90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Can Women Have It All?

Powerhouse Anne-Marie Slaughter says women still can’t have it all – motherhood and pure ambition. We’ll go the phones.

Anne-Marie Slaughter speaksat the PopTech 2011 conference. (Flickr/PopTech)

Anne-Marie Slaughter speaksat the PopTech 2011 conference. (Flickr/PopTech)

Powerhouse career mom Anne-Marie Slaughter went to Washington with gold-plated resume and a tip-top powerhouse job.  She knew, she told younger women coming up, that when it came to career and family, you could have it all as a woman.  And now she’s saying no, you can’t.  Not the way our workplaces and hours and expectations are set up today. For even the most high-powered, she says, it doesn’t work. Her call for us.

This hour, On Point: Anne-Marie Slaughter, and why women still can’t have it all.

-Tom Ashbrook


Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor at Princeton University, she was the Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011. Her cover story in the Atlantic magainzine is “Women Still Can’t Have It All.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic “It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.”

Huffington Post “The woman who is about to get a lot of attention for writing an article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All?” accepted her dream job three years ago, working for Hillary Clinton as the State Department’s first woman Director of Policy Planning. It was exactly the kind of influential role that Anne-Marie Slaughter (whose other firsts include a stint as the first woman to run the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton) had been aiming toward her entire career.”

The New York Times “If a woman has a sterling résumé, a supportive husband who speaks fluent car pool and a nurturing boss who just happens to be one of the most powerful women in the world herself, who or what is to blame if Ms. Supposed-to-Have-It-All still cannot balance work and family?”

Slate “If you haven’t seen it already, by day’s end you’ll probably glimpse the Atlantic’s new cover with a small child stuffed inside her mother’s briefcase. The headline: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Anyone who has contemplated the realities of adulthood at any point in the past few decades will quickly get the gist of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article: It’s hard to have kids and a career.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Roy Mac

    I heard her interview on Fresh Air yesterday.  It’s hard–men have always known it, and been demonized for knowing it.

    Of course it’s men’s faults that women can’t have it all; if it weren’t for the damned men, they could–or so the story always goes.

    And there is still Title IX and there is still EEO, after more than a generation.

    • Azra

      Forever at odds, “women are from Venus, men are from Mars. No one can ever have everything they want. Those who think they can do anything, and have everything, are unrealistic, and might have been coddled by overly-attentive parents, who spoiled them into believing that they could always have their own way, say and do as they please, and there would always be a happy ending.

      A parent who does this to their children isn’t doing them any favors. In this harsh, unforgiving world, only the strong survive, and the pampered willl have a very tough time of it. They won’tbe able to cope in the real world.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HOW MANY generations were things STACKED AGAINST women? 
         WHEN there is NO need for Title IX, and EEO, etc…, they will not be utilized.
         How many states STILL have laws on the books requiring someone to WALK in front of an automobile, carrying a lantern, or some other law that is WAY out-dated?  Give Title IX EEO, etc…, at least as much time past its necessity?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The better question to ask is whether anyone can have it “all.”  Many choices involve mutually exclusive pairs.  That’s life.  Decide what’s important to you, and go for it.  But no, you can’t have everything, and what you do have, you’ll have to earn, most of the time.

    • potter

      I would also put “it” in quotes. What is “it”?

  • potter

    I recommend AM Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic. I think it is seminal and  no wonder why it has made such waves.

    The article is addressed not only to, but primarily to, highly motivated highly educated women ( presumably highly talented women). Still I think it applies to everyone because it relates to a two parent working household as well. 

    The definition of “having it all” implied in this article is about having a career and at the same time having a good healthy family life. She says that this is not possible to do  concurrently particularly with the current social norms in the workplace and the real needs of children. I would add that much energy and love is also required along with child care, in tending to home-life. So a woman with a career, has little time for that, never mind time to tend herself (which is essential).   

  • Gregg

    Yes women can have it all… just not all at the same time.

  • Karoline

    think we also might be missing the biggest problem of all here – her
    children’s needs. There is a huge misunderstanding in our society that
    somehow, boys don’t need their moms in their teen years as much as girls
    do. That’s a big macho lie. Teen boys are going through just as
    difficult a time in adolescence as girls are. I would imagine that
    having a parent absent from one’s life Monday through Friday is very
    similar, emotionally, to experiencing your parents divorce or having a
    parent go overseas to serve in one of our endless wars. 

    forces families bond together in that experience. Who could Slaughter’s
    family bond with for support as they went through this? No one. I’ll
    bet those boys got pretty tired of explaining to their buddies why their
    mom was absent from their lives for parent conferences, sports, open
    houses and other M-F events.

    think people who have never been through raising kids or supporting
    elderly parents as they deal with their last years can’t fully
    comprehend the importance of simply being there for the people you love.
    As reporters we always say, “An interview in person is best because you
    can read facial expressions, body language, develop a better rapport,
    or experience a stronger rejection.”

    can’t all of us, male and female, comprehend that people who need us in
    their lives need us present. In the room. As much as possible.

    This is part of the joy of loving relationships, but it’s also part of the inconvenience.

    I don’t understand why Americans don’t seem to know this. It’s as if Skype and online is supposed to be good enough

    for everything now.  They’re not.

    The good part of this, that we’re not hearing, is that we have to learn anew that there is just no substitute for your mom.

    Karoline Steavenson

    • Kestral

      Very well said, Karoline. Staying home with my two young children WAS hard, and it certainly earned me no career brownie points.  That said, you could not have torn me from that job; I adored my children and wanted to be there at home raising them more than anything else.  Yes, this meant going without material things, but who cares?  If we gave more respect to this work, perhaps we would not see so many people abandoning their children for what society deems more “important” work.

      • potter

        It’s true. Now women say “I am a stay-at-home- mom” and with a little more righteousness than women could do that 20 or 30 years ago. That’s good. But is still is not enough from society who will either benefit or pay the price from this “job”- a labor of love literally. Twenty or 30 years ago if you were at a party and likely asked “and what do you do?” if a woman said “I work at home” or “I am a homemaker”, or worse, “I am a housewife”,  many would turn away and look for someone else to talk to. But if you want to look at it that way-as a job- the workplace (living in a cubicle 9-5, commuting) was certainly no better.

        Along with all the home boom purchasing, the American Dream, two earners, exhausted parents, to make the mortgage payments became necessary. Let’s talk about more than glamourous careers.  

  • Kestral

    I enjoyed Ms. Slaughter’s article, and I think she makes some excellent suggestions.  I have always said that in a perfect world both parents would do paid work part time and share the care of their children.  However, biologically speaking, since a woman has to be the one to bear and nurse the child, there needs to be some major credit given for that.  We used to honor that aspect of womanhood, and rightly so, because healthy mothers giving birth to and nurturing healthy, loved children is essential to the well-being of our species.  Sadly, now it seems to be no more than a nuisance in both the eyes of women and men. I feel sorry for our children.

  • Yar

    The most valuable thing in this life is time.  Time to think, time to love, time to care.  The desire to have it all is a false ideology.  Love being a mother, and enjoy the dose of oxytocin.  I am male and have been a house wife, although it included building the house.  I know time spent at home with my young children were the best years of my life.  
    Quit judging yourself and don’t accept the judgement of others.
    By the way, a happy mom creates a powerful perfume. 
    You can move mountains.
    Enjoy what you have, instead of wanting what you don’t.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Fellow Male Mother, I applaud your accomplishments!  AND your Attitude! 
         My children were small when their mother left.  The precarious balance between nurturing and firm leadership, etc…, moves more than a tightrope in a tornado!  I raised two decent citizens from that, chosing family over ‘career’, ‘MONEY’, the ‘guys’, etc…!  THAT was more important to me!
          Many guys choose ‘strip bars’, booze, MONEY, or other things instead of their children!  They will never know what fun they’re missing!

      • J__o__h__n

        Doesn’t referring to a male primary care giver as a “male mother” reinforce the problem?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I had to be BOTH Mother and Father, to my children!  I cannot swear that I got the choice of which is needed most at the time,  right ALL the time.  The EVIDENCE, of two law-abiding, sucessful, non-drug-addict, Citizens, that are good parents, says that I got it right MOST of the time.
             I am a Male.  I had to be a Mother to my children, because their mother left us.  I have no problem accepting that title, any more than I do Volunteer Fire Fighter, Volunteer Rescue Squad member, Volunteer Medical First Responder, Construction Worker, and the MANY other titles that have applied to me, in my life!

  • Steve

    Ms Slaughter is speaking for the 1%!

    Who says you or anyone should have it all?  Especially when the “all” seems to be a life of luxury.  (Think of the Wall Street bankers – and how they took the money and ran . . )
    Ms Slaughter’s woe would resonate more if she were working for a non-profit or running a day-care for poor woman and men.  And doing it for a minimum wage job.


    • Terry Tree Tree

      The interview I heard with Ms. Slaughter, was interesting!  Admitting that your ‘DREAM JOB’ is NOT as important as your family, is NOT a failing, in my eyes!

  • Cindy

    Please don’t forget about women who may not “want it all” but have no choice but to stay on this merry-go-round in a divorced envinronment. My life is one of planes, trains, and automobiles alternating weeks with my 12 and 14 year old boys. Sheer insanity.
    Add in the issue you will raise in the second half of your show about the “hurt” of modern love and you’ve got the double ouch of my life.

    • Bea

      Amen, Cindy but yes, there should be choices for everyone and not just between family or career.  I’ve never wanted kids and after having the experience, I’ve also discovered I don’t want a high-stress career either.  I just want to build a peaceful, happy life and for the most part, my choices tend to concern how best to spend my limited time and money to accomplish that.

