Women can balance duties

On April 11, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen analyzed Mitt Romney’s tendency to refer to his wife, Ann Romney, for a female perspective on the economy.

“His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing,” Rosen said.

Not long after, Ann Romney made a Twitter account and this was her first post: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Although Rosen intended to focus the conversation on her perception of the Republican Party, her poorly worded comment drew criticism from both political parties.
“There is no tougher job than being a mom,” President Obama said the next day.

While the issue Rosen meant to discuss was sidetracked by talk about women staying home versus going to work, the role of women in the home is a topic that should be carefully examined by BYU-Idaho students.

Recent conversations on women becoming homemakers or employees are a good measurement of how the world perceives the Latter-day Saint
community.

The statement by Rosen best captures one perception: “Mitt Romney seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women … He just doesn’t really see us as equal,” Rosen said.

For some reason, the world believes that the traditional roles of husbands and wives can’t be equal. This perception could be inspired in part by statements released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concerning family roles. In 1995, the Church released “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, which states, “By divine design, father … are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

Closer inspection of the specific wording of this paragraph reveals that mothers are “primarily” and not “solely” responsible for nurturing their children. In order for husbands and wives to be equal partners in their obligations, there’s bound to be a little give and take. President Gordon B. Hinckley understood that circumstances arise in which this ideal pattern for families is impossible.

“In this day and time, a girl needs an education. She needs the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so,” President Hinckley said in September 2007.

Sometimes, members of the Church judge women for having “too many children too soon.”

Conversely, other members of the church feel that all businesswomen participate in a dereliction of duty to their children. Both forms of judgment are unfair and need to stop.

As potential spouses, we must be less apt to compartmentalize our responsibilities and more willing to share the work.

We must also be willing to take a stronger stand for traditional family values when it is necessary to do so. Not only would this behavior paint Mormons more favorably in the world’s eyes, but this point of view is also more in line with the instruction given by the Church.

7 Responses

  1. It seems that women in the workforce see the idea that women are made to raise children as demeaning. I consider myself feminist, but I think that children need a strong mother to raise them. Also, the idea that a homemaker doesn’t know the economy is insane! Who balances the budget, does the shopping, and supports her friends? The homemaker! Not only does Mrs. Romney have intimate knowledge of how her family’s budget has gotten a bit tighter (let’s be honest, they’re millionaires), but I’d bet she has intimate knowledge of how it has affected other women and their families. I find the fact that this point has been brought up by a senator who doesn’t have to worry about how she’ll feed and shelter her family this month VERY amusing!

  2. Bobby Macey says:

    I am glad you quoted from the source “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The line quoted must be read several times, pondered, and even studied in order to gain the full value of the statement within the context.

    Ann Romney is a woman who understands trials, understands family life, and understands work. I know that my wife works twice as hard in the home when I’m out of the home and it shows when I return home at the end of the day or after being separated for work. school, etc.

    Considering the hours Mitt Romney must have worked and their marriage in still going strong, I believe Ann understands quite well the concept of work.

    I appreciate your article.

  3. jgraves5 says:

    I feel like women who are getting their education and finding experience in the work place is helping women get a good balance of both these issues. Education and experience never hurt anyone. I feel these things can enhance women’s ability to raise a family and heed the call from God to nurture and raise children. Women of the Church need to have the best of both worlds, be well educated as well as the faith to listen to the Lord’s call to multiply and replenish the earth.

  4. Katie Backus says:

    Many women are in difficult situations. Many American woman are in very hard situations because of the economy, working full time and raising their families. This is hard. I think that Rosen is correct, but her statement was very poorly worded. I think people are becoming more aware that the LDS culture about this topic is changing, although we will always try to align all of our standards with the Family Proclamation.

  5. mckenzi2 says:

    I love this article because you focus on balance on both sides. I’m definitely a feminist in the way that I believe women should be able to choose what they want to do. Motherhood is given to women and we have a responsibility to that, but not all women are able to or shoot, it might just not be the right time. Or if a woman has children and chooses/doesn’t have to work, that doesn’t mean she is dumb or isn’t aware of the world, it means she has more patience and knowledge of a variety of things than you.

  6. vroomatt says:

    This was a really good article. I am a fan of Mitt Romney, and I feel that he is trying his best and will unify the GOP and this nation.

  7. emm66 says:

    I absolutely loved this article. I think the subject and content is extremely important. I feel that women have a very important role in society and in the home as well and like the article says, we can balance both. Thank you so much for focusing on this :)

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