The Bridal Path Not Taken
I'm a little behind in my reading, so I just caught the piece in the May 17 NY Times Magazine about the implicit message sent by the fact that the two most recent Supreme Court nominees are both female, unmarried, and childless. This, in comparison to the two females confirmed to the Court in the past - Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg - who both have (or had) long marriages and children.
O'Connor and Ginsburg were among the generation of trailblazers who paved the way for their successors, including Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Because of O'Connor, Ginsburg and their contemporaries, female law partners, professors, and judges are commonplace, if not yet equal in numbers to their male counterparts. TV shows like The Good Wife and Law & Order (well, until its cancellation this week!) are also doing their part to show women as successful legal professionals - whether they're married, single, with or without kids. Yet several people interviewed in the Times story suggested that their personal preference would have been for the President to choose a married nominee, with kids. Such a nominee, they claim, would show that women can, in fact "have it all."
I think those commentators miss the point. Our country would certainly benefit economically and socially from making things easier for women who choose to work and raise families, but the real test is our willingness to let each woman decide for herself what it means to "have it all." Fulfillment can be found in many ways; we must validate the right of women to choose among life's paths and celebrate them all.