    • Brettearle

      Have you seen the movie, “Up In The Air”?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Hold in there, Lady!  Many of us have survived the same kinds of problems!  YOU can TOO! 
         Are you attracted to the type of man that is going to hurt you?  BREAK that habit!  ALL men are NOT alike, the same as ALL women are NOT alike!
         Your children are getting at least some of what they NEED, parental involvement! 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    FEW people can have it all!  What percentage of men, that are ‘Captains of Industry’, have changed their childrens’ diapers, stayed up all night with a sick, or fussy child, chosen to play with their children instead of going in to  the office, or SO MANY things that would make them a FATHER, instead of the guy that puts food on the table, and gives orders?
       Rush Limbaugh, who makes MILLIONS OF DOLLARS for sitting and talking, evidently cannot have it all, because he has at least 3 divorces behind him, and has committed FRAUD many times, to get drugs!  With ALL that money?  AND was caught trying to smuggle Viagra from Canada, ‘for a friend’?  His little ‘friend’ has trouble?

  • Brettearle

    Steve, below, has it absolutely right.

    Any man, or woman, who strives for having it all are, very likely, on a fool’s errand of denial.

    There are some who CAN do it.  But, for the most part, somewhere, your game is likely failing–whether it’s as wife, husband, father, mother, caregiver for elder parents, breadwinner, successful career faltering, school issues for the children, unexpected financial worries, sudden health issues, etc.

    This program is, as Steve, suggests, an American dream for the one percent:

    the sybarites, who go the Berkshires for Yoga in their XKE’s.

  • kelty

    I’m sorry, but I cannot relate to this woman at all. Most woman don’t have “it” all and don’t have the resources to even think of having “it” all. What the heck is “it” anyways. Home, family, job, all of the above and in what order? If “It” is life, you do the best you can with what you have and you make your family the priority and work the details around that. That is your true job when you decided to have children. Children need you to love, support, & guide them into productive adulthood. End of story 

    • Brettearle

      What you say makes obvious sense.

      However, parents cannot take full responsibility–and sometimes even partial responsibility–for how their children out….whether bad, good, or a mixture. 

      • Brettearle

        “how their children TURN out”

      • kelty

        I understand what you are saying – coming from a family of 6 kids, I find it amazing to see how we all turned out differently even though we were raised in the same household with some siblings being less than kind and, sometimes, downright nasty to the others. Sometimes it is nature over nuture.
        But when you decide to become a parent, the job is to model & encourage good behavior and correct the bad. This is that much harder to do if your priorities place them at the bottom of the list. I have a son w/ ADHD and PDD/NOS(autism spectrum) and he is a handful, but with lots of love, attention, & hard work, at 14 he is polite, kind, and overall a good kid. I’m not sure that would be the case if our priorities had been different when he was younger.  

        • Brettearle

          Your example(s) are important exceptions.

          In the case of nature vs nurture, however, the nurture is not simply upbringing…..it is also environment, culture, society….what you are exposed to…..you certainly can’t control all of that….nor can you predict how a growing child, preteen, teen, or young adult is going to react to, or behave as the result of, a whole series of events and incidents. 

          Sometimes the incidents and events are so destructive or so empowering that the indivdual can change behavior, personality aspects,  character, or even `destiny’.

          Of course, when you used the term, `nurture’, you may very well have been thinking, too, of more than simply child-rearing.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Some people can do it – many can’t. But I think it says a lot about the role of fathers when it’s just assumed they can have the kids and the career, but not the mothers. MIA fathers are considered acceptable and normal in our culture, MIA moms not so much.

    • Brettearle

      I agree.

      If women are going to be held fully accountable, then men need to be, too.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Please tell me that this isn’t going to be a call to dumb down interesting work.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    She’s quitting being a professor?  That’s a good example of having it all.  Being a politician in D.C.?  Not so much.

  • Sean

    No one can “have it all” anymore in our country…

    … no one, that is, except the Ann and Mitt Romneys of the world.

    Let’s vote more Republicans into office and make sure this trend continues!

  • Greyman

    Oh, let’s all keep our violins in tune, shall we? Poor Anne-Marie. Poor poor poor Anne-Marie. Her sons suffer in her absence, the nation loses her inestimable service. Alas, alack. Can hardly wait to hear how she thinks we need to re-engineer the world and its economy just so we can accommodate ALL of women’s ambitions, however that’s supposed to be construed. (Interesting: she’s conducting her interview from NYC, NOT Princeton! Is she already tired of home-life in Princeton?)

  • J__o__h__n

    Don’t make co-workers without children have to cover for parents of either gender who want more time off.  We have lives too. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    Forget about women, what about the family?  Men face the same difficulties.  Gender roles are becoming more balanced, so let’s stop dividing. 

    This is really about the fact that we are the only developed nation that does not PAY for domestic work.  We need a parenting wage.

    It’s also a sign that our wage gap is too high and the “middle class” is forced to become overworked just to keep up with 40 years of stagnate wage growth.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    That’s a powerful job in Washington.  You pay your fare and you ride the ride.  Don’t worry–there are plenty of people who will step up to take your place if you can’t cut it.

  • Matt

    So, women in the One Percent can’t have it all? I’m soooo concerned . . . boo hoo hoo!

  • henrietta11

    Having “it all” is not ,and should not, be a goal for everyone.We live in a fast-paced,frenetic society where many of the 1% have lost their moral compass and perspective.Are kids  trophies,something to add to the list of acconplishments and possessions?
    We need to follow our inner guidance.It’s not only the amount and status of our activities but the congruence between inner and outer lives.
    Perhaps some meditation and walks in nature can assist with this.
    As Eckhart Tolle said.”Do not lose youself in the world.”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Women can have the same choices as men.  You choose your priorities and go with it.

    • lucidgal

      Last time I checked, nobody can leave a guy pregnant or treat him differently because he’s pregnant or might become so. The only choice women can make exactly the same as men is no to have babies. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         You’ve heard of birth control, I presume?  Women can make their choices.

        • lucidgal

          I just said that women are free not to have babies. One assumes that means birth control, but you seem bent on misunderstanding.

  • lucidgal

    As long as women can get pregnant, things will never be “equal” in the marketplace, or anywhere for that matter.

    • Brettearle

      If pregnancy is a built-in blessing or curse–or somewhere in between–would you suggest that employers need to grant full protection rights of employment, by law, no matter what, for pregancy leave….even though such a departure, for many months, could very well put a serious stress on a department, division, or small business? 

      You can interpret my question to be chauvinistic, if you want–but that’s not where I’m coming from on it.

      • lucidgal

        Yes… maternity leave should be mandated, although the specific slot may not be available upon return. Either way, whether you view pregnancy as a medical condition, or a stress on employment, women will always be relegated to a lesser status in the marketplace. I’ve even heard employers say they don’t want to hire young/newly married women because they’ll train them only to have them leave to have babies. Until men can bear children, it will always be thus. 

        • Brettearle

          It seems to me that the law somehow needs to come down on both sides–on a case by case basis:

          After all, competition and free-market enterprise, being what it is, cannot always accommodate returning employees–without such agreement sometimes causing financial liability.

          If personal-career hardship is otherwise an issue–where the returning mother needs employment (beyond lifestyle and living standard that she’s accustomed to), then a financial settlement would be necessary…if the employer felt it would be a greater hardship to take her on, again.

          It seems to me that it is an extremely difficult issue to wade through.

          The whole pre-emptive bias, against young women, is surely an issue, as you point out.

          [I am a big fan of the old sit-com, "The
          Honeymooners"--and even back in 1957, this issue came up on the program.]

          Like most forms of discrimination, this would be hard to prove, in a court of law.

          But. I’ll bet it happens fairly often.

  • Ian

    She choose to do an insane commute.

    If Mrs. Slaughter would have just moved the family to DC she would have similar amounts of time as every other family.
    Who does a commute like that with an ease?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Her husband would have had to give up his position in New Jersey.  Being a power couple is a problem, it seems.

      • Ian

        Oh well- right?
        Someone needs to take one for the team.

        You cannot live in Jersey and work full time in DC without suffering the consequences of that commute.

        Doesnt matter if youre a man or a woman.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    What’s really tricky is what’s important to you in your 20′s and 30′s is likely not the same as what will be important to you in your 40′ and 50′s and beyond. Some level of buyer’s remorse is going to be pretty common no matter what life choices we make.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Is she suggesting that there is a basic difference between men and women?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You haven’t noticed that there is?  VERY pleasant difference, to me!

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         More important than mere anatomy, I mean.  The simple-minded notions of equality is that there are no differences, but she just said that a man would have made it work because of different priorities and emotions.

  • Mary

    The question I have is would her guys have reacted the same way if it had been two guys and the wife.. would they somehow have found a way to make it work, In order words why didn’t eh husband and two male children make it work or find a way to make it work as so many wives and children of men in units, especially in the military do, who are gone on deployment for weeks and months on end.. ?? 

  • ToyYoda

    Stephen Wright once said, “Even if you could have it all, where would you put it?”  It’s as easy as physics.  On Venus you can have and do it all, because a day on Venus is as long as 225 Earth days.  But on Earth, there’s not enough hours in the day to have it all, or do it all.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       The global warming on Venus is a bit much. . .

  • Henry

    Nobody can have it all.  Life requires you to make choices.  I want to be a big executive, start my own company, be a farmer, or be a stay at home dad.  Yet some or all of these are mutually exclusive ideas and I have to chose the life to pursue.  Why would it be any different for women?

  • Emilykaterose

    I think it’s interesting that the comments below in anger are mostly from men.  I am a full-time working mother, not part of the 1% – and even my professional husband will agree that it’s not equal, we both work full-time but inevitably, it’s me that ends up at home when the child is sick, I drop off at day care and pick up – mom’s do more of the childrearing work and there is more of a connection much of the time – the KIDS WANT MOM THERE – it is the way it is and I have a full-time job that allows me to do it –
    Also – it’s not a 1% issue – if we are telling young girls that they can be whatever they want to be, ALL young girls, then we need to hold up that bargain, which we don’t. I am in a great job that let’s me be flexible – I won’t take a job that I might be qualified for that doesn’t allow me the flexibility, whereas my husband would.

  • Marietta

    Barbara Walters spoke at a graduation in the mid 70′s at Marymount College Tarrytown and said that women had to make a choice they could do two out of three of the following but it was impossible to do all three:
     - a career
     - children
     - a spouse

    Her choice was the first two.  This has stayed with me throughout my life and I still feel that it is true today.

