Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blast from the Past:
Chicago Tribune Article

In 2002, while living in Chicago, I was contacted by the Chicago Tribune and asked for information on Mormon women. Below are a excerpts from the article:

Perceptions of Mormon Women Miss the Mark, Some Experts Say
February 13, 2002. By Lisa Bertagnoli. Special to the Chicago Tribune.

With the Olympic spotlight on Salt Lake City, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is choosing to stay largely in the background. Some assume that's nothing new for the women of the church, but members and experts say that assumption is just one of many myths about Mormons.

"Mormons are a conventional, established religious group," says Rodney Stark, a University of Washington sociologist who has studied the church extensively but is not a Mormon himself.

Yet the church's strong focus on family skews the general population's perception of Mormon women. "The emphasis on family life is protective of women, and some feminists would say that limits their options," Stark says.

Here are some common perceptions about Mormon women and the reality behind those perceptions.

Perception: Mormon women are stay-at-home moms.

Reality: Tell that to Brigitte Madrian, 35, an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the mother of two. "The biggest misconception about Mormon women is that we stay home with the kids and do what our husbands tell us to and that's our lot in life," says Madrian, who lives in Oak Park. Not so: Madrian has worked full time since finishing graduate school, taking only a few months off after the birth of her children.

For others it's a matter of choice, as it is for women who have the financial means to choose to stay home. Emi Edgley, who has a degree in business management, chooses to stay home with Ella, her 11-month-old daughter. "I had the difficult decision of continuing my career full time or taking care of the baby and I made the decision to stay at home," Edgley says. "It's a great privilege to have the ability to have childbearing and the work of family be my life's work."

Full text of the article can (still!) be found online here.

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