From opposite ends of the earth come two tales of pregnancies in high places that are shaking up a man's world.
In Japan, news that the crown princess "appears" to be pregnant has led to "concern" that the baby might be a girl. The emperor's family has not produced a male heir for more than three decades, and the public has waited eight years for this pregnancy.
A reformist (and male) prime minister wants to amend the Constitution to allow a woman to reign over one of the world's oldest monarchies. (An empress last ruled Japan in 1771.)
In less-regal Massachusetts, meanwhile, Acting Gov. Jane Swift is due to deliver twins very soon. A Republican, she is the first pregnant governor in the nation's history. Last week, she ran a high-level meeting by speakerphone from her hospital bed. Alas, her Democratic rivals claimed the law required her to be physically present. They planned to ask the state's high court for a ruling.
In both these cases, a "glass ceiling" - either constitutional or mental - is keeping women from serving in high positions. But being either female or pregnant should not be limiting.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor