Saturday, January 05, 2008

Behind Every Woman...

is her husband's name. Although I don't agree with parts of this NY Times Op-Ed, it's still depressing.

Nepotism isn't always a bad thing. I know from personal experience. But yikes.
Kerry Howley writes:

Like it or not, the road to female advancement often begins at the altar. History books are thick with examples of women who broke political barriers because their family connections afforded them the opportunity.
If you’ve ever wondered why India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Philippines seem readier to elect women than does the United States, here’s your answer: Societies that value a candidate’s family affiliation, and therefore have a history of nepotistic succession, are often open to female leadership so long as it bears the right brand. Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, among many others, slashed through gender barriers on the strength of their family names.As Jo Freeman, the feminist political scientist, has pointed out, six of the first 14 women elected to Congress were widows of incumbents. Three more were the daughters of politicians...

The first three women to serve full Senate terms all succeeded their husbands. Only with the 1978 election of Nancy Kassebaum, a Kansas Republican, did a woman finally achieve a full Senate term without first following her husband into office. (And Ms. Kassebaum was the daughter of Alf Landon, the former Kansas governor.)

To some voters, Hillary Clinton’s husband provides reassurance that the “calculating” senator from New York won’t degenerate into a feminine hysteric if she is elected to the White House. Yet Mrs. Clinton, the first woman who is a serious contender for the presidential nomination of one of the nation’s two major political parties, still has to work overtime to prove herself non-threatening. She clings to the political center like a life raft and rarely ventures from the shallow waters of establishment predictability.

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