No Kids? Fine. Then She Can Do the Job.

This Ed Rendell foot-in-mouth moment is everywhere in the blogosphere. I caught it first at GeekyMom and Christine C. at Our Bodies Ourselves.

Embedded video from CNN Video

8 thoughts on “No Kids? Fine. Then She Can Do the Job.

  1. I actually think it’s great progress that we have a woman in an anchor’s chair who can broadcast this kind of critique. It’s much like when Katie Couric called everybody out on their treatment of Senator Clinton, an event that I believe turned the tide in terms of media portrayal of her.
    As much as we’re battling these stereotypes, I believe this journalist’s response is progress.


  2. Sorry. I don’t see the “foot in mouth” aspect. I don’t see that it’s sexist, because I think a man with a family would not be able to devote enormous amounts of time to a job, “19-20 hours.”
    High levels of responsibility call for really long hours at work. I know families headed by very successful professionals. Much of the time, the children don’t see the executive parent(s). Thanks to modern technology, work can reach you around the clock, and send you out of the country at a moment’s notice.
    Having children is a sacrifice. One thing you sacrifice is the ability to focus exclusively on your work. This isn’t a female/male thing. This is a parent/non-parent thing.


  3. At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen
    notes differences between men and women in study-abroad participation, and has the following block quote:
    “The three main factors I found were motherhood, age and safety,” said McKinney, associate director of the Center for Global Education at Butler University. “Essentially, my informants shared with me that they really hope someday to be mothers and they can’t imagine being able to travel abroad and also be a mom. So if they’re going to have an overseas experience, they’re going to do it before they become mothers,” she said, adding that her informants “really felt plagued by the age of 30. They have a very long to-do list.”
    That’s an extraordinary line ‘plagued by the age of 30’. I’m going to mull it for a while, I think it encapsulates a lot of this discussion.


  4. Dave, OMG, that’s so interesting. I finished my diss when I was 30. I had been treading water for a while and was in a job in academic administration (where I didn’t really need it), but on my 30th birthday, I said I had to finish this or give it up. Luckily, my workplace was flexible and I was able to take off 2 months (one paid, one unpaid) and I did it. Was that related to having kids? I don’t know. I also had to deal with my husband’s reluctance; he was worried about having kids when we had so much credit card debt, so I worked on that after I was done with the diss and had my first child at 33.


  5. “High levels of responsibility call for really long hours at work.”
    You know, I really do think this is true — I don’t want a president on whom the job rests lightly (or a secretary of state, homeland security chief, . . .). Those are jobs that require a dedication to the job that probably means that your own family, your own personal needs are not going to come first.
    But, its a reasonable question to ask which other jobs we for which we desire or require this level of dedication. There are jobs that require it because of the sheer level of compensation. We remember first encountering this idea when an analyst we know said that if they pay you 500K a year, then you had better be ready to answer the phone at 2AM. But there are a host of other jobs where we’re disappointed, as “clients” when their occupants don’t offer it — teaching and nursing are the cases I see it most clearly. Interesting that those are jobs that have historically been staffed by nuns. Wouldn’t we all really like it if our children’s teachers were nuns, with no other responsibilities except to our children?


  6. “Wouldn’t we all really like it if our children’s teachers were nuns, with no other responsibilities except to our children?”
    Or if the teachers and administration had kids at the same school? My kid’s private school started out a few years ago as a no-salary co-op, and out of the 200 or so kids, a large number have parents teaching or working at the school. We’re not supposed to call teachers at home after 8, drop in unexpectedly, or talk school business at drop-off and pick-up (save it for email, assignment book, or appointments), but the other side of the coin is that the school respects families’ time too. So far in 1st grade, reading is the only homework asigned over the weekend or holidays, homework is 99% blessedly uncreative (math workbook, reading, spelling, some Spanish vocab review) and requires very little parental input. It seems the wrong word to use, but there’s a sort of non-aggression pact between parents and teachers (who are often the same people).


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