A Woman’s Place


I remain devastated by the recent election, in part for how it relates to being a woman.  Much has been said about the message Hillary Clinton’s loss sends to young girls.  But what about me?  What about other women my age?  What about the message her loss sends to us?

I’ve always worked.  From the time of my college graduation, which coincided with my now almost 50-years-long marriage, I held a job.  I was the one who got the graduate degree while working part-time to pay the rent while my husband focused solely on getting his law degree.  When said degree translated into endless hours in the office, I raised our children largely alone, cooked and cleaned and paid the monthly bills.  When money was tight, I worked to help pay those bills, even with three children at home.  When marital challenges arose, I made the concessions good wives make.  As a homemaker, I sacrificed female friendship, a.k.a. lunches with friends and girls’ weekends, for the sake of making sure my family had clean clothes and hot dinners.  As a writer, I worked around the kids’ schedules, typing away at dawn, during school hours, and late into the night.  I was chronically exhausted.   But I must have done something right, because my three children are now gainfully-employed men with solid marriages and children of their own.

My story isn’t unique.  I’ve heard similar ones from other women who never expected to have careers but simply did what had to be done.  These women were on the front lines of the work-home struggle.  And where are we now?

I’m 71.  All these years later, I thought things had changed.  I thought women were finally on equal footing with men.  I thought we had earned that right.

Apparently not.  Apparently we’re only good as wage earners when it benefits someone else.  Apparently our work is appreciated only until it threatens the status quo.

Call me self-pitying, but there it is.  I feel used.  Isn’t this what today’s Women’s Strike is about?  Are we truly indispensable?

Every woman I ask claims that given her qualifications, had Hillary been male, she would have won the election.   Every man I ask waffles.  Well, he says, I don’t know.  You have to admit, he says, that she isn’t warm and fuzzy.  You have to admit, he says, that she is ambitious.

Here we are, in 2017, and this is how they see the world?  I remain stunned by that.  I thought America was better.  I thought we were more enlightened, more respectful.  Apparently I’ve been living in an alternate universe – one where intelligence is valued and hard work rewarded – where honesty is key, and religion means decency – where cream rises to the top.

I’m an optimist.  But the loss I feel now, as a woman, is profound.  Will I stop working in protest?  I considered doing it for the sake of solidarity. But I love writing.  No man tells me to do it.  Actually, women do.  I write for many reasons, but prime among them is that my audience appreciates — no, waits for each book I write.  My readers make me feel valued.

That’s it.  You all make me feel valued.

Of the many books I’ve had published, consider one from 1997.  It’s about a woman whose successful career so threatens her husband’s ego that he sues for divorce and custody of the kids.  My own title for it was When Being Everything Wasn’t Enough.  My publisher instead chose A Woman’s Place.

A woman’s place.  Talk about irony?

Of my nine grandchildren, five are girls.  They are being raised to value education and hard work, are being taught to take initiative and accept responsibility.  At 4:30 in the morning on the day after the election, one of my sons texted to say, “Mom, what do I tell my daughter?”  He is an educator, and after saying something to his five-year-old, he had to say something to his students.

I didn’t have an answer then.  I still don’t.



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  1. Barbara on March 8, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I totally understand how you feel. I am 68. I have worked since I was 16. I still work. I am fortunate to work for a company and a person who values and respects me. I know that I am lucky in that way. I came to work today. But, I also know that society in general does not respect who I am and what I have accomplished. So, today I wear red.

  2. Savilla Silverman on March 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Wow! Another reason you are my favorite author. You have just described a version of my life. At one point, I even found myself in a computer class for.”displaced housewives”. I was married, my child was 8 yrs. old and I needed to return to work. Still married after 47 years. Thank you for so many things. Please keep writing

  3. Judy on March 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I totally understand how you are feeling . I think there are many thousands of us that feel not valued by our countries’ leaders. My grandaughters are asking also. They’re only 8 and 14, and I tell them it’s still possible and we (women) will break that ceiling, but it will take longer as now we have to teach not only the leaders but some women what to value! Some are selfish, some are greedy, and there are those that are just plain slow!!!

