Feature: Technorati Women/Career & Money

What Virginia's Legalized Rape Laws Means for Women in Business

Author: Leslie L. Kossoff
Published: February 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

What was considered to be a legislative slam dunk - that the women of Virginia, when choosing to have an abortion, would be mandated to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound (aka, legalized rape) - isn't such a sure thing anymore.

Once Virginia's Governor Robert McDonnell, who has hopes of being asked to be the Vice Presidential nominee, realized the kind of press he was getting for intending to sign that legislation into law, he backpedaled. Fast.

Going back into one of those backroom, boys-only meetings, he came up with an alternative. Sort of. The ultrasound didn't have to be transvaginal. It still had to happen - just taken from the exterior.

All better. Right?

Wrong. On a number of fronts.

The real problem with this legislation - as well as the "Personhood Bill" the Virginia legislature is also pursuing - is that the underlying logic is that women don't know enough or can't think clearly enough to make a decision on their own. At least not a good one. Or the right one.

So the women need help. From men. Who know what's best for everyone.

Or so their legislative agenda - not just in Virginia but in GOP-led States across the country - would lead one to think.

And it's that same underlying logic that women are up against when they try to break through the glass ceiling to enter the executive suite and the Boardroom. The unspoken assumption is that women aren't smart, capable, savvy, experienced or something enough to be trusted with the good of the company and its shareholders' money.

There's no merit to that thinking, of course. And it would never be admitted. But if there's one thing that this Virginia legislative debacle has brought into clear relief, it is exactly that unspoken, never-admitted thinking.

What we're seeing are the actions that come as a result - with the outcome that women aren't given the opportunities to create or profit as much as men.

For women, this is a wake-up call in your personal life as well as your professional life. Just as you stand up for yourself to protect your right to control your own medical care and the decisions you make about your own body, stand up for your rights as a capable, talented, smart, savvy decision-maker who deserves the corner suite just as much as any guy.

In fact, given the caliber of the decisions being made by this bunch, you deserve it much, much more.


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Article Author: Leslie L. Kossoff

Founder and CEO of Leadership Quantified (http://leadershipquantified.com). Former Executive Advisor to executives and entrepreneurs ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50s worldwide. Author of two books...and counting. Paris, music and book lover. …

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