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Raising the ante

Gender issues never seem to fade from the news. Since the women's movement helped create more opportunities in the workplace, women have had more choices. They've gradually taken jobs traditionally held by men, such as police officer (see cover story, right) and lieutenant governor (see page13).

But these women, who follow trails blazed by pioneering feminists, still encounter obstacles - some of which are more complex than those their sisters faced.

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Today, a woman's struggle isn't as much getting into the game, as staying on top of it.

As a young journalist in the mid-1980s, I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer, period. The few instances of patronizing behavior that came my way were quickly forgotten.

Around the newsroom, women held practically every post, including, at that time, editor.

It's a long way from the steno pool to an editor's chair, and I realize that I owe my predecessors a great debt.

Now that I have a household to run and a toddler to raise, the world looks a bit different. With more choices than my mother had, I feel grateful on the one hand, and burdened on the other.

Having more options, I've found, is not always the boon it was supposed to be. Working outside the home is a tremendous privilege, but how do I measure the cost to my family? Do my co-workers harbor doubts that I am pulling my weight? Do I judge myself too harshly, by a set of impossible standards?

The ante has been upped for working women, not so much to gain acceptance, but to prove themselves day in, day out.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society