In politics it is essential for women with children to have strong support from their partners or help with childcare. Brundtland and Ashrawi had partners who were willing to take their turn at childcare, some women have not had children or have waited until their children were older - others have managed to combine a family and politics. All emphasise the need to to keep life in perspective and not to let politics take over as Mo Mowlam explains:
"you make sure you have a hinterland, you make sure you have something else
in life that is important. I don't have children but I have stepchildren which
I think is probably the best of both worlds. I didn't have to bring them up
and worry about dentists or school uniforms but I had the pleasure of them and
I have things I enjoy doing. I enjoy going to the cinema with my husband and
…you have to make yourself as normal as possible because if not you become addicted
to politics and forget what life is about and what other people are thinking."
"These women have really had to be exceptional in many ways, not necessarily
in themselves but in their ability to negotiate what is the burden of all women
- their domestic duties, their familial obligations, but also to step into an
arena men see as their own."