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Astelarra, Judith

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El País - Spain | 08/10/2008

Judith Astelarra on mothers in power

Sociologist Judith Astelarra reflects in a commentary piece for the Spanish daily El País on how the role of mother has changed in politics. The US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the Spanish defence minister Carme Chacón are just two examples: "The photo of Carme Chacón, pregnant and greeting the armed forces, went round the world. The choice of Sarah Palin put a soccer mum on the Republicans' ballot paper. According to survey results the nomination [of Palin] gave McCain a big boost among white women aged over 40 who now say they will vote for him. These two examples are a novelty because until recently people would say that unlike male politicians female politicians were required to sacrifice their family life if they wanted to make a success of their careers. In reality the situation has barely changed. According to the statistics women in political posts still tend to have fewer children and are less frequently married than their male counterparts. But given these new examples it seems sensible to ask two questions: Is this a sign of women's participation in politics becoming standard? And has motherhood become a factor that provides women with an additional political competence?"

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