Rosen apologized for her remark, perhaps recognizing it was political poison to insult a large segment of the electorate. Yet the inconsistency in feminism on this issue lingers. Feminism originally emerged as a banner under which people sought to achieve equality for women. While feminists claimed they wanted women to have equal access to career and educational opportunities and not be limited to any one role, too often it seems like they want women to make certain career decisions.
To modern feminists, a major indicator of equality is when women reach parity with men in the workforce. But focusing solely on workforce statistics devalues or ignores a defining characteristic of women—the ability to bear children—which can lead to significant workforce participation differences between men and women.
Although women have achieved equality in many education-related indicators, we have not reached parity in the workforce, especially at some of the highest levels. Thus, feminist groups argue for a number of government policies to achieve this end—comparable worth and government-sponsored daycare, among others. But feminists are learning that government policies can’t change the desire of some women to forgo a job outside of the home to raise children.
Rosen’s comments are rooted in the same distrust of stay-at-home moms as The Feminine Mystique. Feminists should focus on the core value of trying to provide women opportunity.