Superwoman of the White House: Dr. Jill Biden Can Do It All


Dr. Jill Biden has set the precedent for having a full-time job in conjunction with her role as first lady.

In recent history, women have been able to step out of their traditional role of caretaker to pursue their passions and a career. However, women putting aside their career aspirations to raise a family so their partners can pursue their dreams is a sacrifice still seen today. By making it a priority to continue to teach, first lady Jill Biden, who has one of the most underappreciated roles in the U.S. government, is setting an example for women everywhere.

Jill Biden will be continuing her occupation as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, an educational role that should be highly respected in this unprecedented time. Dr. Biden will be the first first lady to have a full-time job outside of the White House.

The role of first lady has changed drastically throughout history. The title originated as that of the hostess for the White House, handling social events for dignitaries and photo ops for special events. Many first ladies also served as trusted advisors to their Presidents, albeit in an unofficial capacity.

The Clinton presidency saw a shift in expectation. Bill Clinton would often joke on the campaign trail, “Vote for me and get two for the price of one.” Hillary Clinton endured heat while under the spotlight, saying, “I suppose I could have stayed home baked cookies and had tea, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.”

As First Lady, Clinton used her platform to advocate for universal healthcare, children’s issues and women’s rights worldwide. Michelle Obama continued on the path of expanding the role of FLOTUS, being the nation’s first woman of color first lady, advocating for healthy lifestyles and veterans, and acting as “Mom In Chief” with her parenting platform. 

What used to be seen as simply the president’s wife is now a powerful platform of its own. Throughout recent presidencies, the role of first lady has grown and developed into more than a superficiality. Dr. Biden is continuing that pattern.

Dr. Biden earned two master’s degrees and received her doctorate in 2007 before starting work at Northern Virginia Community College in 2009.

“Teaching isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am,” says Jill Biden. Why should Dr. Biden give up what she loves most in this world for the occupation her husband’s occupation? She shouldn’t, and she will not. Dr. Biden has said it will be difficult, but she’s going to try to balance life in the White House and in the classroom.

The Wall Street Journal published an article in December 2020 diminishing Dr. Biden’s degree and profession. The writer, Joseph Epstein, addressed Dr. Biden as “kiddo” throughout the article, degrading and dismissing her hard earned title. Epstein asked her to forget about her title and the occupation she loves to just be the first lady. This repulsive mindset is exactly what Dr. Jill Biden is working to change. 

Dr. Biden’s example of fulfilling the role of first lady and leading a separate career can change the expectation that the first lady should always be at the side of the president. Her accomplishments should not be diminished, but held up and respected in society. This repulsive article is the exact mindset against which Dr. Biden inspires other women to revolt.

Jill Biden is continuing to do what she loves. In the past, first ladies would often quit their jobs to work by the president’s side. Jill Biden is destroying this narrative to show it’s possible to be there for family while remaining a working professional. 

To women and girls around the world, this act is empowering. Dr. Biden models the importance of creating a path and life of your own and that no matter what, you never have to live in the shadow of a man. Dr. Biden clearly does not need to be working, but it’s something she is passionate about, and this career makes her who she is. Her dedication to continue what she loves even if it brings challenges is an inspiration. Our first lady can do it, and so can you.

Keagan Ostop, FCRH ’25, is a journalism major from West Hartford, Connecticut.