On her blog The Road Less Travelled, loribeth posted a great piece about Elena Kagan and the uproar about her childlessness. It’s a very insightful post with some great comments.
I’m somewhat sympathetic to the argument that American women desperately need role models who have managed to rise to the top while also having a family. At the same time, reading stuff like:
“To me, if a woman doesn’t have a child, she has only an abstract ability to pass judgment on issues where motherhood is concerned.”
sets my teeth on edge. I would submit that parents pass many, many judgments on behalf of people without children that don’t necessarily serve our needs very well — and yet nobody seems to question their ability to speak for us.
In an NPR article about women in the Supreme Court, Nina Totenberg made a great point:
Before Sotomayor’s appointment to the court, there were six justices in the court’s history who were unmarried and had no children — all of whom were men.
I’d be willing to bet that during their nomination proceedings the topic of their childlessness never came up.