One of the most famous feminist organizations in the USA, NOW (National Organization of Women) has just endorsed Barack Obama for president.
We think it is a shame.
From the start of the primary campaign, NOW had supported the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. So, when the Democratic Party decided to select Obama instead of Hillary last June, although she had won the popular vote, NOW was extremely disappointed, as a lot of American women.
That is why we do not understand today why this venerable feminist association refuses to support the only woman left in this election, the one who is likely to become the first woman vice-president in American history : Sarah Palin.
It is true that the feminists are facing a cruel dilemma : this candidate, who should make them happy because she is the proof that a woman can succeed in the male world of politics, is a conservative politician, who embraces a right-wing social agenda, and is opposed to abortion.
Here is an extract from the Boston Globe, which analyses Sarah Palin's feminism :
« Is Palin - whose image as a tough woman has evoked comparisons to historical and fictional female fighters like Joan of Arc and Xena, Warrior Princess - a feminist hero?
To some feminists, the answer is a clear no. Novelist Jane Smiley brands her "a woman who reinforces patriarchal power rather than challenges it."
But the charge is unfair, Palin is not known for attacking the women's movement; she credits it with breaking down gender barriers and creating the opportunities she has enjoyed. While antiabortion, she belongs to a group called Feminists for Life.
But I also believe that her candidacy is a great moment for American women.
Palin's candidacy may also be a watershed moment in conservative politics. The right has long been ambivalent about working mothers; a number of conservative politicians and pundits have been given to chiding "selfish" women who pursue career ambitions after having children. Now, a mother with a high-powered career is a conservative hero, and full-time motherhood may be forever gone from the roster of family values.”
Maybe there is a little hypocrisy in this conservative celebration of Palin, but let’s believe that the Republican Party is sincere, and that will be good news for American women.
Feminists, please, forget about Obama : he is no friend of yours. It has just been revealed that he pays his female staff less than his male employees, for the same job ! Are you sure this is the kind of president you need ?
So, maybe it is time to stop playing partisan politics and to rejoice : the GOP is going to give more importance to women and to women’s issues !
This might be the Republicans’ “cultural revolution” after all...
In any case, and whatever the outcome of this election in November may be, 2008 will remain a memorable "Year of the Woman", thanks to Hillary and Sarah, as 1992 was, when Bill Clinton became president and a lot of women were elected to Congress.