  • Daniel

    I think a better thesis would be: modern working conditions/expectations are not conducive to healthy family life, male or female.

    Speaking as a man who doesn’t want a career that keeps me away from my family for 60-70 hrs a week.

  • Joe in Philly

    Isn’t it nice that our university professors (with all their benefits: healthcare, pension, etc) have the luxury of throwing in the towel?  Stop the whining!

  • Chrisitnamoran2020

    why does it have to be from a woman’s perspective that this conversation is starting.  I know a lot of wonderful businessmen that would love to be home with their families but due to the work environment and culture in this country, they spend a majority of their life at work in fear that if they don’t, they will not perform as well and lose their job.  What needs to change is not the feelings of a woman with a family in the work place but the feelings of anyone with a family in the workplace.   

  • Ann

    Women can have good careers and good family life as long as they successfully answer this question: Who is going to take the time, all the time,  to raise our children, day after day, year after year, in an intelligent, supportive and loving way?  It may be that both parents work part time, it may be  with a career nanny, it may be with a devoted grandparent, or it may be with a stay at home dad.  But, if we women ignore this question, it is likely that there will be problems. Hiring serial babysitters is not the same as having available, loving adults in a child’s life for the long term.

  • Rick

    Mrs. Slaughter worked in a dysfunctional Washington, where spending time in the office is confused with accomplishing something. Just as with all the rest of our senators, representatives, administration, etc., the country/world would have been better off she had just gone home at 5 pm and quit pretending to be important.

  • Greyman

    “Honesty” consists at least in part of recognizing economic reality for what it is. ONLY 14% of US working women work full-time work weeks of more than 41 hours, as of 2007 (source: US Labor Dept.) Amer. Assn. of Univ. Women surveyed female college grads of the 1992-93 cohort in 2003: 23% of women who’d become moms were out of the workforce, another 17% of women were working only part-time; fewer than 2% of men fell into the categories “being out of the workforce” and “working only part-time”. Honesty, Anne-Marie: begin to face it . . . .

  • SK

    Ms. Slaughter operates in a different sphere from most working people. Many people, men and women, work hard to advance in their profession and they are willing to make sacrifices that do not suit everyone, but that’s their choice. In a competitive, high profile, high power position, what did you really expect? 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Changes we HAVE to make?  Just because this one person couldn’t manage her dream life, we all must change?  No thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

       she is right we need change for sure! 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Such as?

  • Jtpaden

    I work for a strong, driven woman who operates a successful business. She doesn’t have children and I can’t imagine that she would ever support workplace changes that would actually make it possible for women to have the same choices as men. I’d like to hear Ms. Slaughter’s comment on situations like that — women who have made it in a “man’s world” and don’t see why other women would need “special treatment.” How can we get out of that Catch 22 where we need more women in leadership to change the world, but those same women are likely to be the ones who have opted out of motherhood?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       What if the world that you’re describing isn’t “male”?  What if that world has to be aggressive, tough, and dedicated?  That’s life.

    • Bea

      Maybe your boss had the experience on the way up of always being the one who had to take on her co-workers’ work while they were out caring for their children.  It’s all well and good to say that the workplace has to accomodate the needs of parents but it usually falls to their child-free peers who end up having to do that extra work for no extra pay.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    That’s what Ms. Slaughter is saying.  Either women are barefoot and pregnant or the work world is radically altered.  Sounds like a false dichotomy to me.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    MOST of the ‘parents’ that moan “Where did I go wrong?”, refuse to listen, if you tell them!  THEY are ‘RIGHT’, and their children went ‘WRONG’, because of something, or someone else!  These ‘parents’ refuse to see ANY things they did, to steer their children the way they went!

  • Karenjohnson

    I made compromises in my career to take care of an aging, ill parent and grandparent until their deaths. Although I didn’t have to juggle the traditional ‘children and family’, I felt the pinch, and I gave up opportunities for my career to do what I felt was the right thing at the time at the extended family. At this point, even though I’m self-employed as a copywriter in an extremely competitive field, (although not superhuman or rich!) I am helping my cousin. She lost her husband a month ago, and needs family support for herself and her two daughters. I believe that one does have to make the choice between work and family. 

    Sure, there are times I second-guess myself, and wonder if I’ve made the right calls. But for the most part, work’s not going to be there for me the way family is. As the cliche goes, nobody puts on their tombstones, “I wish I’d worked more.”

  • Greyman

    And in terms of biology: if maternity for “working women” is too demanding, then women with the ambition to remain in the secular workplace only need to forego maternity and child-rearing. Stay single and/or practice contraception assiduously: that way, you can maintain a full-time work history without interruption or distraction from secular career goals and ambitions.

  • jim

    i don’t think there is any issue with women advancing in the current professional world. In fact i think women in advance industrial nation such as the US are quite cocky and arrogant. 

    I use to believe strongly in women’s right. but i do feel they took advantage of a lot things society has provided for them including divorce.

    Women today will always benefit from a divorce no matter what scenario including the fact that the husband suffers because of irresponsibility coming from the woman.

    if you want equal’s rights CHANGE the legal rules in divorce!!!

  • Heidilegg

    Heidi Legg, Cambridge MA
    I just finished a novel on this topic about four women in their 40’s facing these exact issues.The points that came out loudly were that the infrastructure doesn’t work and that the reasons for staying at home with your children were too compelling if you can afford it. One in every 2 female Harvard business school graduates is at home 10 years outProfessor Hirshman of philosophy and women’s studies at Brandeis University, “Half of the wealthiest, best-educated women in the country stay home with their babies rather than work in the market economy.Why?  Because summer is a working mother’s nightmare, and if you have means it is too compelling to stay at home given the work structure tradeoffs in the American work force today. However, not working is not healthy for women either. How do we change infrastructure? In Europe people take all of August off In Canada woman and men can opt in for a one year paternal leave My sister is a top CEO in Canada in oil and gas and I think our different trajectories has allowed me to write about this is an honest way. I’ve seen her trade offs and our two choices are too extreme. There has to be a middle ground.

  • yingyangyou

    NPR sometimes means National Privileged Radio. Ms. Slaughter has already had TOO MUCH and is still complaining. This is not universal advocacy. This is a yuppy whine, a new habit of the exposed 1% to the 99%. Perhaps a way to say, “I’m just like you.” Nonsense.

    Women of this educated and affluent status can make a simple decision, as can men in that stratum. Don’t have children. Yes, have loving relationships. Have a great job. Knock yourself out. But, why should you feel entitled to have children as well as working in a high-powered job. And, if you have a house husband, that’s enough! What more does this woman want the society to do to accommodate her?

    As a person of low income, I would never support legislation to enable this privileged class more than it is by government. The fact that this guest considers herself a Democrat is laughable. It shows how far to the Right the Democrats have drifted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    Solution!!! YES, let’s get to the solutions!!!

  • Family man

    This is really a functioning of clearly recognizing the impacts your career choices make on you and your family – nothing more, nothing less.  In an equitable family the partners come to an agreement about these issues if they wish to maintain a well functioning unit. 

  • d clark

    Waiting- in here somewhere must surely come the accusation that men are to blame. Wait for it!

  • Family man

    oops, function, not “functioning”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572070326 Ellen Montgomery

    Where does the role of men enter this conversation? Although the feminist movement has enlightened women in many ways, what has it done to enlighten men? It comes down to power. Unless men are willing to share it, this will always be an issue.

    • d clark

      There it is (see my previous post)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572070326 Ellen Montgomery

        I’m not blaming anyone. This conversation can’t just always be about women with women. Your reaction is a good example of why everyone needs to be involved. 

  • D Dottrey

    I think it’s ironic that we’re having this discussion while millions of single, working women are continuously pushed and prodded to get married and have kids. Maybe part of the discussion should include it’s okay to choose to not have kids or get married. Just a thought…

  • Catherine from Melrose

    Why, if Ms. Slaughter’s husband was home with her children, did she think that her absence was negatively affecting her children?  Is there something about “mother love” that is irreplaceable?  If so, doesn’t that mean that a working woman with children is always going to have make a choice?

    • d clark

      Her husband is ONLY a MAN. He can’t provide what SHE provides, him having no cape and tights!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    O.K., but she can’t expect to come right back into the position that she once had.  If she steps out of the competition, she has to stand at the end of the line when she returns.

  • Susan

    I so agree with Ms. Slaughter.  I am a HBS grad who quit my high powered finance job 4 years ago to be home with my daughter who is now 12.  There were many contributing reasons to my decision to quit but there are two main reasons.  First,  in a couple in which both parents are working, women take on more of the home front duties (children and household) and it is just too exhausting.  All of my male colleagues had wives who were home.  Second, I was not being promoted and given more interesting assignments because I was a mom.  My male bosses assumed that I did not want that and that they were doing the right thing by me.  In truth, I was bored and felt that my time was better spent at home if I were not being challenged at work.

    My biggest worry is what am I going to do when my daughter goes off to college.  I am Anne Marie’s age and it feels as if my career is now over and that scares me.  Who will hire me at 60?

  • Jason Climer

    I don’t think that this is just a women’s issue. The way our society responded to women entering the workforce was to make it so that no one had the ability to have a career and have the time to be really supportive of their families. Worse, it now largely takes two working parents to support a family because of wage stagnation. It is now a decision for both sides of a parent to go against the assumed career choice of working.

  • lucidgal

    Women can pause for 5 or 10 or 20 years from working and expect to step back into the workforce? With technology what it is? Give me a break.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773878257 Aimee Ruth Blue


      waltzing back in after 15 years IS NOT EASY, or COMMON

  • Greyman

    Id est: women should be able to make choices that necessarily consist of “both-and” outcomes: women should not be compelled to choose EITHER maternity/childrearing OR secular career, women need to be equipped to “choose” BOTH maternity/childrearding AND secular career.

  • Ericacohnstaedt

    I’m so glad that this discussion is being raised. I am a stay at home mom at 26 who chose that for many reasons, but that does not mean I gave up all ambitions I had. This is my pause and I hope that someday I can get back to my career. I know that this won’t be as easy, as quickly, or as necessarily successful, but it is what I chose. I have friends who are waiting until they are in their late thirties so they can focus on their career, that just didn’t work for my family.

