Wednesday, August 5, 2009

People with a Profile - Do we expect too much?

Rashida Dati is the first senior government official appointed in France of North African descent. Dati has attracted considerable attention having just returned to work as French Justice Minister only 5 days after giving birth to her child and being openly single. Feminists in France have slammed her as a poor role model whom they have allege has sold out on other working women and put further pressure on them all to be “supermums, not wimps.”

Should her decision be one of personal choice? If she has the ways and means to be able to return to work after childbirth (which afterall is not a disease or illness), should she? Does she automatically raise the bar for other women and create an unrealistic and unreasonable expectation in employers of other women after childbirth? Is her situation different to the average woman’s who may not have the financial wherewithall to arrange quality child care after the birth of her child/ren? Furthermore, is it reasonable to assume that she returned to work so soon, as asserted by the Planned Parenthood Association because of the pressure to “defend her standing in France’s male-dominated politics” rather than intrinsic dedication to her work?