Elected leaders have a responsibility to set an example for their constituents and the community at large – regardless of party affiliation. A mailer sent this week by Deborah Silcox’s campaign shames every working mother in Georgia by implying that women raising young children while also engaged in active careers cannot do their jobs well.
Would she ever make such a suggestion about a man?
As women, mothers, legislators, and full-time working professionals, we find her comments to be wildly inappropriate and dismissive of more than a century of women fighting for equal treatment.
One of us is a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company, two of us are practicing attorneys, and another is an anesthesiologist who serves our local hospitals. All of us have served one or more terms in the Georgia state legislature, and we are all proud moms.
We are proud of the work we do for our clients, our patients, and our constituents. But perhaps we are most proud of our roles as mothers, and the positive example we set for our children every day.
Working moms make up nearly half of this country’s workforce. Yet Ms. Silcox, a candidate for state office, is actively campaigning on the notion that working mothers are somehow unfit to take on the jobs and roles women have actually worked decades to achieve.
It is appalling to us that, in the 21st century, Deborah Silcox would choose to demean the working mothers of this state solely to advance her candidacy for elected office. During a time when women still continuously fight for equality, Silcox’s mailer perpetuates an outdated and out-of-touch message that women cannot be both career women and mothers. Such a statement would be unacceptable in any setting in corporate America, and it is reprehensible that Ms. Silcox believes it appropriate as a means to campaign for public office.
Perhaps the most offensive part is the message this mailer sends to our daughters and granddaughters in this state. Those of us with daughters have taught them that they can be or do anything they want if they work hard. Deborah Silcox just told them they can’t accomplish their work goals if they’re going to have children. She is telling them that they must choose to be a mom OR work, but they can’t do both. Well, we are proof that isn’t true!
Every day, the four of us lead by example, demonstrating the importance of hard work, public service, and supporting other women. We are raising our children to do the same, not just by telling them, but by showing them the way. This is what good parenting, and good leadership, look like.
Deborah Silcox can’t lead the women of tomorrow if she is still living in the 1950s.