  • AlanThinks

    Tom & Anne-Marie – a VERY important point to consider is that most of this discussion is about the upper middle class and above.  The MAJORITY of families cannot afford to have one of the partners not working.  And, there are lots of social ramifications of that dilemma.

  • Diana

    Here’s what bothers me: that this conversation is framed as being about women, childrearing, and feminism instead of about WORK. 

    It seems to me that the much more trenchant, and useful
    portion of Slaughter’s critique — especially when considered for a broader
    socio-economic impact — is the issue of workplace flexibility and the
    imperative of overwork in American society.  Because women are often the primary caretakers in their
    families (of older parents as well as young children) and their communities
    more broadly, this has a disproportionate impact on them.  Moreover, more women are single parent
    heads of household, with much less room to share burdens with a partner.  But to the extent that men have been
    denied the opportunity to participate in a well-rounded personal life that involves
    community and family and out-of-work pursuits, this is an issue that effects
    everyone (like Tom said, it’s not like Willy Lohman was happy about *his* choices).  I expect that our work
    habits are old-fashioned and could be much more efficiently — and with
    creative results — integrated into our new technological and social realities
    for the good of both the economy and ourselves.


    • Diana

      Consider this conversation in the context of the vacations show Tom had last week…Americans, all Americans, don’t have the space to take time for themselves and their families.

  • Nancy

    I just returned from Sweden and Denmark. Okay–long maternity leave, long paternity leave, high quality subsidized day care, 5 weeks vacation, etc. Yes, high tax rates, but high quality of life and more chances for women to work and feel better about their children’s care. Can you comment?

  • bart

    I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for six years now. Was a hs teacher and don’t see being able to get back into the classroom (economy and time away). I’ve been in school for  renewable energy and can’t get work in that field either. It’s bittersweet though since I don’t want someone else raising our kids. Thanks for pointing out that we who dedicate ourselves to the domestic sciences are needed and beneficial and worthy and should be given more credit than we feel we’re getting. Thanks, Bart Marvin(Ballston Spa, NY)

  • Joe Suzynski

       All that stuff about having a career etc. –  It’s not about YOU - it should be about what’s best for your children – that’s it – anything else is just a rationalization.

  • Joaquim Branco

    Oh poor Ms. Slaughter, my heart goes out to the women at the lower end of the economic scale who have no option other than to work; period! Ms. Slaughter is insulting to these women.

  • okitaris

    People have given so much to the corporate system.   We’ve given up the tribe the clan now the extended family.     Now we are trying to give up the nuclear family.    
    Then we’ve based our lives on competition when no value is created in competition though cooperation may be goaded on by competition.
    The woman’s problem is a family problem.
    The base for this problem starts with the entrance into school.  
    Toddlers are selfish people who cannot cooperate they hold onto there toys will not play with others as explained by a staff member when we were looking for a day care center for our son.    The staff member went on to say that the child was maturing when he began to play cooperatively joining with the other maturing children in common play sharing toys and the common purpose of the group.    With no boss around.  

    Imagen  this cooperative play maturing into cooperative work as the children grow older.    

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       My experience of cooperation is that one person does all the work, while the “cooperators” take all the credit.

      • okitaris

        Thats because you’ve gone through the present cultural mill which screws every one up. Look at the results of the competitive society. Some say the humanity may only have a century tell extinction.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Competition creates results.  It doesn’t mean just violence and exploitation.

  • Bee

    Please remember to add caring for elderly parents as they reach end of life issues… these are really important needs in our families and our society… and it often happens during the time that your children are teens… 

  • Roy Mac

    Didn’t I hear these same arguments/complaints in 1971?

    • DrJoani


      • Roy.Mac

        I’m not sure if we’re that bad at solving obvious problems, or just that bad at recognizing them.

  • nj_v2

    The conversation seems consistently slanted toward “professional” work settings and the somewhat privileged people who hold these postitions. “Let women work from home” doesn’t work or simply isn’t possible for most “blue collar” types of jobs.

    A perspective from people in different socio-economic strata might have helped to balance the discussion.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I made a decision a while ago that teaching and writing was what I want to do.  I knew that this choice would mean financial struggle for a while.  That being the case, I also chose not to have children.

    As Jesus said, we can’t serve two masters.  We each have to decide what’s most important to us and go with it.  A push to blunt the competitive edge or to drain the passion of a profession isn’t the answer.

  • ToyYoda

    I don’t understand why we are congratulating this guest for -in the past- giving some really awful advice to young women that they can have it all which must have caused an tremendous amount of unnecessary stress and guilt.  And then doing an about face and admitting she was wrong.  I say shame on her.

    Why are women even listening to this person?  Whatever happened to critical thinking and thinking for yourself?  If we generalize this issue then the real problem is that we look for leaders for how we live our lives and that is plain wrong.  There is no way they know who we are completely, yet alone give us the map that leads to a good life.

    People need to know classical ethics, which is the road to a good life, to a happy life, to the study of it.  Only answering these questions for yourself and on your own will you “have it all”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773878257 Aimee Ruth Blue

    Dr. Slaughter suggests women whose kids go off to college are a rich
    resource for the workforce.

    I WISH!

    I taught elementary school in the early 90s, and have tried returning
    since 2009.

    After 2 years of not landing a job (but getting close 3 times, made it
    to the top 3 candidates 3 different times), I quit trying.

    And now, when I see teaching jobs listed, one of the requirements is
    CURRENT teaching experience, and CURRENT references.

    I can’t get current because I am not current (Catch 22).

    So I WISH it was easy for me, now at 42, to jump back in and that others
    viewed me as a rich resource, but I do not feel that way. Not at all.

    The fresh-out-of-college girls are struggling to get jobs, but are
    preferred.  Women like me, with everything outdated, are not.


  • Greyman

    It’s also crazy to say, A-M, that men SHOULD WANT to work part-time in order to give place to women in the workforce. A 2007 Pew survey showed that 60% of working mothers w/ minor children would have preferred part-time work, while only 21% wanted full-time work (19% would have preferred to drop out of the secular workforce altogether). At the same time only 12% of working fathers would have chosen part-time work, and 70% wanted full-time work. –But let’s change biology and economics to accommodate unrealistic feminist expectations.

  • Michael Di Pasquale

    Why wasn’t her husband doing more, and working at his job less to take care of the kids, if necessary?

    It is a myth think that “moms” are better at childrearing than men.

    This is what creates the inequality.

    • Guest

      The article in the Atlantic does say that he was doing more, but that’s not really the point anyway. Basically, if both parents want to have careers then the kids lose out it seems.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Almost Always!

  • http://www.facebook.com/heidi.r.legg Heidi Radford Legg

    I agree. I think it’s pretty hard to step back in 10 years out and find anything half compelling. Maybe that’s the next Atlantic Article we need to write… a feature on women who really stepped out and really stepped back in. Not just cut back a few hours but totally stepped out and then came back with realistic success.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773878257 Aimee Ruth Blue

      good luck finding them, especially in the teaching field…

  • guest

    Last time I was over in Europe I was asked why I didn’t have kids, and I told them that our workplaces don’t make it easy to have children. They thought this was insane. But it’s very true, for both sexes. Workplaces are not family friendly, I’m expected to be available whenever my labor is needed, and I’d better be there or someone else gets my job. The changes required in the workplace that would allow me to have a family are inconceivable.

    • Roy Mac

      And if you were asked that question the last time you were in Boston…?

  • Steve

    By the numbers:
    Ms Slaughter already has more than her share. 

    What is the per capita income of Americans?
    What is the income of the Slaughter family?

    Not satisfied with a disproportionate share of “wealth” Ms Slaughter want’s more it all.

    A true !%’er point of view!

  • anne

    please talk about your suggestions for workplace changes that give men and women choices to be more present for their children, or elderly parent.

    • Lblanken

      If companies engage in mobile technologies and successfully change the culture within their organization to give autonomy to employees to choose the best setting to work in, productivity increases. The primary reason for most workers to be at the office is to connect with others. Connections can be face to face or virtual. If the setting in the office facilitate better small group collaboration, the need for big individual space lessens and the great space is shared as become more highly functioning.

  • Hunter Blankenship

    This conversation is not only about women. As a society, we need to facilitate a work life balance. Our younger generation in the work force wants this too. With the increase in mobile technology, companies should embrace the ability to work anywhere and make the actual workplace one that supports collaboration and a variation in work styles for all workers. I’m a single mom raising 2 girls and it takes great discipline to facilitate ALL aspects of my life. When I am on work, I need to be highly productive and technology helps enable me to be flexible and productive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ramani.rangan Ramani Rangan

    I feel that the whole model of how to work in a modern society had to be rethought. We are still looking at effective creative was to work as individuals. A possible new way is to see that we are groups of individuals and as tribes we worked together. Companies are tribes of people but this tribe model does not have to stay in their hands. I feel that women can have it all by reclaiming the tribel modern at their level of needs which is the whole of society’s needs if one looks at it from a healthy view point. Why should a position be seen for one person? Women could design a whole new model and start companies and re-fashion established that are built on the group but to support a design that schedules work that departs the male military model, which is linial, to an expansive people friendly model.         

    • susanr48

       You get what she is saying, and you are saying it concisely and cogently.  I’ve thought it for years.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    So what is Ms. Slaughter’s bullet list of sacrifices she expects the 95% to make so that the high powered 5% she speaks for can have their McMansions, Suburbans, iPhones, premium cable, private pre-school, trips to Aspen and Europe, etc. etc.

    C’mon. A woman has to wait until a kid is off to college before resuming a career? A latch key 12 year old can fend for herself.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       I was so glad when my mother went back to work when I was old enough to be left home alone.

      • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

         As was I.

      • susanr48

         Love it!

