Palin's problems concern women

September 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's growing speculation about Governor Sarah Palin. Many are asking should she have declined being Senator John McCain's running mate to focus more on her family? Or would this question even be raised if she were a man?

For the next two months, Governor Palin will be spending most of her time away from home, hitting the campaign trail in the lower 48 states.

So the revelation that her unmarried, 17-year-old daughter is pregnant stunned many women, who question why a mother would want to run for vice-president with issues at home?

"If I had a 17-year-old daughter getting pregnant, I would probably want to spend a lot of time with her and find out what was going on in her life," says Mari Clemson, a San Francisco resident.

"She's a great example to working mothers, but it does seem at this time she may not have the time to commit to her family," says Jenny Pearlman, a San Francisco resident.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) of California even raised concerns before her daughter's pregnancy was revealed. Palin has four other children, including an infant son with Down syndrome.

"I don't know how a mother with a four-month-old baby campaigns 18 hours a day. I don't know how you do that and take care of your child," says Senator Feinstein.

"No one would say this about a man, so on one hand it is absolutely sexist," says U.C. Berkeley anthropology professor Rosemary Joyce, Ph.D., an expert on gender issues.

Despite the apparent double standard, Joyce says questions about Palin as a mother are not out of bounds, considering the GOP is the party that promotes traditional family values.

"The reason that it's not unfair, while still sexist to ask it of Palin, is that her party would say to people like her to women like her, 'Stay home, take care of your children, you're a bad mother if you don't,'" says Joyce.

Yet, despite such concerns, many mothers support Palin's decision to run.

"I always think it's quality time versus quantity. So, as long as she's able to give quality time to her children I think she shouldn't have problems," says Farah MacRas, a San Francisco resident.

"It's more her skills to do the job. She's applying for a job, she's not applying to be a mom, she's applying for a job," says Renee Shelton, a Mill Valley resident.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also a mother of five children, but she didn't run for office until her youngest was 16.


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