'First Lady' Role: It's 'Sexist,' Needs to Go

It's outdated, and hurts women: Nabila Ramdani

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2014 12:43 PM CST

(Newser) – It may be time to do away with the "feeble, sexist, and outdated" role of first lady, writes Nabila Ramdani in the Guardian. Look at Valérie Trierweiler: Upon learning that her partner, French President François Hollande, was having an affair, she spent eight nights in the hospital—during which time Hollande spent just 30 minutes with her. Now, aides are saying he plans to ditch Trierweiler and make his actress lover the new first lady. But even less extreme cases illustrate how terrible this position can be, Ramdani writes.

For example, Michelle Obama gave up her career (and her salary) as a lawyer to be "hostess of the White House," carrying out a few—usually "shallow"— official tasks. The UK's Samantha Cameron left her career behind as well, despite the fact that she's not even an official first lady. "First ladies around the world are largely required to be presentable escorts when called upon, and to make their husbands look good," writes Ramdani. "Thus highly educated, talented women ... are effectively told to suspend their careers to become state-sponsored ladies who lunch." Click for her full column.

In this Tuesday, May. 7, 2013, file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, and his companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool, File)
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