  • Molly

    As a late 20 something who grew up with a mother who was the product of a mother who came to age in the 70s, I think I can share a different perspective.  My mom, who is my role model, was the breadwinner in our family with her own law firm and became well known nationally in her field. My dad, a high school teacher, took me to soccer games and stood on the sidelines with the other moms, helped out with the carpool to school, etc.  Despite having an amazing childhood and a wonderful loving father, it’s different not having your mother at your sports games, plays, and driving you to school dances and I did miss having my mom there and noticed the difference.  That said, my mom is my role model and mentor in my career which is a hybrid of education and law (so clearly my mother and father both had a significant impact on me).

  • Michiganjf

    I LOVE IT!!!

    A wealthy person in a job where they can pretty much write their own schedule is suddenly forced to work a typical job… Then they realize all of their assumptions about how “easy” things should be for the “whiners” falls apart when bumping up against reality!!

    This epitomizes every single aspect of REPUBLICAN dogma coming from the wealthy!!!

    Bring all the Cantors, Boehners, and Romneys of the world into conTACT with REALITY in even the slightest way, AND WATCH THEM ALL START WHISTLING A DIFFERENT TUNE!!!

    Too bad just enough of the populace is dumb enough to buy the elite’s trickle-down tripe!!

    Welcome to the world 99 percent of us live in!!!

    • Greyman

      –but I thought we heard that Anne-Marie Slaughter is a self-professed Democrat? And if wealth itself is the criterion of tunelessness you claim it to be, then account for the c. $200 million net worth of prominent populist entertainer Bruce Springsteen, which puts the Boss in virtually the same league as Mitt Romney. (And have no fear: sometime-populist Mick Jagger, though no US citizen, is worth even MORE than Romney.)

      • Nancy

        One of the dumb enough, I presume? I don’t know what the hell most of your comment means, but as far as Slaughter being a Democrat, Michiganjf was referring to how Republican dogma never seems to mesh with reality.
        Mrs. Slaughter’s political affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with the point he made in his comment.

        • Greyman

          And Michiganjf was being hyperbolic with the assertion: To suggest that the state of comparative wealth and privilege is a domain inhabited solely by Republicans is both hyperbolic and false, since plenty of Democrats have plenty of money (begin by asking Nancy Pelosi, if you want). As far as clarity is concerned, “bumping up against reality”, “bringing into contact with reality”, and “meshing with reality” consist of what? some kind of “riches-to-rags” narrative? who does this typify? or: who would we say we want it for?

  • anne

    This is not about elitism.  This about allowing women to be in positions of leadership.  Let’s make it possible for 50% of congress to be women.

  • Robin in Vermont

    Why is this continually framed as a women’s issue??!! It’s a PARENT’S issue. As a woman, I completely reject the notion that it’s the responsibility of women to care for kids and houses. We won’t be truly equal until the need to find a balance between work and kids is treated as a problem for ALL working people who have kids.

  • GMG

    I don’t think this is really a gender-related issue.  If you have a time-consuming life outside of your job, the reality is, you will not advance as far and as fast as people without those conflicts, and your options will be more limited.  

    I think we should encourage more workplace flexibility in general, so people can lead fuller lives, without regard to what exactly those outside commitments are.  

    Amen to Peter’s perspective as well.

  • Sara H

    I agree with what Mrs. Slaughter is saying. I wish I could stay home more with my two sons, but I find myself needing to work because we don’t know how we would make it off my husband’s teacher’s salary. I feel like I have a lot to offer and would like to consider a higher powered job, but I have the perception that I would have to focus less on my family than what my current 40 hr per week job allows and it’s really discouraging. In fact, I took a lower powered job after my 1st son was born because the schedule was too difficult to manage with my son. It’s discouraging. I wish there was a chance to do some job sharing at these higher level jobs. Or (even better and more important) that our country would value the family more and EVERY job would allow for more family focus.

  • Gina

    Wish for the thing you already have, then support those who struggle for the basics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The “have it all” thing is the real problem. Granted some people have bigger plates than others, but when we step up to the buffet there is only so much that will fit. Eventually if you want something else on that plate, you have to decide what you’re going to take off to make it all fit.

  • Kokito02

    Many women like me are fighting to get better positions and better pays to support our families, but organizations like the one I work don’t allow me to grow in the company because of my age! I have a education, experience, and lot of desire to give, but I’m stuck because I’m a baby boomer “too old for them”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Shop around, discretely, for a better position, in a better company!   Consider starting your own business, or joining with women that have similiar circumstances?

      • Drew (GA)

        Yes I hope she shops very discretely or that her business is up and running before her employer gets wind of her intentions.

  • S Haney78

    I think part of the reason employers don’t offer more options for flexible work hours is because we don’t really value the role of child rearing. Maybe it is because it was traditionally a female role. I am a teacher and I have a Master’s degree. I work 80 hours a week during the school year for way under 40k a year. Our society pays lip service to valuing children and families, but we refuse to support those who truly want to make the welfare of children a priority.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Banksters steal that kind of money every day!

  • Suz C

    Relevant for everybody – not just the tip-top.  Hear hear, Tom.  Thanks, Peter, for raising a key point.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t necessarily agree that having more women at the top will lead to better working conditions. Many made a lot of sacrifices to be where they are and expect others will do so as well. 

    • J__o__h__n

      Men at the top hasn’t led to a workers’ paradise for most men.  The middle and the bottom have to demand rights and not expect the top to trickle down better conditions.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Finally, she says something that makes sense.  It’s the work that matters, not the hours.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I missed the beginning of the show but am wondering, half a century ago or so, large families were more the norm, and lots of people grew up with a keen appreciation of the role of the mother, the emotional tuning that needed constant updating and realignment, among all members of the family.  I’m trying to imagine a family with “extra time” for the mother.  

        I’m also thinking that there is a gap reflecting the 99 percent issue, where above a certain income, over the median, women can afford “ambition,” but below that, you maybe pray not be beaten up or preyed upon this way or that.  You enjoy where you are, or hope to.  Your ambition is to improve things for those you “touch.”  
        But 50 years ago, women were not given choices the way they are now, not by their families, not by the workplace and laws in general.  It’s maybe not obvious, but before birth control, before the Pill, women were unreliable in a certain way, in a range of professions.

  • Sara

    I think employers are worried about how much they will have to give up.  Would mothers get more flexibility than non-mothers and men?  I’m all for the changes she suggests, but how do we convince employers that this will be fair and not impact the bottom line?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       If mothers get time off, I want exactly the same number of hours off to do as I wish.  That’s only fair.

      • susanr48

         So demand the same number of hours. She is saying that we can create a different paradigm so that we can all have flexibility.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Many jobs simply don’t have that flexibility, and that’s reality.  People who want flexibility have to choose something else.

      • nj_v2

        The inevitable selfishness masquerading as libertarianism.

        Why should i have to pay for schools if i don’t have kids?

        Why should i pay for roads if i don’t drive?

        Paying for things that promote the general welfare—like concessions for parents—is part of the cost of a civil society.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Schools and roads are an obvious benefit to everyone.  Having an educated workforce makes for a better society.  Good roads give all of us freedom.  But when a job needs a worker that will dedicate time to it, that’s that.  And when someone else is doing the same job that I am, but gets extra time off, I’ll object.

          • nj_v2

            Having kids raised by caring and present parents also has an obvious benefit to everyone. Or almost everyone.

    • Kathleen Smith

      I agree. It’s partly an issue of control. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/heidi.r.legg Heidi Radford Legg

    If we turn this into a privileged debate, nothing will change. Sometimes we need voices that may not be our full representation spark debate.  Men who try to call this privileged whining are missing one of the greatest conversations going on that will improve the American economy and improve American families. I’ve spent three years with four women characters pounding in my head writing my novel and every woman, rich and poor, has a voice in this. Daycares, empathetic companies that care about American families, solid public schools, these are for everyone.

  • DrJoani

    Not all of life is about these “professional” women. My generation worked, went to school and raised kids, husband helping minimally if at all. And what about the millions of single women
    single mothers out there? They haven’t the flexibility.
    Tough luck Anne-Marie but the big difference? You had the option to leave and NOT work. Most of us do not and did not have your good fortune.

    • susanr48

       She’s talking about you too. She is saying that most employers can  figure out ways to be more flexible.

      • DrJoani

        No Susan,
        She is talking to women who are in well-paid “professional” positions. I taught as an adjunct most of the time and my “schedule” was rarely (never?)  considered.
        You may be correct, depending on the work itself, but in the large we do not get to choose. Perhaps you did?And the same can be said for working men, who bear the brunt of the responsibility of “bread-winner” even today, despite many small changes in roles and responsibilities.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    A mother wants to be general counsel, but wants to stay home one day a week?  Too bad.  Make your choice.  What happens when the other candidate for the position says, well, I want a day off too?

    • susanr48

       Let the other candidate have the day off.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         But what happens when the job actually does require a full work week?  We can’t dumb down the world to accomodate the wishes of everyone.

  • Greyman

    In other words: economic metrics to support what A-M wants do not exist, so let’s devise some to measure what we say we want to value. NOT continuity of work history, NOT accumulation of hours spent at work and time spent on the job, but some hazy fuzzy metric of “value outcomes”. Some feminist economists are going to need to work overtime on this project for the next few decades, it seems . . . .

  • Karen

    Until industry and govt policy changes nothing will.  This is not a feminist issue, this is a family issue.  If we can’t cover the basics: housing, childcare, education without two people killing themselves nothing will change for family quality time.  Most employers have no stake in this and won’t make any concessions.      

    • Sara H

       well said!

  • kaybee63

    You are so right about quality vs. hours.  I am a fast reader and fast writer – I could probably do legal briefs in half the time of many other lawyers, yet they get paid more because it took them longer!  I certainly don’t get rewarded for running a marathon in six hours over the guys finishing it in two! 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Do what she’s saying, and soon enough, those of us without children will rise up in protest of all the mothers getting special benefits that we don’t have.

    Make your choices, and stop whining.

    • lucidgal

      That’s been happening for a long time. Women who don’t have to race off to pick up a sick kid from daycare or who won’t stay late at work complain that they are left holding the bag. A very fine illustration of my point.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         You hinted, but what exactly are you saying?

