CONGRATULATIONS to Mary Stengel Austen for winning the Chamber of Commerce Paradigm Award and to the

Daily News

for its article on her wonderful achievements.

As a mother of five and with the support of her husband, she has risen to prominence in female leadership.

Not to take anything away from Austen, but while reading the nice and deserved profile, I wondered if there's a double standard when it comes to praising her: the DN would never do that for another female who succeeded in a similar situation.

Imagine a mother of five, one disabled, with a supportive husband, who worked hard and rose to running a state and juggling a family, too. She became an exaggerated focus of media ridicule instead of being praised for her accomplishments.

Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president and, of the four people in the campaign, she was unfairly ripped to shreds, even though she had achievements similar to Austen's.

I guess when you are a Republican female politician, hard work and accomplishments don't matter because you're painted as a stupid, religious radical gun nut. Oh, well, politics as usual. I can't wait for the double-standard replies back to my letter, which is about achievement, not politics.

John Kensil, Philadelphia