Originally published in the Weekly Standard

Volume 015, Issue 03

Somewhere between Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” and today, the modern feminist movement came to be defined by a legislative wish list. “Hear me roar” no longer; hear me demand a government handout. Government legislation such as the FMLA, Lily Ledbetter Act, and Paycheck Fairness Act has become the leading source of power for women–or at least for women’s organizations.

But Reddy’s song might be ready to make a comeback, according to the authors of Womenomics, a self-help guide for professional women trying to balance high-powered careers with everyday life. Senior national correspondent for Good Morning America Claire Shipman and BBC Washington Correspondent and news reader Katty Kay tell us, without qualification, that “women have power” and that it is, in part, because we now occupy vital positions “in numbers too big to ignore.”

When the authors write about power, they are not referring to a new bill. According to Shipman and Kay, women have real, hard-earned, measurable power that allows them “to stop juggling and struggling” and start finding a balance that fits their lifestyle. This female muscle, they claim, starts with knowing the facts. Readers might not be aware, for instance, that companies that employ more women make more money. Women account for more than half of the educated workforce. And women buy a lot of things. Employers, therefore, need female brainpower.

Knowledge of one’s worth leads to confidence. Confidence in that worth leads to power. And …

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