        • lucidgal

          Do I really have to explain it? Childless women already complain that they have to pick up the slack for co-workers with kids. Women having babies = second-class status in the workplace.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            That’s identifying a situation, but do you have a change that you want made?  I see that and call it life.

    • EVERYONE can benefit

      Fortunately a man that I work with that has health issues has been taking advantage of our company’s flexible work plan as well. If implemented correctly and part of the company’s culture all can benefit.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Here’s to using the cyber potentials to save our roads, save our climate, save our community-centered awareness.  If you don’t spend 10 hours commuting every week, that is 10 hours to do something else — and too bad for General Motors.

  • Adks12020

    I’m a 30 year old man and I don’t want to have it all.  If my girlfriend, hopefully wife at some point, wants to I will be happy to be home more often to take care of kids should that happen.  I just want to earn enough to have a comfortable life, enjoy the recreational pursuits I enjoy (hiking, skiing, live music, cycling, etc.) and save something for retirement.  I would think that most people want that balance more than they want “it all”. 

    I understand the author’s point and I think it’s important but I think it applies to everyone, not just women.  American’s are far too devoted to work and not enough to casual enjoyment of life.  Life isn’t all about success at work, for men or women.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Life is for achievement.  Often that means what we do at work.

      • Adks12020

        I don’t feel that way at all…work is a means to an end.  It provides the funds to enjoy life.  Since work takes up so much time it is important to have a job that I get some satisfaction from beyond a paycheck but I’m more concerned with my job being able to provide me with the funds to enjoy my life outside of work than with climbing the work ladder. 

        I think there are many people that feel that way but in America that type of viewpoint is somewhat taboo.  I’ve been in discussions with recent college grads that are completely shocked when I tell them I don’t care what my job is as long as it requires thought, allows me to maintain the lifestyle I want, and I like the people I work with.  It’s as if having a specific career goal is the most important thing one can have…eh, not for me.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Fortunately, my job is what I want to achieve.  I recognize that this is not available to everyone.

      • nj_v2

        Thanks to Greg for solving the mystery for what life is for.

        That’ll be a big time saver for a lot of people, not having to ponder that anymore.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           You’re welcome.  Go forth in peace.

  • lucidgal

    Companies so often hire 55-year-old women. Happens all the time. 

  • Irene Moore

    I have to agree with the lawyer from Boston.  I’m a lawyer also, divorced without children.  We never wanted to have children.  If you are talking about women taking more seats of power, it will never come by begging, pleading, reasoning or logic.  It will come when women decide to take it.  “Having it all” is a red herring.  It’s about power and power only comes when people are ready to take it.

    • TFRX

      Agreed on “taking it”.

      It’s too easy if one doesn’t know history to think that every advancement workers have made was ceded with a smile by management.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to find some eager five year olds to look into a camera and say they’re unfairly being kept out of the labor market for a thinktank image ad I’m shooting. Watch for it on “Face the Nation” soon!

      • Terry Tree Tree

           The Race to the Bottom by corporations, Would, if they can work 5-year-olds, for nothing!

  • Jack Acme

    Nobody can have anything like “it all.” Ambitious people of all genders should stop breeding. Maybe in a few generations this trait will disappear from the gene pool and co-operative people will have a chance to make things work for everybody.

  • Kim

    This conversation needs to include both women and men rather than just be focused on women.  Men sacrifice for family,too.

    Also, the changes you are suggesting require a change in social values.  Our society has to VALUE child-bearing, child-rearing for its businesses to begin to work the problem constructively.

    • Roy Mac

      Well, the title of the article IS ‘Women Still Can’t Have It All.’

      Pardon me, but there isn’t really any reason that every conversation needs to include everyone’s favorite bellyache.  Sometimes, it’s good to drill down.

  • Nonakasparov

    Beginning with the paradigm of a school day that goes from 8 to 2 and a work day that goes from 9 to 5; combined with all of the challenges regular women in the work place face – add to that, single parenthood, single paycheck — cost of after-school care… There is an inherent disconnect here. Something is broken in this model.

    • notafeminista

      How dare teachers demand to set their own work hours.  Cheeky lot.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Does Ms. Slaughter look outside and see how many people, men OR women who can find a job in their mid 50s or later?  Not exactly the most desired population. They may be able to DO the work but the employers want younger and cheaper labor.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ESPECIALLY CHEAPER, so they can be GREEDY richer?  MOST of them could NOT really defend their pay, in an honest forum!

  • Daniel

    Employers are very fortunate we’ll do so much work, they’ve been able to decrease spending on workforce because most of us are willing to do the work of two or three people on a single salary.

    • Daniel

      Labor unions fought hard for a forty-hour work week, and we’ve thrown it away in competition to get to the top of the ladder…

  • TFRX

    Justice Scalia has, what, 7 kids, and I don’t expect a “Mr. Mom” moment where he has to leave to pick up his kid after the school play auditions.

    Is he just ignoring his kids, or should every working dad out there fret about Scalia can’t “have it all”?

    I’m a bit suspicious of how easily this has become framed as a problem of feminism’s creating.

    • Brettearle

      To have so many children–in the current climate of financial stress, personal family stress, societal and cultural stress–is asking for remarkable trouble.

      For me, such a decision is to border on blatant irresponsibility.

      Both men and women need to accept full hands-on responsibility, 24/7, for raising 7 children.

      It’s somewhat crazy.

      • TFRX

        But there’s no market for semi-contrarian articles in The Atlantic about how one man’s problems reflect badly on all men, and our TV shows won’t be full of people taking “working dads” temperatures, asking them if other men demanded they try to do too much with work and family.

        Men get to be individuals about this. One woman’s retreat or misstep still is very likely to be a condemnation of “feminism”, and it’s “why did feminists demand too much of them”? I’m counting the minutes until some Fox yakker says “catfight”.

        An educated woman with kids and meaningful career in the Northeast corridor wrote the article, and it’s going to be the left-most end of the conversation in our media for a month.

        • Brettearle

          I agree with your points.

          There have been programs, over the last few years, of stay-at-home Dads, whose wives are better breadwinners–and the role reversals have been working.  

          However, one aspect of this has got be that some women are not good nurturers and some men are not good nurturers, either.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Isn’t Scalia a proponent of ‘Conservative’ ‘Family Values’?  His ‘Family Values’ is showing?  Or LACK thereof?  Therefore his ‘conservatism’ can be suspect?

      • TFRX

        Actually, I’ve read he’s not involved much in his child-raising during the workhours. As things go, that’s fairly “old school” and benign for someone, rather than hypocritical. I’m really not saying this about Scalia personally, as he’s nowhere near unique in his family situation.

        It’s a gender-switching exercise. Nobody’s blaming “antifeminism” (or the “men’s rights” crowd) for any detachment he may have from hands-on childcare, from the struggle we can see of any sitcom with kids and a mom and a dad.

        Men in his position get to have made that choice without people, magazine authors, or TV chatterers endlessly speculating about “what he’s giving up” or “how he managed to get the right wife” to help him “have it all”.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    She’d have more time to say something if she’d stop expressing her agreement with everyone.

    • J__o__h__n

      She’d likely agree. 

  • Niav

     For some of us having it all simply means being an active member of a family and putting food on the table.

    Put aside the issue of women in highest level positions – working any job full time and being a caregiver to children or an aging loved one is extremely challenging, it is downright exhausting.

    We can’t change the fact that women give birth to children but what we CAN change is the way we look at the structure of”work”.  This will require a real serious change in common perceptions we have about male/female, old/young etc.

    Anne-Marie is on the right track, thanks for starting the conversation.

  • Nancy in Hendersinville, TN

    Wer’e using the wrong verb here. When we first started talking about women “having” it all, the assumption was that women would also “do” it all. NO ONE — woman or man — can HAVE it all by DOING it all. Men have always had wives to “do” for them all those things we expected women to continue doing once they entered the full time workforce. We still expect women to DO more… and still for less pay and more blame.

  • susanr48

    Society does not need to limit “comeback” superstars just until the early sixties. The women and men or today and tomorrow can be superstars in our seventies-  and maybe longer.

  • Jane Beatty

    I left my management position with a biotechnology company to care for my 90-year-old Mother.  I’m 54 and hope employers will welcome me back someday.  Your thoughts?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      IF you left an EXTREMELY unusual company!  Keep honing your job-skills, and try to prepare to start your own business, as a back-up!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What, her husband can’t take care of your sons?  Ms. Slaughter, you aren’t that important.

  • Gwen

    At 62, I made the decision not to marry nor have children because I wanted to persue a career in science.  My generation realized that if we were going to succeed in science we had no other choice.  We had two choices:  the professional or the mommy track.  There was no possibility of having both.
    I got both a PhD and a DVM.  I worked for the government.  The men did everything within their power to make my life difficult. If they said I could not do something, I found an authority higher than they who said yes you can. 
    Why is it that women in Finland can have it all and women in the richest country in the world can’t.

    • J__o__h__n

      Wasn’t 62 a bit late to make that decision?

      • nj_v2

        I suppose have could mean adopt, but still…

        Or, maybe she meant, “In ’62…”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ‘Conservative’ ‘Family Values’ of the U.S.?
         Look at the major church that nutures and protects CRIMINAL clergy, while persecuting their VICTIMS?  Is THAT how that church represents its ‘values’?
         Other HYPOCRITICAL ‘religions’, and denominations, have similiar problems, yet DEMAND to be the ‘guide’?

    • Brettearle

      Because the United States is still full of insecure, angry, selfish misogynists.

      But there are a number of women who fit the same negative categories, as well. 

      Our society breeds remarkable selfishness and heartless competition.

  • Ellen Dibble

    When talking about women in their 60s, I think the conflict between family time and work time is quite different.  By the way.

  • Greyman

    Id est: let’s let feminism continue to kill, attenuate, or assault the maternal instinct so that women can be “equal” to men in ways that men comport themselves, which is non-maternally. Hunh?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      It won’t be ALL women, any more than ALL men start children, then move to another woman, to start more, shirking responsibilities, and causing EVERYONE ELSE to take their responsibilities!

