On July 17, 2013 England and Wales legalized same-sex marriage. This news has important political implications, especially as the international debate about LGBT rights heats up. On December 3, 2012, Dutchess Kate Middleton announced her pregnancy, and on July 22, 2013, she gave birth. While the baby will be an icon of British culture, he will have no direct political power.
In the immediate aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death, The Talk was a buzzphrase in many mouths. The Talk – the cautions, warnings, do’s and don’ts many parents of African American boys give them as they stretch forward out of childhood into manhood. The Talk is part of the being-a-good-mom checklist, if you’re the mother of an African American boy. It is being responsible, proactive, aware.
Sexism is not a one-party issue. Expectations to fulfill gender role requirements do not only negatively affect women, but men as well. The cards we give to fathers and mothers on their respective holidays exemplify how we view their roles as a society—views that may act as a barrier to men and women’s familial and workplace fulfillment. For example, we tell fathers on Father’s Day that they are providers and protectors whose wisdom, toughness, and strength maintain their families. They are bearers of respect and integrity.
At a time when twelve states have legalized same-sex marriage, it appears that LGBTQ rights are moving in a positive direction, even politically. Republican politicians are becoming more vocal in their support of same-sex unions, despite the costs to their careers. Top WNBA pick Brittany Griner was joined in her out-and-proud status by NBA center Jason Collins.
Since 1960, when women only accounted for 39 percent of the undergraduate population, women’s relative numbers in college have steadily increased. According to Goldin et al. (2006), women are the majority of U.S. college students overall and they receive the bulk of bachelor’s degrees. This trend isn’t limited to the U.S. – in fact, it’s prevalent in most rich countries.
When you hear the phrase “work-life balance,” the image that comes to mind for many is women juggling baby bottles and Blackberries. However, the speakers at the Emerging Leaders Network’s Making Life Work for You panel on April 30 challenged the audience to see how the concept of work-life balance applies to all professionals: men and women, entry level and senior leadership.
Is it possible to think of your mother without also conjuring up notions of the Great Mother, that archetype so deeply embedded within our cultures and psyches? Richard Stromer doesn’t think so, as he says in his paper, The Good and the Terrible, Exploring the Two faces of the Great Mother: “In exploring the idea of ‘mother,’ it is useful to recognize the existence of both a personal and biographical dimension and a collective and mythic one.” That mythic mother appears all around us, especially in the stories we consume from an early age.
This Sunday, bouquets of roses, Hallmark cards, and restaurant reservations will be deployed by citizenry anxious to promote and valorize an ideal Mother. But what if you are a “mother” operating outside of the normative, mainstream designation? Is there a prize for you, too?
We could ask the thousands of grandmothers doing double duty as mothers while their daughters (or sons) serve time in prison. Jessica Dixon Weaver, a lawyer and legal scholar at Southern Methodist University, has spent considerable time exploring this version of mother, particularly in African American communities shaped by mass incarceration over the last 30 years.
Quality early care and education are truly a gifts that will keep on giving, not only to mothers, but to all of us. We’re not saying that it’s only important to mothers; fathers need and want this too. However, there has been much research on its impact on mothers, especially single mothers. According to the Center for American Progress, “...although mothers are now the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American households with children, women spend more than twice as much time as men providing primary care to children.