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.