The AP reports on the "Mommy Wars," the confluence in less than a month of a campaign-trail scuffle involving Mitt Romney's wife, Ann; Elisabeth Badinter's new book; and most of all a provocative magazine cover — conveniently tied to Mother's Day — all of which has led to a burst of online chatter and a renewal of those "Mommy Wars" headlines.
But it has also led to reflection, and calls for a cease-fire in those same wars, as well as a jettisoning of the phrase itself. Aren't we finally ready, some are asking, to give it a rest, and acknowledge what many already feel — that there are lots of ways to be a good mother?
"It's time to end the Mommy Wars," wrote Jen Singer recently on her blog, Mommasaid.net. "How about we all stop arguing over which mom works harder and whether or not Ann Romney worked at all and who bakes a better cookie, Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush?"
"So who's with me?" wrote another prominent "mommy blogger," Katie Allison Granju. "Who will join my proposed campaign of non-violent resistance against the mommy wars?"
The term "Mommy Wars" has been around for at least two decades — it appeared in a 1990 Newsweek piece on the struggle between working and stay-at-home mothers. But the term seems to have expanded to encompass any divisive parenting issue, and it's recycled every time a new motherhood controversy arises.
In this article, we examine a heretofore neglected pocket of resistance to the gender revolution in the workplace: married male employees who have stay-at-home wives. We develop and empirically test the theoretical argument suggesting that such organizational members, compared to male employees in modern marriages, are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are harmful to women in the workplace. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted four studies with a total of 718 married, male participants. We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.
Despite increased interest, the topic of work-life effectiveness in Asia has remained relatively under-explored in the research literature, especially in terms of how to best implement work-life practices in different cultural contexts and within specific local economies.
Expanding Work-Life Perspectives: Talent Management in Asia contributes to our knowledge of how organizations can best implement work-life programs in the region by focusing on the experiences of 1,834 high-potential employees working in Asia for U.S.- or European-based multinational organizations.
Everybody, it seems, is talking about women in this campaign — what they should do, how they should act, who they should be in society. But do women see themselves reflected in the dialogue — or is the mirror of political rhetoric distorting their concerns? How, exactly, is all this talk about women playing among women?
You could hear these issues play out on a recent day in this key presidential swing state — first, at the equal pay protest, but later at a hotel near Broncos stadium, where five conservative women led a panel discussion to strategize about reframing the rhetoric and working to woo more women voters to their camp this year. There was passion, but there was also irritation. Some women said talk about contraception was a distracting sideshow; others said the preoccupation of some politicians with abortion showed they were out of touch.
"They really must not know what exactly is going on," said a university student with friends who've had both babies and abortions. "They" are the male politicians who still outnumber women at all levels of elective office, but also the two men running for president who keep trying to one-up each other in reaching out to this vital, but hardly monolithic, voting bloc.
The upshot: Whether seen as real or manufactured, something about the so-called "war" is resonating among American women who could well make the difference on Election Day. Many are acting out and speaking up. Many are, in fact, girding for battle, in one way or another.
It goes to show that no matter how high up in business or politics a woman gets — or how hard she falls — in the end the focus is often about how she looks and not what she does.
“We’re still held to a double standard,” said Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who produced the 2011 documentary “Miss Representation” about the underrepresentation of women in powerful positions.
“It’s tragic,” she said. “We have an obsession with women’s looks. Unfortunately our culture has bought into this whole double standard that a women’s value is her beauty not her capacity to lead.”
Women certainly feel the pressure to look good. Nearly half of women don’t feel good about themselves unless they’re wearing makeup, according to a study released this year by the Renfrew Center Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on eating disorder research and treatment.
The Huffington Post reports on a study, published in the journal Revista de Psicologia Social, that examined the way that feelings of jealousy (defined as "a threat or loss of success in a relationship due to interference from a rival") and envy (defined as "a response to another person who has success, skills or qualities that [you] desire") impact workplace dynamics.
