Copyright © 2003 Henrietta W. Hay
The Last Two Weeks
June 13, 2003
We've had a couple of interesting weeks for women, a mixture of good and
The worst, of course, came out of Washington. They finally did it after
years of trying. With both Houses of Congress controlled by
"compassionate conservatives", and a President ready to sign, they took
the "compassion" part away from women and their doctors, leaving the
political "conservative" part. I agree that "partial birth abortion"
is a gruesome procedure, but I seriously believe that the medical
profession is better able to decide whether and when it is essential to
use it than a bunch of highly partisan politicians. But now we have
one more piece chipped out of Roe v. Wade and American women's right to
control their own bodies. We'll have to wait and see what the Supreme
Then there was the appalling "Powder Puff" girls touch football game
outside Chicago. I like what Kathleen Parker, a rational conservative
columnist with whom I agree fairly often, said about it. "What I saw
in the film wasn't tough girls taking it like Marines but a complete
breakdown of inhibition and all the other painstakingly stitched manners
that keep civilization from unraveling."
On a lighter note, we had a Swedish born golfer, educated at the
University of Arizona, who accepted a sponsor's exemption to the PGA
TOUR event, the Bank of America Colonial, at storied Colonial Country
Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Oh yes, the player was a woman, Annika
Sorenstam. Her entry represents the first by a woman in a men's event
since the legendary Babe Didrickson Zaharias in 1945. Of course there
was protest, but Annika drew huge crowds, mostly favorable. She didn't
make the cut, but she played top quality golf and tied four male PGA
professionals and beat 11 others. She asked no favors, played with
grace -- and great skill -- and most of the men agreed with one of her
co-players, Steve Elkington who said, "You know, Dan, this gal's got a
lot of class." She is one more fine example of the value to women
athletes that has resulted from Title IX.
Then there was the French Open Tennis Tournament. I nearly stood up
and cheered when two young Belgian women, the winner and the runner-up,
hugged each other at the net and then stood together, smiling at each
other and the crowd, congratulating each other, behaving with
sportsmanship and grace. I wish the Williams sisters had been watching,
but they were probably sulking in their tent! Both the famous sisters
were defeated earlier in the tournament and neither took loss
gracefully. They could take lessons from Tiger Woods and Cynthia
Cooper. Viva Belgium.
My friends may laugh me out of town, but on the rare occasion when I
don't switch fast enough, I rather like Martha Stewart's TV shows. I
don't fold napkins or make flowers out of butter, but she does those
things so easily and with a constant smile. According to the publicity,
her real personality doesn't smile much, but I do have to admire her.
She started with absolutely nothing and built a financial empire.
Whether her financial dealings are more legally serious than Kenneth
Lay's is a question. I doubt it, and hope she doesn't have to go to
jail while her male financier colleagues continue to enjoy their
millions. Oh boy -- a successful woman who fell down. Who said gender
bias is dead?
During their spring vacation most Senators politick or golf or -- well,
I don't know what they do. But four working mothers in the Senate,
those with children school age or younger, go shopping for kids'
jeans, haul them to piano lessons and soccer games, and one of them was
the speaker at a 6th grade graduation ceremony. Senators Blanche
Lincoln, Patty Murray (the self described mom in tennis shoes), Mary
Landrieu and Lisa Murkowski spend spring break with their kids. Hope
they wore sneakers and had fun for a week