  4. Marcia Richards on March 8, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Many of us experienced the same lifestyle as you and it made us smarter, stronger and more capable to handle almost anything that was thrown at us. However I disagree that the current administration is going to have much of a negative effect on women in the long run. At least no more so than many previous administrations. In my opinion,HRC would have made things far worse. Her campaign speeches were geared to the soft spots in women’s hearts knowing she could hook women that way. She led a less than stellar life, made horrible decisions throughout her life that led to her demise in the election. She was not the best role model for women for so many reasons.
    Many women may not be happy with Trump as president, but we will all survive it and come out even stronger for our efforts.
    I’m seriously tired of hearing people talk as though it will be a devastating four years. No one can know right now how it will pan out. There’s no need for panic or fear or sadness. He might surprise the women of our country. He might not. Bottom line: we’ll still be here. Women will still voice their opinions, make their voices heard and make a difference. That won’t change. Take heart in the fact that women are far better off in many ways than we were 50, 100 or 200 years ago and we keep progressing.

  5. Carol J. Garvin on March 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    As a Canadian I stood on the sidelines during your election. It was like watching a bad reality television show! At first I thought he was a joke candidate. Later, I was stunned at how a man of such questionable character and political inexperience could end up as president. While Hillary Clinton carried her own baggage, she was far more qualified for the position, and her loss spoke volumes about society’s attitude towards strong women.

    There have been many positive changes for women in this century — they’re accepted in more areas of the workplace, many receive fair pay for the work they do — but it doesn’t seem like the underlying attitudes have changed very much. And THAT is disappointing. Your new president appears to like it that way, so for at least the next four years women are going to have to do constant battle just to maintain the status quo or end up losing everything they have gained.

  6. Karen on March 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Having worked in the corporate world from 1969 until 2004, I know very well how women are not equal in the corporate world. In some Christian religions, the man is superior and the congregation is advised as such. On a personal basis, I know too that women are not treated fairly by businesses, etc. I applied many, many years ago for a credit card and was approved BUT they sent my husband a credit card too without his applying and send correspondence to him. What does that tell you?

    Hillary Clinton is now speaking out to other women to get them to go into politics if they are interested. The U.S. needs this. Male-run politics speaks for itself.

    Thank you Barbara for sharing your story with us. I hope that you will continue to voice your opinions on today’s politics and issues.

  7. Linda Walters on March 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I read your post and it made me sad that you are devastated over Hillary Clinton’s loss. I am your fan and appreciate your gift of words. I appreciate the many books and the hours I have shared with your characters. Thank you for all the great stories. I am 69. I entered the work force when it was a man’s world, but I have always been treated with respect. I progressed in my career by hard work, gratitude and values. I understood what the job entailed and did what was necessary to be the best I could be in that position. Wages and opportunities have improved for women. Do you think men have an easy life? If you do, maybe you should interview 30 of them from all walks of life and let them tell you their story. We are human, man and woman. We view the world through our own experiences. Maybe you should interview 30 successful women and let them tell you their stories. Hillary Clinton lost, not because she is a woman, but because she is not the candidate the middle class wanted. Instead of stating how she would be a great leader she chose instead to label the middle class with terrible pronouns. Why would you vote for a person that calls you names after you pay taxes, volunteer, donate and do whatever it necessary to help those less fortunate. Hillary Clinton is a globalist. Many of us want our own country, the same as Europe. Why would anyone want to give control of the world to the United Nations comprised of 300 people with the goal of only 1 billion people on earth? George Soros and his open society would be interesting in a novel. Why do the elitists think they have the right to rule mankind?

    If the United States continues to thrive, we will have a woman president, but she will be elected based on her love of United States and her citizens, not how to get rich by supporting the likes of George Soros. There is a strong woman with values that will be a great leader for the United States. When she steps forward the voters will know.

    I wish you continued success. Once you count all that you have to be grateful for, I am sure you will no longer be devastated.

    • Barbara Delinsky on March 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Linda, my thanks for your loyal readership and for the time you took to pen this thoughtful note. I am replying for precisely these reasons.

      Please know, first, that I have always counted my blessings, and they are many. My mother died of breast cancer when I was eight. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I take nothing for granted — nothing — not the least being the needs of people less fortunate than I. I have talked with many, many men and women. I’ve listened to their stories, and felt their joy and their pain on matters of family, health, work, and politics. When I write something in a book or a blog, I do my homework, which leads to my second point.

