Not Just for Men: My Response to BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek jumped on the “Mormon Moment” bandwagon this week with a story entitled, “God’s MBA’s: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders.” I found the article pretty accurate based on what I know of the Church’s missionary program. However, I was disappointed that women were mentioned in the single context of stay-at-home-moms. I’m not surprised that this aspect of Mormon culture receives so much attention. I don’t feel Mormons do a great job of communicating the success of our women and the expectation that they contribute to society in ways outside our immediate families.

I know there are going to be some Mormon readers of this blog who will disagree with my point of view – and that’s OK. In fact, my objective is to represent the difference of opinion that co-exists within our faith and present a perspective missing from the BusinessWeek piece.

I didn’t grow up anywhere near Utah and I didn’t attend a Church-owned college – please don’t misinterpret snark in that comment – I’m merely pointing out the fact that I’ve never lived in a place where Mormons were a majority and I developed my religious convictions independent of Mormonism being the social norm.

I don’t believe that a woman’s responsibility to raise children, as outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, requires that she give up worthwhile goals outside the home, but I admire women who fall on both sides of this issue. My mother stayed home to raise eight children and I absolutely love and adore her for that. On the other hand, I chose to pursue a long-life career and have seen my family and the Church benefit from the talents I develop in the workplace.

For example, the women’s organization in my congregation is blessed with leadership and professional experience across multiple industries including medicine, business, finance, education, research and technology. The entire congregation benefits from the strength and faithful service of intelligent and successful women who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of improvement – in whatever venture they chose. As BusinessWeek points out – we do believe that hard work is an eternal principle and a divine characteristic.

However, contrary to what’s implied in the article, Mormon men are not the only ones who feel that way. God is pleased when we, as women, also use our talents in any capacity for good whether it is at home, at church, in our communities or in business.

Women, do you agree?

5 thoughts on “Not Just for Men: My Response to BusinessWeek

  1. Cory Huff

    iMeluny – it would be great to get a similar recap on the Mormon women who are successful in the business world. I know one woman who used to be an executive at Novel, but that’s about it.

  2. imeluny Post author

    I completely agree! As a community, I think we could be doing a much better job of publicly acknowledging successful Mormon women. Happy to compile the list here if folks want to submit names in their comments. Thanks!

    1. dksdds

      It seems that during recent decades, many members take a stance of trepidation and often dither around the subject of higher education and business success/professionalism with respect to women. The emphasis—or at least the undertone—seems to be, “There’s nothing wrong with it,” rather than, “what a wonderful and viable option to consider.”

      Being far from an expert on this matter—a mere, midwest, graduate student—I can only offer my opinion and observations. One in particular is the fact that many young adults these days are postponing marriage and families until their mid-late twenties. This isn’t our grandparent’s generation when at 19 they were married and by the time they were 21, they had a baby. Women who are not encouraged to exercise independence and attain a distinguishable skill via some educational medium are falling short of their potential. To be even more clear, many are not sacrificing families for education. They are not having kids AND not working towards higher goals.

      Why do I care enough regarding this matter I happened to stumble across on the internet to write a reply? Mainly because finding an lds girl to date who personifies passion, education, and drive is proving to be more and more difficult. There’s got to be some explanation for it—this is just my two cents worth.

      1. imeluny Post author

        Thanks for your comment! I was raised in the Midwest and most of the women I grew up with now have families AND careers. We were a pretty feisty bunch & the men in our lives quickly realized that passion, education and drive were not a la carte options of our personalities. Now in Boston, I’m surrounded by even more strong, well-educated women – so I promise they’re out there! 🙂

  3. A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman

    Great post imeluny! I had the same response after reading the article. As the mother of three daughters, and grandmother to 6 grandgirls, I am particularly sensitive to this issue. Although I was a SAHM, I’m grateful that my daughters have grown up during a time in the Church where higher education is emphasized and a choice of what to do with that education is considered personal. Each of my daughters has made personal choices and for each one it is the right one.

    I actually took the time to email Caroline Winter, the author of the article, to share a little more current perspective on LDS women today.



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