  • TG

    If, as your guest suggests, we get more women at the top, and those women want the flexibility to be with their families, we will have a nation of part-time professionals. As a feminist, I have tried to have the professionals in my life be women and found that no one works full-time and cannot be available when I need them. Now, I choose only men or women who are past childbearing age.

    Has your guest considered how the flexibility she desires in the workplace impacts her colleagues and coworkers. Who picks up the slack. In most jobs, especially lower level jobs, someone must. Who sacrifices – the childless. Who takes over when your child is sick and you have to leave, who is told almost mandated to work weekends and holidays “You don’t have a family, you can work the holiday”.  All women are expected to understand. Well we don’t. This is not a village.  In the countries where women get more flexibility and support, everyone gets support from their government, and can take paid leave or sabbatical. Who is supposed to make thes options available to you?

    • Southie

      Agree with a twist.  Picking
      up the slack is a key part of this issue and it does fall to the person you can
      lean on.  Yes, lower level workers.  But also the single worker – I’m always
      surprised that single workers, representing a little over half the workforce,
      do such a poor job of gaining any traction. 
      (In the U.S. there are 54% single women in the workforce (BLS); probably
      a similar percentage for men.)

       As an employee,
      unexpectedly single, I found that I was among those who were expected to “go
      out on Sunday” for the trade show or put in extra hours.  It seemed an unwritten rule that the single
      person, especially a woman, would understand that family came first so the
      single person should “pick up the slack.” 
      Unlike other WBUR commenters who credit women bosses with superior understanding
      of balance, I found the opposite true. 
      Male bosses seemed to be more understanding that I (and others) were due
      social space; women seemed to think that women should have a better understanding
      of other women’s family pressures. 

      When I became the boss, I often had this in mind when our
      business grew quickly and the market blessed us with being over-extended.   I found myself attempting to balance the
      single/married workload balance and benefits balance – but mostly in the background.  The foreground culture was clearly in favor
      of those with family status.

      Tax structure, lending policies, non-cafeteria benefits and many other actual “rules,” make it hard
      for single employees of both genders to have it all or to get anywhere near the
      1%.  I don’t “have it all” but I have
      been quite fortunate.  Family is a building
      block for society; but it’s important to keep perspective and share credit with
      the rest of “the village,” who can be portrayed as being in an inferior moral
      position – so they should pick up the slack. 

  • Dunn0902

    Women in the US and worldwide do not have the same choices as men. It (choice making) appears to be influenced by 1.) biology (women carry offspring) 2.) assigned societal value of women and the work they do in or or outside the home; 3.) perceived intelligence or competence of women (i.e. comment by then Harvard President Lawrence Summers that women were not intrinsically as smart in math or science). Who id deciding here? Ms Slaughter states that women should have “the same level of ambition”; OK. On what playing field will that ambition take them where they want to go when society sends a mixed message about women: e.g. working mothers are not as good of a parent as a stay-at-home mother. Is that said about a working father? Are smart women choosing careers that demand > 40 hour work weeks (e.g. general surgeon, business executive, tenure track professor, etc) or are they opting for more manageable compromise-type careers so they can have a family too? If even one woman gives up what she really wants to do because she thinks she can’t “have it all” then we as a society have made very little progress and need to rethink how women are valued, portrayed and treated in this country. Is the US the place where anyone from anywhere can be anything? Until a woman is elected President of the US I will not believe that American Dream is true for half the population; women.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Now that we have broken one glass-ceiling for Presidential candidates, I’m looking forward to seeing a competent woman as President.  It gets boring looking at pictures of Presidents that ONLY resemble me, male and predominantly white, while I KNOW there are women that can do the job BETTER than some of the white men that have been there!

  • Linda

    this woman is clearly not from the “real world” where choices get made. women bosses are going to make it easier? where has that ever happened. re-enter the work force in your 50′s? who are you kidding. that is considered senior citizen, especially in this economy. NO ONE can have it all. that is a myth. I’m gla her elite education and background in academia gives her such a vocal place to beef up her reputation as an expert, for the rest of us, it’s still about hard choices and sacrifices.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    No, Ms. Slaughter.  The train isn’t going to stop for you.  Keep up or get off.

  • susanr48

     Ms. Slaughter is saying that employers need to change that. she is trying to start a societal talk about change.

  • Heather88email-letters

    I am a former student of Prof. Slaughter’s and I am thrilled that she has opened this conversation. My professional life has been shaped by the very struggles between family and professional demands. I’ve had endless problems with finding reliable and affordable childcare. I’ve interviewed for jobs where prospective the employer refused to consider a part time schedule schedule. I agree that work needs to be more flexible for families, men and women to be successful.

  • lucidgal

    Something else the author is missing here: employers do not exist for the purpose of helping employees to have fulfilling family lives–they exist for profit. It’s silly to think that employers are going to work around our lives. And, that “flex time” everybody likes to talk about is also a myth. Workloads are so heavy and companies are so understaffed… the employee will will pay for it one way or the other.

    • TFRX

      Yeah, there was sort of a tone from Slaughter about workplace things which got awfully wishy-washy.

      Maybe if she said too much about other Western country’s laws that promote good families she’d be blackballed or something.

  • Kathy Smith

    I wish women would stop saying, “This or that generation”. Boloney. There have been men that helped their wives, sisters, etc. in living their dream of a job and managing home life. The big problem is having employers, men or women, who are open-minded enough to allow parents to have flexibility. The other issue is: employers that want young people or males- everyone else is less qualified. At 52 I have been finished with graduate school for 3 years. I am a great employee but I CANT get a job. For the next 2 months I am lucky enough to work 60 hours a week and earn $65: that’s with 3 jobs that I juggle.

  • Greyman

    Yes, again: we HAVE TO, we NEED TO, we MUST equip women to be able to choose between “both-and” outcomes: women must be freed to be able to choose BOTH maternity/childrearing AND secular career. Nothing else and nothing less will satisfy our feminist elites, apparently.

    • TFRX


      How many ex-wives you got?

  • susanr48

     So we women without children can have other benefits that can come with a change in the structure of work.

  • Kathy Smith

    I wish women would stop saying, “This or that generation”. Boloney. There have been men that helped their wives, sisters, etc. in living their dream of a job and managing home life. The big problem is having employers, men or women, who are open-minded enough to allow parents to have flexibility. The other issue is: employers that want young people or males- everyone else is less qualified. At 52 I have been finished with graduate school for 3 years. I am a great employee but I CANT get a job. For the next 2 months I am lucky enough to work 60 hours a week and earn $650 a week: that’s with 3 (temporary) jobs  that I juggle.

    • potter

      It’s an uphill battle to try to change this mindset amongst employers. It’s understandable that women, unorganized, do not want to fight it one by one. How can they? AM Slaughter is talking about changing a culture here that is about bottom line. This battle has been going on, results trying to happen for decades. Progress is very slow and now maybe at a standstill. As AMS agrees, the economic situation won’t allow the situation to move much or perhaps at all.

  • JA

    What we really need is a paradigm shift as to how much work can we realistically expect from anyone man or woman.  At this point CEO’s and even public officials are requiring that fewer people do more and more as they shrink the job force due to wanting more profits or cutting costs.  Even teachers & schools are expected to do more and more for each student, including what used to be considered the responsibilities of parents then document it in writing.   The school janitorial staff is cut and yet the number of buildings is the same. Guess what, it just doesn’t work for anyone, quality suffers and so do the workers!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The ‘job-market’, and especially upper-level management, is rigged AGAINST caring, nuturing, decent parents! 
       Look at the percentages of children that get arrested, for serious crimes, drug-addiction, and other problems, or high-profile parents?  Bush teens drinking and reportedly drugging, ‘like their old man’?  Being a Security Risk to the U.S.?  ‘Conservative’ ‘Family Values’ on World Display?

    • notafeminista

      Mr. Bush isn’t president anymore.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Neither is the President Lincoln, that ‘conservatives’ claim!

  • Dale

    Many highly educated women may not realize that one of the strategies for reducing population growth was and is to open the professions to women.  Apparently these women have never taken an ecology or resource management course.  They probably did not count on the strength of their maternal instinct either.  Of course most women care deeply about their children.  There will always be trade offs in life.  I think Dr. Slaughter should realize that there is no guarantee that her son as he reached his teenage years would not have tried to test his limits even if she were home all the time.  I get the feeling that she feels that she has failed in some respect but she remains a highly accomplished woman and worthy roll model.

  • Drew (GA)

    My only question is this: How much responsibility does the “You can have it all” movement bare in the explosion of the number of single mothers over the past three decades?

    “You can do what you want” was the underlying refrain, the problem is that the “so long as you don’t impede on others right to do the same.” part was left out. But that doesn’t solely apply to the Women Can Have It All movement does it?

    • TFRX

      I wasn’t there, but I thought the “you can do what you want” generation grew up with The Pill. It seemed to be a major part of feminism; women no longer had to rely on (mainly) male-applied birth control.

      • Drew (GA)

        I don’t know how big a role it played in feminism as you put it. A pill only works if you take it, the pill wasn’t the problem the choice not to take it was. Or the choice not to require your partner to wear protection. Or the choice to have unprotected sex in the first place. The affirmations that “You can get pregnant if you want to” (regardless of the consequences), “You don’t need a father in your child’s life if you don’t want one” (despite an active and caring father being beneficial to say the least), “It’s okay to exclude a parent from their child’s life while making them pay more than their fair share” (Never mind that it negatively impacts the child and both parents). That’s all I was getting at, that reinforcing a “To Hell with the consequences” mentality has unnecessarily put a lot of children in terrible situations. Maybe that’s why there is a turnaround of today’s guest’s opinion. Sounds like a feeble attempt at redemption to me.

  • SG

    I disagree with the caller who believes this is a elitist discussion.  Instead this is a discussion about HOW WE RAISE OUR CHILDREN.  Let’s modify the quote about the mark of a society being how it treats its children to how it raises its children.  This conversation is about women trying to figure how how to raise and nurture children.  I celebrate this discussion and dialog. 

