Do you consider Palin to be a role model for women?

In the same vein as Hilary Clinton, a woman near the top of our political structure causes quite a stir (gross understatement). There are those who will laud her efforts to stand for what she believes in, to go after her dreams, to make a difference in the world, all the while raising a (very large) family. Others will see her political ambitions as running counter to the most important job of motherhood, and question a woman’s ability to take on such a significant role when her family clearly needs her to remain at the helm.

Given the role of primary care-taker, can/should a woman effectively lead in business and politics? I am less interested in the political debate such a question can arouse (which I admit, is pretty much unavoidable), but rather how her role is causing us to consider various conventions.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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  1. As much as I detest Governor Palin, and I do, I recognize she has achieved something remarkable. I have a certain level of admiration for any woman that rises to her level of political success, including Sarah Palin. But I can’t see her as a role model, because she stands against everything I believe in and live for – both personally or politically. And, more importantly, she’s not a role model because she’s not qualified to run or serve as the Vice President of the United States. I believe she was chosen primarily because she is a woman – to take advantage of the momentum of Senator Clinton’s campaign. Success for women won’t ever occur when we’re picked just because we’re women, or even despite the fact that we are women, it will come when it’s no longer relevant to the discussion.

  2. You make a great point about how success for women will have been achieved when the fact that we’re women is no longer relevant. I totally agree.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  3. If I ever have a daughter, Palin or Clinton would be more than acceptable as role models. The idea you can be anything you want is of great value.

  4. Gotea,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is amazing to see what both Palin and Clinton have accomplished, and they are for sure greasing the path for more strong women to be what they want to be. Trailblazers like these give a lot of people hope for themselves that they can accomplish their dreams if they just believe in them and pursue them. It’s almost like it gives us permission to have those dreams in the first place.

    Again, political persuasion notwithstanding, I think both women are inspirational.

    Take care,

  5. When I consider someone as a role model, I look at WHO they hang around with, how the people around them respond, as well as what they do. In other words his/her character is important. I would say that Sarah Palin is a good role model because she seems to integrate her work and her life. While there is a great deal of criticism of her in the press, and social sites, I don’t hear much criticism, especially the very nasty stuff, coming out of Alaska. NO ONE is successful without a strong support network and she has that for herself. I am troubled that she is running for high office with a young infant who has special needs, and obviously she is not around him very much. Then again, her participation in the election is short term – either way she is reunited with her family in November – either in DC or in Alaska.

    My favorite part of Sarah P as role model is this: she is successful with an undergrad degree, she was not well networked by Washington elite standards, and she hasn’t sacrificed her values or what she believes in for political gain. She hasn’t undergone a personality makeover for press approval. She seems to ignore the polls if it runs counter to her beliefs. Very few politicians on either side of the aisle (including her running mate) do that. She could have easily downplayed her faith, she could have created lots of photo opps of her and her children, and pandered to the press machine. She has not chosen to do so. That’s amazing in this day and age.

  6. Karen,

    You make some great points. I was telling my husband that no matter what kind of life you live, once you step into the political spotlight there will be some way to spin all aspects of your life in a negative way. To sign up for such scrutiny takes an amazing amount of self-reliance, not just self-confidence. And then to continue staying the course and following your own beliefs after getting so much criticism is admirable. I’m still voting for Obama, but I respect what she’s doing as a woman, wife, and mother on top of her political goals.

  7. Lara, in the specific case of Sarah Pallin, I think that we don’t know who the caregivers are in the family, or how much of a role that Sarah plays in the home. In the early days of her run for V.P., I seem to recall that she remarked that it is difficult to achieve balance with her travel an work schedules, and it seemed that her husband was the primary caregiver. Later, it seemed that his work also had him traveling too much or too irregularly, and attention fell on Bristol’s roll as caregiver. Still more recent events seem to imply that this is not Bristol’s roll, and Sarah has commented that they have a large “extended family” that helps out. My take is that Sarah’s balance falls heavily on the side of work, with nannies or extended family members doing most of the work of raising the Pallin children.

    To the more general question, it seems to me that to maximize success, business or political leadership is a full-time job, and so is raising a family. To my knowledge, men and women have not, historically, achieved a work/family balance that includes massive dedication to both domains; this balance has been achieved at the family level by having two-parent or extended family homes, with the adults or older children pitching in to cover the needed roles. So, to answer your question, I think that it is unlikely that anyone, man or woman, can effectively fill multiple full-time roles by themselves.