I've met lots of friends through the blogosphere, but one of my nearest and dearest is Darcy. Our blogs are very different, but our backgrounds are very similar. We both worked in biglaw, we both left it to stay home with our kids, we both live in the DC area, and we both enjoy a good cocktail.
It was over one of these cocktails last week that she mentioned to me an article she read where the author argues that women who plan to stay at home with their kids do not deserve an education, because they are taking the spot of someone who will better use that opportunity for a real career.
I rolled my eyes, but I didn't get too angered by it. After all, I've heard this before - from articles, from message boards, from the look on people's faces when I tell them I quit my job. I've heard it on this blog, through a comment that caused me to write a whole post in horrified opposition. (Said comment, in case you don't feel like clicking on the link, went something like: "I wonder if [your] coveted law school spot would have been better spent on someone who needed [a law firm job] and would more likely stick with it.").
I try not to get too angry over this stuff anymore. I figure it is just the rants of ignorant, chauvinistic kooks, and why should I even spend my time thinking about what they have to say?
But then today, my friend Darcy wrote an eloquent, well written, and reasoned post in response to the article she had mentioned to me. She linked the aforementioned article, and I read it. And I had to write this post. I just can't help myself.
The article is written by Vivia Chen, who writes the blog, The Careerist. It is a very popular blog, and one that I read from time to time. I have even emailed Ms. Chen in the past, pitching some blog posts (none of which she has ever picked up - but I promise I have not held it against her!). I have always respected her - she is a former corporate lawyer, a mother, and runs a very successful blog.
The fact that these words came from her keyboard floored me:
"[The future stay at home moms] of the world are squandering their privileged education. In fact, they are taking away seats from other brilliant kids who might actually need an [Ivy League] degree to achieve their dreams."
This is disgusting on so many levels, and Darcy does an excellent job explaining why - I highly suggest you read her post (click here).
I am disgusted, but I am also sad. I'm sad that this argument comes from a woman - a woman who I respected, who has a background similar to mine. A woman who is a former lawyer, who writes a blog, who tucks her kids in at night. A woman who has a voice - an educated, well written, widely heard one. A woman who looks at me and thinks my education was a waste - that I never deserved to be there, that I cheated others in the process.
It's just another example of women tearing each other down, when really we should be fighting for each other - building each other up. We should be fighting for better work life balance, for better part time opportunities, for better parental leaves which encourage women to stay in the workforce.
We certainly shouldn't be arguing that women shouldn't be getting an education in the first place.
Don't we women face enough hurdles as is?
I just think it's sad.