The recent announcement of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket has spawned much discussion and debate about the ability of working women to balance motherhood with careerism.
Women traditionally have felt and still feel that they need to change themselves in order to succeed in the working world. And there is much disagreement over the effects and benefits that these changes have on women when it comes to being wives and mothers.
On one hand, various studies indicate that one of the major motivating factors for women starting their own business is to have more flexibility and a better work-life balance. This means they can work and still have the time and energy to focus on their family life. Many mothers further claim that having and raising children sharpens their decision making and planning skills, and in short makes them better suited to be in the business world- whether they are working for themselves or others.
On the other side of this issue stand a surprisingly significant number of working women. Many women claim that it is hard to juggle work and family obligations even when they are running their own business and even though they began their ventures seeking more flexibility and freedom.
Ms. Palin has put herself at the center of this debate by virtue of the fact that she is publicly straddling two very challenging positions. It goes without saying that filling the Vice Presidential slot will demand more than a typical 9 to5 job, and as many point out, her family responsibilities will also require an additional dose of care and attention. (Check out this recent post on workingmother.com and read the comments that follow.)
So will Ms Palin help or hurt the image of working mothers? I believe the real answer lies in how she ends up handling these two roles if elected. Her success will depend on her ability to set aside the necessary time and attention for herself and her family while still carrying the responsibilities of Second-in-Command.
If she succeeds, she will be a role model of sorts for working mothers everywhere- even with all the other speculations going around. If she fails, it could force a lot of working mothers to reevaluate the way in which they are giving out their time and energies.
Only time will tell.
Image credit: From Flickr user infacinatorinc