Thursday, January 24, 2008

Women CAN Have It All: A Meteorologist's Story

Today Prof. Seymore mentioned that one of her daughters dreams of being a meteorologist. It reminded me of a newspaper article that my mother recently sent me (my mother is a daily newspaper reader and often clips out stories that she thinks I'd like to read.) The title of this one is "KESQ Forecster finds life in LQ sunny and warm." It is about a woman who seemingly has it all, which ties into a class discussion we had last week about women bringing home the bacon and frying it, too. It appears that this is an example of a woman who truely does that. Ginger Jeffries is a television meteorologist in La Quinta, CA. She is 35 years old and has been working as a meteorologist on the local news for at least 7 years (exact time not specified.) She has two children, ages 5 and 7, whom she home schools. She does "regular" mom stuff like taking her kids to the park and to see Hannah Montana. She is also active in her church and community. On top of all this, she plans to earn a Ph.D in atmospheric science.

I often wonder whether we have to choose between being "Super Mom" and having a successful, serious career (judging "successful, serious" with the same measuring stick men use. I know, law students the world 'round recite, "What measuring stick? Define the standard." Ney. Stop being so analytical.) The point is, having it all is possible.

I hope this story makes us all feel a little "sunny and warm." After all the discussion and reading about clashes between women and the law/society, this story presents a positive model and hopefully will inspire optimism in us all.


malinda said...

You're making some great points, and I love it that it's a meteorologist! Maybe Zoe's dream of being a meteorologist, a mom, a princess, a ballerina, and a teacher are within reach!

I agree that INDIVIDUAL women can have it all, but there is a difference in pointing to exceptional women who can compete equally with average men, and dealing with the realities of life for "women as a group."

And what is the cost of "having it all" for women? Is it similar to the cost for men?

ehamilton said...

There is a reason why this story was news worthy: she is an individual exception. However, I think this woman is not entirely a species of her own. While her life is still not the rule for women and may never be (for various reasons), she is an example of what is possible today. Thinking about my mother or grandmother's generations, women have many more choices as far as careers and lifestyles nowadays.

50 years ago, the cost for this woman may have been great. She worked on-air while so pregnant that she said her belly covered Texas on the map! Some people would have considered this improper back in the day. The station may have asked her to leave because she was not credible as a newsperson while pregnant (that's not so far fetched.) Societal pressures may have convinced her to quit and stay home full time. Her husband may have demanded that she be home at night instead of working so that she could tend to him, cook dinner, keep the kids out of his way while he relaxed, etc. It seems that women as a group are paying at least less of a cost now than what we have in the past, and I find the progress encouraging.

Davidm said...

What about her failed marriage? The fact that her colleagues can't stand her? I guess you do get to "have it all."

Gary D in the Desert said...

In response to DavidM's comment "What about her failed marriage? The fact that her colleagues can't stand her?": All indications are that Ms. Jeffries is highly respected and perhaps one of if not the major draw to her news organization. Does anyone who wants the best & most comprehensive meteorlogic report (that's the weather report & forecast from a "real" meteorologist, not a person who just reads the weather)- really give a rats butt about the state of her marriage? And as any successful person knows, "collegues" often have their own ambitions and sniping about the chief in an attempt to climb the knives those overly-ambitious try to stick in the backs of others is nothing new. Just always consider the source and their motivation.

After 7 years watching them all, Ms. Jeffries remains the most accurate in her forecasts and with a style that makes it all easy to understand without sounding condescending. All of this coming from one with significant undergrduate and post-grad work in meteorology, specifically aviation-related weather research & its practical application. Bottom Line: Ginger Jeffries rates side-by-side with Gary England (in OKC where accurate weather reports frequentlty mean life or death).