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Boys Can Cry

When John Boehner cries, as he did at a press conference the morning after the election as the anticipated new Speaker of the House, he wins plaudits. So different from the time when Senator Muskie ran for President and was pilloried for shedding a tear in a snow storm in defense of his wife. But was it a tear or a snowflake? No matter, it made him look weak. Boehner’s tears were different. They revealed his humanity, showed he’s a good guy. A headline called him ” John the Weeper.” Critics went so far as to say what a pleasant contrast this was to the “steely” Nancy Pelosi. No show of emotion, what a pity. What if Nancy Pelosi had cried when she first became Speaker of the House? We know the answer; she would have been toast. An emotional woman, third in line for the Presidency? No way. If there was ever a question whether gender stereotypes still exist, that question was answered in the post election press coverage of the out-going and incoming Speakers. Remember when Hillary Clinton had a “welling up of tears” moment the day before the New Hampshire Primary in 2008? The media went wild. Can she be Commander in Chief, John Edwards questioned. Others commented that at last the Ice Maiden had melted. Or, was it a ploy to gain sympathy? Women in leadership cannot cry without raising a storm of commentary. When I held a press conference to announce that I would not be seeking a fourth term as Governor, it was an emotional moment for me. Was I doing the right thing by leaving my position, voluntarily? As I stood at the top of the stairs, waiting to go down to the first floor of the Vermont State House where the press was gathered, I told myself, “Don’t cry, whatever you do, don’t cry.” I got through it without a tear, until the very end when I looked at my weepy staff. I reached for a handkerchief, just in case. That’s when the camera flash went off. That was the photo they used. I hated it. When women and men can shed an equal quantity of tears in public, that’s when we’ll have equal power. Read the original article on The Huffington Post. Madeleine M. Kunin is the author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead.

Pushing Forward With Paid Leave, Workplace Flexibility for All

“Five of us were meeting for lunch and reminiscing about the women’s movement. ‘I was never one of those angry women,’ one said. ‘I’m still angry,’ I blurted. My reaction surprised both me and my friends. Where did that come from? A source I hadn’t tapped before. Upon reflection, I realized that I’m not angry […] Read More..

The Business Case for Workplace Flexibility: How Employers and Employees Can “Have it All”

“Job Killer.” Those are the two words you are most likely to hear uttered by most American CEOs when confronted with proposals to enact family-friendly work policies. This was true in the battles for earned sick days, paid maternity leave, increases in the minimum wage, and even workplace flexibility. Sure, there are exceptions. In fact, […] Read More..

A Cathedral to Democracy

The Strafford Town House is commanding. It is easily mistaken for a church because of the  white spire that reaches for the sky.  Set up on a steep hill; the giant structure forces you to look up to it, from the more fittingly modest village common. Now boasting a population of 1,045, what were the […] Read More..

Spring Has Returned to Vermont

Who could have thought that May would bring us so many hues of green? We feel refreshed just by slowly gazing at the trees in all their newborn shades. For a brief period, our thoughts can turn away from the bold black headlines of the daily news, and our ears can silence the angry voices […] Read More..

Why Girls Should Create Video Games

Why are video games so violent? The ones I’ve seen remind me of the 4th of July, with everything exploding, buildings, cars, airplanes, men and women. Kill, kill, and kill for sport and entertainment. Video games seem to be mostly a boy thing — viewed by young boys and created by big boys. I believe […] Read More..