Watching the liberal "pro-women's rights" Boxer go after the single and childless Rice seemed almost surreal. For recently fellow Democratic Party member and new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called her own ascension to power a victory for all women. "It's an historic moment for the women of America," said Pelosi. "It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years. . . . But women weren't just waiting. Women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and our granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters now, the sky is the limit."
But for Boxer, the sky remains out of reach if, like Rice, you are unmarried and without children. Yet a recent article in The New York Times practically celebrated the phenomenon of the growing number of women living without spouses. For the first time, the number of women living without a spouse exceeds the number of women living with one.
"For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage," says Brookings Institution demographer Dr. William H. Frey. "Younger women understand this better, and are preparing to live longer parts of their lives alone or with nonmarried partners. For many older boomer and senior women, the institution of marriage did not hold the promise they might have hoped for, growing up in an 'Ozzie and Harriet' era."
The Times quotes one recently divorced 57-year-old, "I'm in a place in my life where I'm comfortable. I can do what I want, when I want, with whom I want. I was a wife and a mother. I don't feel like I need to do that again." Another divorcee agrees, "The benefits were completely unforeseen for me. The free time, the amount of time I get to spend with friends, the time I have alone, which I value tremendously, the flexibility in terms of work, travel and cultural events."
Wasn't the "women's movement" about choices -- the choice to have a family or not, the choice to have a career or not, the choice to have children or not? But, Boxer's Law says that Rice's choices effectively disqualify her from the position of secretary of state, given her support of the war.
I thought we'd come a long way, baby. Guess not.