Michelle Obama & Newsweek’s Power Women.

cover2.jpg

Michelle Obama, high-level Chicago hospital administrator, mom of two and wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, recently spoke with a small group of women in

New Hampshire . The subject? The challenges working mothers face today. Blogger Brian “Cosmo” Lawson quoted Obama as saying, “We’re all just barely keeping our heads above water.” Noting that she does her own shopping (Target’s a regular destination), attends children’s soccer games and had to figure out what she was going to do about her daughters’ Halloween costumes, all while trying to help her husband win the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama added, “I’m struggling with a career.”

 

Juxtapose Harvard Law School graduate Obama’s comments with the recent Newsweek cover story , “Women & Power: Do Women Really Lead Differently Than Men? Lessons From the Front.” Clearly something is going on. Women -- successful and powerful women -- are loudly speaking out and telling the world that trying to have flourishing careers PLUS shouldering a disproportionate burden of the child-rearing and housework isn’t easy (or even simultaneously possible), and that no one individual really corners the market on how to do it “the right way.” Because there is no one right way.

 

After reading Newsweek’s profiles of politicians, academics, athletes, businesswomen, actresses, philanthropists, Hollywood writers/producers, scientists and civic activists, I found them to be inspiring. There was a distinct potency to reading this collection of diverse stories – about women who climbed the traditional corporate ladder, who took off-ramps, who were at-home parents, who became entrepreneurs or took avenues they never imagined they’d venture when their lives took unpredictable turns. Women’s civic and business power, the Newsweek package seemed to be saying, comes in different forms than traditional male power. And there isn’t one definite manner of getting it.