Local view: Palin can hold office, care for kids - just like Pelosi and Klobuchar
As a young girl, I truly believed the feminist movement was fighting for me. Its message was very simple: It doesn't matter if you're a girl or a boy, you have every right to pursue your dreams and make them come true, whether the dream is to be ...
As a young girl, I truly believed the feminist movement was fighting for me. Its message was very simple: It doesn't matter if you're a girl or a boy, you have every right to pursue your dreams and make them come true, whether the dream is to be a doctor, a lawyer or a chief executive of a corporation. Not only can we be good wives and mothers, we can also be successful career women. We can do it all, hear us roar!
Little did I know, way back then, that message excluded the White House. Or did it?
I took the message very seriously as I pursued my dream of being a public servant. I worked hard in college, pursued a career in Washington, D.C., as well as back here in the great state of Minnesota. Along the way, I married a wonderful, supportive man who also believed in that message. We both worked hard for our family, had five beautiful babies, and one day I took my dream a step further by running for office.
As with Sarah Palin, many questioned my ability to serve, basing their skepticism not on my resume, which included a wealth of pertinent experience for the job (just like Palin's), but on the role I play in my family. Quite often I was asked, "Who will care for your children?" Men are never asked this question when running for public office. Where is the feminist outrage over such questioning?
Why is it that certain women in public service are given a pass and some are not? Consider Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third in line for the presidency, who climbed the strenuous political ladder in California while she and her husband were raising five children. When their youngest was 7, she was elected Democratic Party chairwoman of northern California. Ten years later, she was elected to Congress. Or consider U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who we can proudly say broke the glass ceiling in Minnesota politics two years ago. She was first elected Hennepin County attorney when her daughter was 3. When her daughter turned 11, Klobuchar was elected senator. There was no question who was caring for these women's children as they pursued their careers in public office. Why are we questioning Palin?
There seems to be a double standard. The irony is that the very people questioning Palin's ability to be a mother and vice president are some of the same feminists who inspired me as a young woman to believe there was no limit to what I could achieve as a woman. Who would have thought Gloria Steinem would be so vehemently against the first woman to possibly serve in our executive branch of government?
Could it be that politics trumps equality in today's feminist movement? Could it be that today's feminists aren't feminists at all and that promoting a liberal political agenda has become more important than promoting gender equality?
Yes, many amazing women are cracking that glass ceiling, but it seems that only a certain type of woman is allowed to hold the hammer and chip away at it in the public arena.
Palin should be a celebrated hero of the women's movement. She is an intelligent, articulate, fiercely independent woman with enough guts to take on the establishment as governor of Alaska. She represents everything I was led to believe: that women deserve equal rights, equal opportunities, and both a career and a family if they so choose.
When Palin says she's just a hockey mom trying to do the right thing for her family and her community, I believe her. And I can relate.
Palin and I are remarkably similar. We are the same age. We both have five children, our oldest and youngest boys with three girls in the middle. We are both hockey moms. We share the same values, optimism about the future, and the belief that if we are honest, hard-working women, we can make a difference in our communities.
This is what makes our country rich in character and strength: Our founding fathers purposely created a representative government "for the people and by the people." And that includes women, many of whom are both mothers and careerists.
In the spirit of the women's movement, I will continue to tell my three daughters that, with hard work and determination, women can be anything they dream to be, whether they are black or white, red or blue. And that includes president of the United States of America.
BECKY HALL of Duluth is the mother of five and a former candidate for City Council and Minnesota Legislature.