Everyone’s talking about this interesting read in the July/August issue of The Atlantic called, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, the former director of policy planning at the State Department from 2009-2011 and the mother of two teenagers, takes an in-depth look at the belief that today’s women can have it all. Slaughter believes they actually can’t because the only women who seem to be achieving high professional positions are either wealthy enough to employ full-time nannies, are self-employed or have flexible work hours. She still believes that women would be able have it all if America’s present economy and society structure would undergo some changes in regard to workforce norms and values.
Slaughter offers a few suggestions that could help women achieve this goal:
Make work hours flexible: This isn’t just for moms, but also for everyone. Slaughter writes that, “Balance could be better for us all.”
Redefine the arc of a successful career: Since the average life expectancy has become higher, people can have multiple careers and jobs throughout their lifetime. There will be times to focus on work and times to focus on family. What Slaughter calls “investment intervals” should be accepted. She writes, “Slowing down the rate of promotions, taking time out periodically, pursuing an alternative path during crucial parenting or parent-care years — all have to become more visible and more noticeably accepted as a pause rather than an opt-out.”
Get the men involved: Let’s face it, many of the female executives that we see would be nowhere without their partners. Men should be taking an active interest in how they can balance work and family life, too.
- Push for changes: Women in higher positions should push for more changes in the workplace and promote family-friendly policies.
What do you think of this article? Do you think women can become successful while balancing work and family life? How do you do it?