Amy Coney Barrett Breaks the Real Glass Ceiling
For women there isn't such a clear separation of work, worship, recreation, family and self-fulfillment. It’s all intertwined. This is part of the feminine genius.
I may not have been the only minivan-driving mother-of-five who works creatively inside (and outside) the home, who stared in all awe at the very serious potential that the next Supreme Court justice might very well be another a minivan-driving mom who serves creatively outside (and inside) the home. A mom who works every day to balance family life, marriage and the God-given gifts she shares with the rest of the world every day.
It's not that women haven't been in high positions before. There have even been other women who were Supreme Court justices. But something is very different this time. The glass ceiling is usually broken by cultural feminists, and not those who are feminine in the proper sense of the word. In a culture where androgyny is prized over complementarity, and feminism over femininity, it is truly an unprecedented thing for a minivan mom to become a Supreme Court justice. She was nominated for her feminine genius — not her feminist genius. She was nominated for her genuine love and incredible knowledge of the American Constitution — not a flavor-of-the-day, biased, personal interpretation.
Why is there so much vitriol against Amy Coney Barrett from the extreme left? Because at the very core of who she is, she exposes the lie that’s at the heart of extreme feminism. The lie that says if you’re more like a man and less like a woman then you “have it all.” She appears to “have it all” but her feminine attributes are not culturally feminist at all. When you look at her family you realize that abortion is not necessary for women to live out their full potential.
You see, over the years the glass ceiling has been broken only for those who are more like men — but not for those who are more like women. This has not been progress, and one could even say that it’s oppression and patriarchy. True feminism, when properly understood, prioritizes the God-given rights of women to share their feminine genius with the world in impactful ways while at the same time empowering them to be mothers and wives. This is true progress. This is where Amy Coney Barrett is breaking through a ceiling that has yet to be broken.
Mary Ann Glendon reflected on the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II in his letter on the dignity of women, Mulieris Dignitatem, at the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing:
In particular, every effort must be made to avoid presenting marriage, motherhood, the family, and religion in a negative way that would subject women to new forms of social injustice and new affronts to human dignity. To affirm the dignity and rights of all women requires respect for the roles of women whose quest for personal fulfillment is inseparably linked to their commitments to God, family, neighbor, and especially to their children.
One could say that Amy Coney Barrett understands her service to her family, her country and her God are intertwined. For women there isn't such a clear separation of work, worship, recreation, family and self-fulfillment. It is all intertwined. This is part of the feminine genius.
How can we make progress? Again as Mary Ann Glendon so beautifully proposes — society must give women equal opportunities and not punish them for being working mothers.
Justice for women in the workplace requires attention not only to compensation and advancement, but also to the situation of working mothers, including the problems of women who head families along. Effective action on behalf of working mothers in turn requires a people-centered economics. For so long as society is organized solely according to the criteria of efficiency, motherhood will often be penalized, and real equality for women will prove elusive. By the same token, the choices of women who have elected to work in the family must be fully respected, and their contributions should receive recognition in economic terms.
Ultimately if women are penalized for working and sharing their God-given feminine genius with the world, the world misses out. The glass ceiling will not be broken and only women who believe the androgynous lie will influence society, media, culture and history.
- amy coney barrett