      For every argument you make, there is a counter-argument. For every devil you see on my side, I see a devil on yours. Which view is right? You say yours, I say mine. You totally believe yours, I totally believe mine. This is the basis of polarization, and I see no way out at this time.

      Perhaps in the future? I pray it will be so.

      • Linda Walters on March 8, 2017 at 6:28 pm

        Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. The loss of one so beloved never goes away and not a day goes by without remembering and longing. I am happy you are a breast cancer survivor. My daughter and two of my dearest friends are also survivors. I celebrate and carry them with me always. Please know I have great respect for you. I wish you joy.❤️

        • Barbara Delinsky on March 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

          Joy to you as well, Linda. And thank you for your kind response. The fact that you and I can write back and forth with respect gives me hope!

  8. Rebekah on March 8, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I agree with you. And I fwel sad that something my mother told me many years ago is still true. Sometimes women are our own worst enemies. This is a dark time and peopke are already losing significant rights and freedoms. I am very glad my vote wasn’t one of the ones who put this travesty into motion. One day we will.all look back, just as many Germans did, and wonder how this could.have happened.

  9. Gail Wire on March 9, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Oh, Barbara, don’t let the externals overshadow your optimism. I am 76, have worked since I was 15 and spend 37 of those work years as an Equal Employment Opportunity Manager (20 of those career years as a Federal Women’s Program Manager) in the Federal Civil Service. I look around and initially was so very disappointment to see all the work for not… then a wonderful thing happened… the women’s march… a mix of race, sex, and the economic, and cultural social strata of America all in stepping out together, all working for the ideal of equality for all. Lady, my work was not in vain and my daughter’s generation and my grandson’s generation is standing up and being counted. We have not lost this race and now we never will. The pendulum WILL swing back and we WILL come out better for all this, understanding our laws our rights and our American dream better than ever before. I have faith in America and Americans. They sparkle, lots of them really sparkle.

  10. Brenda on March 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for having the courage of your convictions. I would imagine they most of America has now
    Had a wake up call!! How do we explain to our granddaughters what has happened? Not that a woman was not elected but the other comments about women! This is a sad sad time in our nation.
    I would propose that many who voted did not vote issues but voted party!! I absolutely admire you for standing up for what is right!!!!

  11. Brenda on March 11, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    To those who replied that this administration does not have a negative effect on women-do you listen to whet is being said? Do you read the comments?

  12. Angie Fernandez on March 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I could not vote for either candidate, because of who and what they stand for. I was disappointed and appalled at our choices as Americans and as a woman in the past election. Hillary is a good role model, really? She is power hungry and willing to do anything to get what she wants. Including lying, cheating and standing by while her husband does the same. Are we that desperate to see a woman in the white house? I hope not.

    • Barbara Delinsky on March 14, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Angie, thank you for this post. Sadly, it is emblematic of the polarization that has gripped America. Your description of Hillary? Substitute the name Donald, and you have a truth held by many, many, many Americans. How do we get beyond this?

  13. Brenda on March 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I admire you and appreciate your honesty.
    You are gifted and talented and have written so many
    Good and important books-keep it up!

  14. Joy Denton on March 18, 2017 at 6:04 am

    The results of the 2016 election astonished, astounded, and horrified me. It’s been several months since but I continue to feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode that never ends. I’m unable to work due to contracting Fungal Meningitis from a epidural steroid injection contaminated with fungus (black mold) in 2012. Work was part of who I am. Providing computer support to college students in an academic department supporting life sciences students felt as if I was contributing to their education. In order to avoid cabin fever on steroids (small pun) I turned to reading books which I never had time for while working. I’ve read about 300 books per year since 2013. When the election resulted with a loss to our country’s standing in the world, reading books has been even more essential.

    I’ve read through many authors and recently started reading your books. I especially enjoy your earliest works but each one has been a journey in understanding better how we make decisions and their consequences intended or not. Your characters have great depth and the plots and conflicts which any story needs are tightly wound and for me at least require patience to “see” a story through. In other words, these stories are not the typical happy-ever-after instead are often a learning experience in peeling aside all the layers of a character “good” or “bad”.

    I just wanted to thank you for what you’ve given to readers. It’s a gift that keeps on giving I’m certain as many find your books and become fans as well.

    • Barbara Delinsky on March 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Thank you for these kind words, Joy. My heart goes out to you!

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