The official word is that Vargas is leaving the demanding job for another: mother of a 3-year-old and a child due this summer. "For now, for this year, I need to be a good mother," she said on Friday. After the second child arrives, she'll return to coanchor "20/20." Charles Gibson has replaced her on "World News Tonight."
But three leading women's groups aren't so sure that that's the whole story. NOW has joined with the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Council of Women's Organizations to protest Vargas' departure. In a letter sent Monday to ABC, they characterize Vargas' move to "20/20" as a "clear demotion" and "a dispiriting return to the days of discrimination against women that we thought were behind us.". . . NOW president Kim Gandy finds the whole thing fishy: "It seems unlikely to me, having survived and thrived through her first pregnancy, that she would logically give up the top job in TV a few months out, anticipating she couldn't handle it."
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Vargas, for her part, suggests that because her situation is unique, it should not necessarily be taken as bad news for all women. Not only is she the first person to get pregnant while working as lead anchor, but -- remember -- her former coanchor, Bob Woodruff, was critically injured in Iraq. . . The "20/20" job is more predictable and less demanding, she said.
NOW still isn't buying it. "If she can't have it all," said Gandy, "who among us could?"
What kind of horrible woman decides to stay at home with her kids for a couple of years and what kind of sick society allows it over feminist objections?