Opting In?

Interesting commentary on Lisa Belkin’s New York Times article about Sarah Palin and motherhood:
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/10/06/belkin/index.html

I know this is something that I have struggled with since I’ve become a mother – passing judgment and being judged. I also know that my partner has occasionally dealt with being judged by colleagues or family for his active role as a parent. Regardless of the structure of your family, or who is doing the caretaking, I think this is a relevant issue for everyone, and having a woman with five children and a non-traditional care-giving family structure may do something about bringing it into the spotlight. Thoughts?

Banned Books Week

Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a banned book! This list is especially relevant for women since there are more banned books on here by women than by men. Find a banned book by a woman and celebrate your democratic freedom to read it!

Guest Posting Guidelines

We welcome guest posts here on the Women’s Center blog. Guest posting gives the readers fresh perspectives beyond what we can provide. We also learn a lot from the guest posts.

Here are two reasons why you may want to write guest posts:

  1. You will promote critical thinking and teach others about an issue.
    This is always a good thing. While you may already be educating people through whatever work you do, hopefully by posting on this blog you will expose many others to your side of an issue and promote critical thinking and discussion.
  2. You will get exposure for your work.
    Anyone who reads our blog will see your post – including students, staff, faculty and community members. This means that you will gain exposure for whatever projects on which you are working or groups of which you are a member, and possibly additional support or members.

Of course, there are some guidelines for the post. In addition to being relevant to women’s and/or gender issues, the post must be:

  1. Original
    It can’t be a post that has been posted anywhere else before. In other words, it must be a new post.
  2. At least 200 words long.
    This is for the content part, not counting the title and bio.
  3. At most 50 words bio.
    You may include links to your site or blog here. Please put the bio at the end of the post. We will write an introduction at the beginning.
  4. Posts may not contain racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise overtly objectionable content.
    Differences of opinion are welcome; posts will not be rejected on a difference of opinion alone. Threats, pointless belligerence, and hate speech are not welcome.

We reserve the right to edit the posts as needed (for example, to fix spelling or grammar errors) and to reject posts that we feel are not appropriate for this web site. Feel free to tell us about your idea before you start writing. We don’t want to waste your time. Please send your submissions, ideas, or questions about the guest posting policy to umalia@umkc.edu.

Student Voting Information

With such an important election coming up, everyone needs to make sure they’re registered to vote. Have questions about voting as a student? Visit this site to find out more! And then remember to get out and vote in November!

New Girl on the Job

Excellent article by a previous visiting speaker at the Women’s Center, Hannah Seligson.

Have you had a similar experience in the workplace? Do you agree/disagree with any of the things she points out in this article? Let us know about your experiences by commenting below.

Walk a Mile

Although these are some scary statistics and stories, this is an issue that has been and continues to affect women, especially those in college and younger. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend checking this out and taking the time to read a little bit about it.

In an effort to reach out to women (and men) on campus and educate them about these issues, as well as provide support services, UMKC received the Department of Justice Violence Against Women Campus Grant, which funds the Violence Prevention and Response Project. If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of sexual violence, dating or relationship violence, or stalking, please know there is someone here to help.

The VPR project also provides education and training, and puts on programs such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which will take place on September 25. We hope you will join us in our efforts to end violence against women!

Fusing Politics and Motherhood in a New Way

This article from today’s New York Times is actually one of the better-researched and written articles concerning the combination of Sarah Palin’s motherhood and political career. One piece of it that I find especially intriguing and relevant is the different approach she takes to combining her family and her career, taking both her children and her husband into the workplace with her. Perhaps one of the issues with American society and the reason we’re questioning her ability to be both a mom and vice president is our black-and-white view of parenthood and work. If we go by the 50’s model of the workplace (which, let’s not kid ourselves, is still alive and functioning), you go to work, there is someone at home to take care of the kids, and you work until the job is done, even putting in extra hours if need be, with no repercussions on your family or personal well-being. For today’s workforce, however, family, whether that be children, partners, or parents, and personal time are more often taking precedence over work.

Maybe we should take a page out of Sarah Palin’s book and start finding ways to combine the two. What do you think?

Mommy Wars? Really?

This might be one of the most obnoxious articles I’ve read in awhile. Does it bother anyone else that at no point in this article do they debate her political credentials, just her “mommy” status? Media everywhere are jumping all over this, and it’s driving me nuts. When was the last time any of us heard someone question whether or not a man could be a father and hold a political office? On top of all of this, the judgment by other mothers is absolutely crushing. Just because someone chooses to parent in a different way does not make them a bad person. Am I bad person because I work instead of staying at home with my two-year-old son?

And what does this say about the state of fatherhood in our country that we don’t question how a man will be a good father and hold political office?

Perhaps the quote that I find most appalling from this article is below:

In all of Washington, there is perhaps one person whose life most resembles
the one that Ms. Palin is pursuing: Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers,
Republican of Washington and mother of an infant son with Down syndrome. Ms.
Rodgers cheered Ms. Palin’s entry into the race, saying it would draw attention
to the policy needs of children and families.
But Ms. Rodgers acknowledges that on some days, like the one when she had to run to the Capitol for a vote without taking a shower first, she wonders if she is doing the right thing. She feels then like many working mothers: caught between her job and “wanting to be the best mom and best wife you can possibly be.”