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Letter: Poetic sexism

When I ran for governor back in 1992, I used to share this poem with audiences because I understood change (electing the first woman governor) was not going to be easy.

Today, in 2014, when women control every major political office in New Hampshire including the position of New Hampshire Supreme Court chief justice, I would like to publicly share this poem with Manchester Republican Rep. Will Infantine. Apparently gender stereotypes still dominate the landscape.

Impressions from an Office

The family picture is on his desk.

Ah, a solid, responsible family man.

The family picture is on her desk.

Um, her family will come before her work.

His desk is cluttered.

He’s obviously a hard worker and a busy man.

Her desk is cluttered.

She’s obviously a disorganized scatterbrain.

He is talking with his co-workers.

He must be discussing the latest deal.

She is talking with her co-workers.

She must be gossiping.

He’s not at his desk.

He must be at a meeting.

She’s not at her desk.

She must be in the ladies room.

He’s not in the office.

He’s meeting a customer.

She’s not in the office.

She must be out shopping.

He’s having lunch with the boss.

He’s on his way up.

She’s having lunch with the boss.

They must be having an affair.

The boss criticized him.

He’ll improve his performance.

The boss criticized her.

She’ll be very upset.

He got an unfair deal.

Did he get angry?

She got an unfair deal.

Did she cry?

He’s getting married.

He’ll get more settled.

She’s getting married.

She’ll get pregnant and leave.

He’s having a baby.

He’ll need a raise.

She’s having a baby.

She’ll cost the company money in maternity benefits.

He’s going on a business trip.

It’s good for his career.

She’s going on a business trip.

What does her husband say?

He’s leaving for a better job.

He knows how to recognize a good opportunity.

She’s leaving for a better job.

Women are not dependable.



Legacy Comments1

Please forgive the author of the poem is Natasha Josefowitz (note the UNH connection) who earned her master’s degree at age forty and her PhD at age fifty. She was on the faculty of the business school at the University of New Hampshire and San Diego State University. She is a noted columnist and the author of seventeen books. Dr. Josefowitz is an internationally-known speaker, having lived and worked abroad and in the U.S. For ten years, she had her own weekly radio broadcast and a weekly television segment. Her efforts on behalf of women have earned her numerous awards, including The Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center.

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