For Working Women Everywhere

Yesterday the media went on non-stop about CNN contributor Hilary Rosen’s remark to Ann Romney, that she never worked a day in her life, and that somehow this comment insulted all stay at home moms.   Somehow her words were construed to say that t she meant stay at home moms don’t work.   Even President Obama stood up for Mrs. Romney.

Am I the only one who knew what Rosen meant by her comment?  I knew she was talking about working outside the home.  Everyone already knows that parenting is a full time job.  The conversation should have been about how most mothers do not have the luxury of choosing to stay home.

Instead Rosen was immediately reprimanded by everyone and their mother (pun intended) for stating her opinion.  Mrs. Romney snapped, “My career choice was to be a mother, and I think that all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices, to have a career and raise a family, which I think Hillary Rosen has actually done herself.”

Romney and Rosen are not typical working mothers, and if anyone thinks they are they should talk to mothers who work in restaurants, hospitals, teach their kids or clean their homes. Both Romney and Rosen never have to worry how they will make their mortgage payments, or rent, or health insurance, or have to miss work (and a day’s pay) to stay home to care for a sick child.

Low-income women have had to work for as long as I can remember, and I don’t mean just single moms. I remember reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique years ago. Its introduction describes what Friedan called “the problem that has no name” — the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950s and early 1960s.  The book discusses the lives of several housewives from around the United States who were stay-at-home moms raising their children.

That book was written about and for middle class white women.  Married and unmarried low income women of all races had to work every day just to make ends meet and probably were too tired to feel unfulfilled or bored.  This book only reflected the sentiments of a small group of middle-class women. Yes, it’s true that in the 50s and 60s women found it harder to have careers because of social norms but that didn’t mean women were not working lower wage jobs.

These days I don’t know any women who can afford to stay home and live off their husband’s paycheck. In fact I do know some women who are working two jobs because their husbands have been laid off.  I say stop attacking Rosen for speaking up to Romney who in my opinion does not have a clue what it’s like for the majority of women who are raising a family and have to work.

About Inge

Cancer survivor. Healthy organic food coach. Public speaker. If you have a story you want told, contact me at