Tuesday, January 23, 2007

THE MOTHER OF ALL DECISIONS

Today's Oprah was about why Elizabeth Vargas stepped down from being co-anchor of ABC's World News Tonight, a job she worked for 20 years to attain.

Elizabeth says she wants to clarify something about her departure from World News Tonight. Despite some reports to the contrary, she was not forced out. "We got a letter of protest from [the National Organization of Women] to the president of ABC saying, 'This is a step back for working women and she was pushed out because she's pregnant.' At one point I said, 'I think feminism means we all get that chance to make our choice. And if it just isn't right for me, it isn't right for me.' … For me it just wasn't working."

In Elizabeth's first reporting assignment at 20/20 after maternity leave, she did a special report on working moms in America. She says it was an eye-opening experience. "I was surprised when I found out how far the United States does lag behind other industrialized countries when it comes to paid maternity leave or family flexible policies," she says. "We are actually one of only four countries in the entire world that doesn't offer a national maternity leave program—Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and Lesotho are the other three countries. A lot of our European counterparts who have more socialized governments offer paid maternity leave. But even Japan, which is a capitalist society, offers paid maternity leave."

Elizabeth says she was also surprised to hear of the resentment that some childless people feel toward their colleagues who have kids. "Listen, I have to tell you. I was in the workforce as a childless woman for 20 years," she says. "I had no clue how hard it was for my colleagues who were parents all that time until I became one. I just have to say it's really hard to imagine until you're actually in that position."

For the show they polled more than 15,000 women—both stay-at-home and working moms—here are the results.

3 Comments:

Blogger Pat said...

Walk a mile in my shoes. But, it's so much easier to run our mouths. Like all means of government, on the green side of the grass, it has its flaws. How are you feeling these days?

8:33 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Only 10 weeks left! I feel pretty good - I wish the decision was easier to make for mothers, and that mothers were more supportive of each other, at least!

5:11 PM, January 27, 2007  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Does not seem like it's been that long. Excellent!!

8:39 AM, January 28, 2007  

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