Opinion: Deborah Silcox just shamed every working mother in Georgia

Elected leaders have a responsibility to set an example for their constituents and the community at large – regardless of party affiliation. A mailer sent out this week Deborah Silcox’s campaign shames every working mother in Georgia by suggesting that women who are raising young children while pursuing active careers are not doing their jobs well.

Would she ever make such a suggestion about a man?

As women, mothers, legislators and full-time employees, we find their comments wholly inappropriate and derogatory to more than a century of women fighting for equality.

One of us is an executive at a Fortune 500 company, two of us are practicing attorneys and another is an anesthesiologist serving our local hospitals. We have all served one or more terms in the Georgia state legislature, and we are all proud mothers.

We are proud of the work we do for our customers, our patients and our constituents. But perhaps what we’re most proud of is our role as mothers and the positive example we set for our children every day.

Working mothers make up nearly half of this country’s workforce. But Ms. Silcox, a candidate for state office, actively champions the notion that working mothers are somehow unfit to fill the jobs and roles women have worked decades to attain.

It is appalling to us that in the 21st century, Deborah Silcox would humiliate this state’s working mothers just to advance her candidacy for elected office. At a time when women are still fighting for equality, Silcox’s mailer perpetuates an outdated and aloof message that women can’t be both career women and mothers. Such a statement would be unacceptable in any American corporate environment, and it is reprehensible that Ms. Silcox finds it appropriate to campaign for public office.

Perhaps the most offensive part is the message this mailer is sending to our daughters and granddaughters in this condition. Those of us with daughters have taught them that if they work hard, they can be or do anything they want. Deborah Silcox just told them that if they have children, they won’t be able to achieve their work goals. She tells them they have to choose between being a mom OR working, but they can’t do both. Well, we’re proof that’s not true!

Every day, the four of us lead by example and show the importance of hard work, public service, and the support of other women. We raise 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’s still living in the 1950’s.

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