Mona Charen
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I suppose I'm a bad woman -- by today's standards that is. For some reason, I take absolutely no pride in the accomplishments of women per se. I am utterly uninspired by first women astronauts or Secretaries of State. It is of no consequence to me what percentage of the United States Senate or House of Representatives shares my chromosomes. I don't wait with gnawing impatience for America to pass the milestone of needing a fellow to fill the post of First Gentleman.

This is not to say that I resent or disparage female accomplishment. I admire excellence wherever it is found, and many women occupy plinths in my personal pantheon, including Margaret Thatcher, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Priscilla Buckley, Jane Austen, Joan Sutherland, Aung San Suu Kyi, George Eliot, Yelena Bonner and Golda Meir.

I just don't have a rooting interest in the decisions of one-half of humanity. These reflections were occasioned by a meeting of the Kirkpatrick Society -- a luncheon group of conservative-leaning women created and managed by the Hoover Institution's Mary Eberstadt. Most women, I suspect, including most conservative women, are not like me. They do feel female solidarity.

It's odd that we are exhorted to feel solidarity with fellow women but not with fellow Americans (that would be unbecoming chauvinism) or with co-religionists (that would be excessively sectarian). Men, of course, may cheer for women but not for their own sex.

I know, I know. Women were discouraged from pursuing careers beyond certain narrow constraints as recently as 40 years ago. But invocations of the bad old days when women could be only nurses or teachers have always struck me as overwrought. Labor-saving devices, a dynamic economy and changing social views permitted women to expand their horizons professionally, but it wasn't an unmixed blessing. It's become harder, for example, to lure really smart women into teaching these days, because they can get higher pay and more prestige in other work. And children are no longer benefitting from the full-time attention of at least one parent. Also, surveys have shown that women are less happy now than they were 35 years ago.

Three cheers for great women in politics. Suzanna Martinez was terrific at the Republican Convention. Nikki Haley seems very solid. But let's face it, most women in politics are liberals, and women voters tend to prefer Democrats.

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Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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