The feminist revolution that swept the United States in the 1970s promoted the dream of a land in which at least half of all corporate officers, Fortune 500 CEOs, partners in law firms and doctors would be women.
But a funny thing happened on the way to achieving that promise. Feminism was mugged by the reality that most women don't seek those goals.
How the best and the brightest are rejecting the career track laid out for them by the feminists is detailed in an article titled "The Opt-Out Revolution" by Lisa Belkin in the New York Times Magazine. That is the same persistently feminist publication that a few years ago featured a cover glamorizing feminism's No. 1 role model, St. Hillary Clinton, in radiant white robes.
Belkin interviewed hundreds of women and presented as typical a group in Atlanta, all of whom had graduated from Princeton more or less 20 years ago, earned advanced degrees in law or business from other prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Columbia, and waited until they were thirtysomethings to marry and have children because their careers were so exciting.
Eager graduates during the heyday of feminism, they felt both entitled and obligated to make good. As one said, what she then wanted was to be "a confirmed single person, childless, a world traveler."
These Atlanta women are typical: For the last couple of decades, roughly half of the U.S. graduates with masters in business, law degrees or medical degrees have been women. In the feminist game plan, these are the very women who should now be at the top of the business and professional world, wielding the fantasy power attributed to the tiny percentage at the top.
But of the 10 Princeton graduates interviewed by Belkin at a book-club meeting, five were not employed outside the home, one is in business with her husband, one is employed part time, two freelance, and the only one with a full-time job is childless. Nationwide, only 16 percent of corporate officers are women and only eight Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. In fact, only 38 percent of the women who graduated from the Harvard Business School in the 1980s are working full time.
Feminist ideology for years has preached that if women fail to cross those thresholds of power, it is because women are held down by a "glass ceiling" imposed by a discriminatory and oppressive male-dominated society. But these smart, talented, successful women told Belkin that they voluntarily opted out of their accelerating careers.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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