YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2016

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2016

  • YaleWomen Election Results Are In!
  • A Message from the YaleWomen Chair
  • First Yale Woman to Head AYA: An Inspirational Leader
  • Save the Date: the 2016 Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Women's Rights
  • Inaugural YaleWomen Award for Excellence
  • Confidence When it Counts: YaleWomen's First Webinar Now Available Online
  • Summer Breakfast Series for YaleWomen in New Haven
  • YaleWomen Chapters – Building Capacity through Partnerships
  • YaleWomen Reunion Breakfasts
  • YaleWomen Reunion Recap: On Managing Mid-Career Transitions
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2016


YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2016

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2016

  • Save the Date: Inaugural YaleWomen Award for Excellence, Panel and Dinner on May 2
  • Recap: The Inaugural Yale Women’s Summit
  • Will Grace Hopper's Name Grace a College?
  • Do You Have a Reunion This Year? Join YaleWomen!
  • Join Yale's Day of Service!
  • YaleWomen Seeks Video Editors
  • YaleWomen Chapters: What's in it For Me?
  • Watch: More Videos From YaleWomen's 'Gender Rules' Symposium
  • YaleWomen at Yale: Title IX Report Available Online
  • YaleWomen Faculty Forum Unveils a Portrait of Yale’s First Women PhDs
  • Yale Women's Leadership Initiative 8th Annual Conference: W.E. Women
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2016


YaleWomen Global Newsletter | December 2015

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | December 2015

  • From the Chair of YaleWomen
  • YaleWomen at the AYA Assembly
  • The Inaugural YaleWomen Award Dinner
  • YaleWomen Chapters: Year in Review
  • Watch: YaleWomen's 'Gender Rules' Symposium
  • YaleWomen at Yale: Addressing Sexual Assault on Campus
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Project: The Gender Pay Gap Through a Hollywood Lens
  • Join the YaleWomen Council!
  • Join the Yale Career Network
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | December 2015


YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2015

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2015

  • From the Chair of YaleWomen
  • YaleWomen Chapters at Work
  • YaleWomen at Yale
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Project: When Doing A Good Job Is Not Enough
  • Coming Soon: Gender Rules Conference Video
  • Calling All Musicians and Composers!
  • Fundraising Gala Honoring Barbara Bush ’04
  • Women's Health Research at Yale Public Awareness Campaign
  • Join the Yale Career Network
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2015


YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2015

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2015

  • From the Chair of YaleWomen
  • We are Thrilled to Announce...
  • Save the Date!
  • YaleWomen at the Reunions
  • YaleWomen Chapters at Work
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Project: Hollywood's Unfair Hiring Practices Get ACLU's Attention
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | June 2015


YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2015

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2015

  • From the YaleWomen Chair
  • Yale Women's Leadership Initiative 7th Annual Conference: W.E. Women
  • One YaleWoman's Opinion: the Ellen Pao Trial
  • YaleWomen @ Reunion 2015
  • Join Yale Day of Service!
  • YaleWomen Chapters: Building Capacity through Creative Collaboration
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Initiative
  • Registration Now Open!
  • Support YaleWomen

Read the full newsletter here: YaleWomen Global Newsletter | March 2015

Read more

Work on Bias and Change the World

I’ve been thinking about the Ellen Pao / Kleiner Perkins trial as the jury continues to deliberate. Was Ellen Pao qualified to be promoted? I can’t tell. Was she the victim of overt gender discrimination, and dismissed because she challenged her firm about it? It seems like it. Was she subject to unconscious bias at Kleiner Perkins? Unquestionably. The problem is that Kleiner Perkins’ answer to the first question is an outcome of the third answer.

Read more

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | December 2014

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | December 2014

  • Holiday Greetings From Your YaleWomen Chair
  • YaleWomen and Women Faculty Forum Symposium: Gender Rules
  • YaleWomen Chapters: Creating Social Capital
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Initiative
  • Join the YaleWomen Council
  • Support YaleWomen

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2014

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2014

  • In With the New!
  • A Letter from Our New Chair
  • Save the Date for the Yale Women Faculty Forum on Nov. 1!
  • Energetic and Creative AYA Board Chair is the Sixth Woman to lead Yale Alums
  • What's at the Intersection?
  • From the Desk of the YaleWomen 50/50 Media Initiative
  • Calling all Bloggers!
  • Support YaleWomen

More thoughts about staying home (Part 5)

You’ve all heard the airline safety spiel: how to buckle your seat belt, find the way to your closest exit, and put on those oxygen masks.  Helpful images accompany the oft-quoted line, “Put on your own mask before helping others.”

Take care of yourself first  — that’s the up-to-date advice for caretakers and (especially) new mothers.  Of course, the thinking is that if you’re not okay, you’re going to have a hard time helping the people who need you, be they children, parents or spouses.  The airplane metaphor is very practical;  if you faint from lack of oxygen while you’re adjusting your child’s mask, you’ll both be left gasping.  But there’s also a broader application, in which, for example, caretakers are advised to get some time off and mothers are told to get themselves to a yoga class or take a bath.  

After I had children, I heard a lot of this kind of advice.

There’s a pretty straight line from Feminism to the idea that women should take care of their own needs before attending to others.  When you get down to basics, the big news from Feminism was that women actually have needs, desires and ambitions.  It sounds like common sense now, but as a doctrine back then it was close to a revelation.  

Feminism told us that we had certain rights, but those also came with responsibilities.  By the time I graduated college in 1979, not only had I learned that I could be assertive, I had learned that I should be assertive.  Putting myself first wasn’t just acceptable, it was laudable.  

Yet in spite of the overwhelming influence of Feminism on my life and the gender-neutral expectations with which I was lucky enough to be raised, once I became a mother, any shred of putting myself first dissolved.  It became at best a goal for another decade, inserted into my brain right next to “having it all.”  

 Culturally speaking, good mothers are all about sacrifice.  Beginning with pregnancy and childbirth,  motherhood is easy to see through that lens.  Children want and need you in a variety of ways, from essential to optional — for food, cleanliness, attention and guidance.  But neither responsibility nor overwhelming love makes being at the beck and call of an infant or a toddler more fun than say, having a leisurely meal, or chatting with friends.  

What about the inverse?  Are you a bad mom if you put yourself first?  There’s a range of badness that would make a nifty graph.  On one end, making time to feed yourself and brush your hair occasionally — on the other end, shooting heroin.  Drug use, prostitution, leaving the family — they’re all classic tropes of bad motherhood — definitely the wrong kind of putting yourself first.  And there are pretty active controversies about where certain choices should go on the continuum — for one (judgmental) person choosing not to breastfeed equals being a bad mom, for another it’s letting your kids have access to screens.  Most of us are somewhere in the middle: we go out to dinner with friends and then feel guilty about not being home to help with homework, we miss a soccer game to go to the gym, or maybe bribe our toddlers with television to get a half-hour nap.  

The truth is that I felt guilty about not living up to either ideal — motherhood’s or Feminism.  I’d lay down my life for any of my children in a heartbeat, but if they interrupted me say, when I was eating, sleeping, reading, or watching ER, I could get crazy annoyed.  (Now that they’re adults I don’t mind quite as much.)  But back then I felt guilty when my own need for comfort, adult conversation or intellectual stimulation made me inattentive or absent.  And on the other hand, I struggled to justify not having a job, or not writing that novel.  Was I a bad feminist because I didn’t want it enough to make it work?  

It’s a legitimate question, one that’s definitely come back to haunt me. 



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