join them and have disqualified her from her clear winnings.
Moradi placed 14th out of 163 candidates in the elections, with almost 10,000 people voting for her. But the 27-year-old has been disqualified because members of the council think she has nothing more to offer than her youth and beauty and according to one senior official in Qazvin, they “don’t want a catwalk model on the council.” Keep reading »
“They’re young, they’re feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal, and they are just very very connected to the local area.”
– This is MP Tony Abbott, leader of Australia’s Liberal Party, when asked about two female politicians, Fiona Scott and Jackie Kelly. The best he could come up with to describe these professional women were their more … comely … attributes. Just what we all want in our politicians, right? Feisty with a bit of sex appeal! What a ringing endorsement. A reporter for the UK’s Telegraph noticed that even Abbott’s own daughter “appeared to wince.” [Telegraph UK, Guardian UK]
The GOP is worried about the lack of Republican women in Congress. This issue became a priority when the Republicans realized that they needed a friendly female face to put on their late-term abortion bans and ladies-can’t-be-trusted-with-their-own-bodies legislation. It doesn’t exactly look great when you can only find dudes that will vouch for the pro-life agenda. Thus, as the National Journal reported, Project GROW (Growing Republican Opportunities for Women) was born. Keep reading »