The study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Revista de Psicologia Social, examined the way that feelings of jealousy (defined as "a threat or loss of success in a relationship due to interference from a rival") and envy (defined as "a response to another person who has success, skills or qualities that [you] desire") impact workplace dynamics. The researchers were especially interested in the way that these feelings impact "intrasexual competition"-- competition between people of the same gender spurred on by the desire to get and keep "access" to the opposite sex.
What they found after studying men and women in the Netherlands, Spain and Argentina was that women's feelings of jealousy and envy can be predicted by intrasexual competition, whereas men's can't. "Women with a high level of intrasexual competition are more jealous if the rival is more attractive, and more envious if the rival is more powerful and dominating," Rosario Zurriaga, one of the study's authors, told the Spanish Foundation for Research and Technology. However, when it came to social skills, both men and women showed signs of jealousy and envy toward individuals who seemed to have an easier time socially at the office.
At an event hosted by the 2012 Project inNew York last night, a nonpartisan campaign to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures, Director Debbie Walsh was hopeful. This could be “a real year of opportunity much like 1992,” the original Year of the Woman, she said.
What makes her so optimistic? Due to retirements and redistricting, women are running for a bunch of open seats. In fact, 16 women are vying for just such opportunities in the Senate and 71 women are doing so in the House, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. On top of that, Walsh pointed out, “We’re on track to set records for the number of women filing to run for the U.S. House and Senate.” A total 25 women have filed in the Senate with 14 likely women candidates poised to follow suit, and 225 have filed for the House with a potential extra 70 likely candidates set to do the same. Compare that to 36 women who filed in the Senate and 262 who filed in the House in 2010.
This isn’t just important for ensuring that our Congress – which has never been more than 18 percent women – better reflects the country’s population. It’s also important for getting women to turn out for the election in the first place. At the same event, Celinda Lake, president of polling firm Lake Research Partners, pointed out that while the “War on Women” episode may have gotten women’s attention, “to keep women in the Democratic camp they’ll have to work just as hard to target women voters.” The best way to do it? “Run women candidates.”
The ranks of female chief executives remain thin, with women in the top spot at just 35 Fortune 1000 companies. But the pipeline is promising, says Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications Corp., adding that she has noticed a number of "women in waiting" at Xerox Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co., where she is a board member.
She adds that she wouldn't be surprised if the number of major-company female CEOs doubled by 2017. At her own employer, a diversified telecom firm, half of Ms. Wilderotter's six direct reports are women.
"If you want a CEO role, you have to prepare for it with a vengeance," says Denise Morrison, chief of Campbell Soup Co. CPB and Ms. Wilderotter's sister.
Heather McTeer lost her long-shot bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson in Mississippi's March primary. But she hopes her attempt encourages other women in the South to run for office — whether for a seat on the school board or in Congress.
"Women need to see other women running," said McTeer, former mayor of Greenville, Miss. "Regardless of what it looks like, we have a voice, and a voice that absolutely must be heard."
McTeer is helping to recruit women to run for elective office in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee for a group called She Should Run, which says its mission is to dramatically increase the number of women serving in public leadership.
It's just one of the groups, both national and local, that have stepped up efforts to recruit more women in the South to become political candidates. The region the Census Bureau identifies as the South is represented by 22 women in Congress.
There was a demonstration outside of Facebook’s New York office on Wednesday, organized by the women’s rights group UltraViolet, to protest the social media giant’s decision to appoint an all-white, all-male board ahead of its IPO. The group attempted to deliver a petition, signed by over 53,000 people, demanding that women be added to the board.
“Facebook is going to launch one of the largest IPO’s in history this summer, a success built largely on the participation of women – 58% of their users are women and the vast majority of sharing on the site is done by women – and yet zero people on the board are women.” said UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas.
Protesters argued that the decision to appoint an all-male board, was bad for the company and for users. Marie Wilson of the White House Project, an non-profit working to advance women in business, stressed the positive effects of women on boards, “We know the difference women make on boards in terms of long-term thinking that’s needed for the future and the value they bring in terms of what they want when they get on boards.” With the involvement of women, the board would better understand and serve its mostly female users, she argued.