  • DC-20-Something

    Anne – Marie,

    Thank you for your article.  I am a highly ambitious young woman (working in D.C.) but also someone who wants a very close and strong family unit.  I am worried that I will not find a husband who is looking to put his career on hold and be a full time Dad.  I know that I am going to have to make sacrifices along the way because a high-powered career and every night family dinners are often at odds. I appreciate you legitimizing my feelings. 

  • Some Companies are Listening

    Some companies are listening and changing. I work at a large bank in Boston. It has been trying to change its mindset to be more flexible for at least 8 years now. Fortunately some of it is working. I have 2 small children and am able to work 3 days a week with occasionally working from home if needed. It took me roughly 1 year to negotiate this arrangement with a lot of obstacles, luck, and sacrifice to get here and have been told not to expect a higher than average review nor a promotion while in this arrangement. I am am also introduced as the part-timer right after my name. But I feel we are on the way to progress. I personally am grateful to all the “equal rights” women who came before me who have enabled me and my family to have the perfect work life make up for us. I feel we all need to be pioneers and continue their good work to fine tune how work/careers/families are defined. We must all also keep an open mind to realize that what works for one family probably won’t work for the next.

  • Felice Shapiro. Publisher

    Betterafter50 http://www.betterafter50.com

    Ann-marie Slaughter speaks about ambition and the potential of women to be in the game. We at BA50 say right on. We are committed to inspiring and providing the canvass for what’s next after 50 for women. It’s an exciting time be it work or new goals
    We are thrilled Slaughter has blown this dialogue wide open
    Clearly we BA 50s are ready for this conversation.

    • nj_v2

      Flimsy pretense to plug a blog. And a lame one at that. 

      “We at…”? Whom are you pretending to speak for?

      • notafeminista

        Snark just for snark’s sake?  The title of the blog and the post both state clearly for whom they speak. There’s no pretense.

  • Liz

    As a fourth year graduate student in biomedical sciences, this dialogue is nothing new among my other female classmates and me. I certainly appreciate Mrs. Slaughter bringing the discussion to the public eye, but as I will be attaining my doctorate in the next year or two, I’m wondering what the ambitious young females can do at an individual level. I haven’t determined where my career will go next but I’m torn between the what next professionally and how that will dictate anything else in my life. How can we act within our own lives to bring about a shift without “copping out?” 

    • notafeminista

      1)How do you define “copping out”?

      2)What difference does it make if someone else thinks you “copping out”?

  • GMG

    The guest seems thoroughly immersed in a kind of narrow ladder-climbing mindset. The top schools, the best companies, the most impressive job titles.  It seems like a kind of narrow perspective.  I guess we are all limited by our context, but it sounds a bit like some over-broad generalizations are being drawn from a very particular model of what constitutes success.

    • Pagassae

      I am sure that she woluld only be seen in a Mercedes Benz too. What a fraud she is.

    • notafeminista

      Pun intended?

    • Brettearle

      The more elusive the American Dream becomes, the more coveted–consciously and unconsciously–the elitist, gated-community vision of opulence, becomes.

  • Nicole

    My question for Ann Marie is: Did you ask for those
    workplace accommodations yourself? If you were already at the top, how could
    you step away and let down women who aspire to be in your position, rather than
    challenge the status quo and demand changes from your position, one in which
    you had more power to demand them than anyone who you are speaking to. If it
    can’t happen at the top, how can you expect it to happen at the bottom? It’s selfish
    and hypocritical to expect others to change the workplace, but not be willing
    to stick it out and do it yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/InvestmentClaim Lee M. Holland, Esq.

    Hello. Great topic. I am a hands-on parent, remarried, with a total of 3 kids. I busted my butt for 10 years in the city, slogging it out on the daily commute to and fro Boston (not that it matters, but from Newburyport). FFW=> Marriage ends, I remarry, have 3rd child. Now I stay at home 2/5, work 2/5 days a week on average, spend 1/5 days a week in kids’ schools (and Daddy Dinners). I do groceries, garbage runs, handiwork, diaper changes, midnight feedings, midnight work sessions, build my own website, set up my own IT, attend professional conferences, play electric bass in a punk cover bank, get outside to take a break, walk the dog, brush the cat, change the litter box, mow the lawn, I do everything I can, and am willing to do anything needed. I may not “have it all” by some people’s standards. I very much do rely on my excellent partner for support, love, teamwork. We make a decent life together, and rely on her benefits. We took a look at what we could patch together, who would give where, who would do what, then we took the best options available to us, without worrying about gender roles, social stereotypes, etc. All I can say is I have never been more satisfied in my life. Though I am not at the top of the world in my career (yet), I am 38 and have figured out a lot about life and about myself, including what I need to be happy. I hope everyone can find his or her best balance in life (and it changes as we go!), and achieve satisfaction and true happiness. That is the end goal, isn’t it? Please check out http://www.fathersandfamilies.org. Kids need both parents.

    • Brettearle

      The `Us vs Them’ mentality is still present–because men and women still stick to their beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes about the opposite sex, more than the prevailing modern revolutionary attempts to change such thinking.  

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      • http://twitter.com/InvestmentClaim Lee M. Holland, Esq.

        Agreed. I must admit I do encounter unreasonable, tunnel-visioned people and also open minded and fair, empathic people who can look at things from different vantage points. And I see no evidence of this variation being a male or female thing, but rather, often the result of personal trauma/reaction that they carry forward and have yet to resolve. Emotional intelligence is one of the most underrated things. Our corporations don’t value it, because it can seem inefficient and weak. The soldier mentality of going forth and taking things, is too extreme. We need new leaders, new blood, new vision in powerful positions to make real change. I am glad to be a kid of the 70s, and between the boomers and boomer-offspring, because I have seen a lot of social progress, and don’t resent it or take it for granted.

        • Brettearle

          Everything you say is poignant and I am in `fierce’ agreement with it.

          However, it seems to me that the following might have to happen, before we see a moderate change, much less a radical change:

          [And, I ask for your forbearance--because what I have to say may sound quixotic and unrealistic.  That's where, I would argue, emotional intelligence has to be factored in, in appreciating the following]:

          While it sounds like naive, revolutionary politics, I think that it is a matter of time, before our entire culture and society must be overhauled and revamped…before real change takes place.

          The revolutionary social thinking of the 60s was a presage to what could happen–ONLY if our dysfunctional institutions, media, home life, school life, spiriutal lives, transform.

          That’s not likely to happen easily or anytime soon.

          I am not a Marxist, nor a Fascist, nor an Anarchist.

          I simply feel that our capitalistic, free-enterprise, economic system isn’t in good shape.  And our country’s clashes, with the rest of the world–vis a vis trade, investment, currency, energy needs, etc–is likely to worsen, before it gets better.

          Buddhism, humility, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, secular humanism, egalitarianism…..are not going to cut it, in this environment. 

          People are TOO stressed out and frightened to be able to take responsibility for their own emotional intelligence.

          The days of Esalen Institute, the Human Potential Movement, and even effective Psychotherapy are a reasonable thing of the past.

          [Psychotherapists tell me that their profession is, for the most part, in shambles]

          Our online revolution can promote anonymity and even alienation…between people.

          The discordant communication, in Washington, is a symptom for the country.

          While it is incumbent for all of us to understand ourselves and to try to understand those with whom we come in contact with, if we indict voice-of-doomers, like myself, then I think we are practicing dangerous denial.

          Are there success stories?

          Of course there are!

          But are those, most often, currently, within the 1%?

          People ARE hurting.

          [By the way, we're staying up on the North Shore.

          Do you ever go to 10 Center Street?

          One of our favorite spots.]

    • Pagassae

      Do you, as well of some of the other commentors, stand for the scancity of marriage?? You are now on marriage number 2, with the standard flock of step kids which now abound in US society.

      Seems to me that many of you str8 people hop from marriage to marriage, yet toot your silly horns about the scancity of a one man, one woman relationship.
      As a gay man, I say this is so much BS.

      • Lool


    • Terry Tree Tree

      Children need someone to love them, teach them, guide them, be there for them, and a HOST of other things.  BOTH parents is best, if NOT abusive, drug-addict, drunk, Molester, or other detrimental!
         ONE bad parent, can ruin the chances to raise healthy, mentally stable, productive Citizens, that ARE the future!
         MANY men claim to be ‘fathers’, when they aren’t much as men, and NOT parents!  Sperm-Donors and bad influence, is the most that some can claim honestly!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    The following is a link to a graphic comparing the US to other nations in weeks of paid maternity leave. By this measure we live in an uncivilized society, a society which disregards and devalues basic human needs.


    Once again the US is out of step with the rest of the world. The US is an embarrassment in the community of nations. We need a new America.  We need a civil America, a kind and compassionate America. We need a revolution in kindness and compassion. We need a kind, compassionate, feminist, progressive woman like Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party in the White House.

    • notafeminista

      You know, I’ve seen those comparisons.   The argument is that the mother (or parents) need that bonding time with the child when arriving home post-birth.  And then somehow magically decide that it is a better example for the mother to re-enter the workplace rather than to care for her child at home.

      Frankly, I think women want to be paid to be stay at home moms.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        BE a stay-at-home ‘mom’, and do it RIGHT!  TELL me that you wouldn’t expect to be paid for that, and paid WELL for the amount of,  and the diversity of the work!

        • notafeminista

          And who is going to pay me exactly?

  • R.B.P

    In your interview with Tom Ashbrook, I heard you say something like the following (pardon me for paraphrasing), “Well, I was working in my position in Washington, but felt emotionally torn – I knew that my family would be better off with me at home.”

    Now, your situation as I understood it to be was that your husband was managing the majority of the parenting in order for you to concentrate on the requirements of your work for the Secretary of State.  So, it would seem that you were saying that you were emotionally torn because you knew that you would be providing better parenting than your husband was.

    Let’s re-phrase the statement that I paraphrased, and reverse the actors:  Imagine the stay-at-home dad who left his career, only to have a career woman assume the position that he had left.  Imagine him stating, “Well, I was torn, because while I was happy to be parenting, I knew that I could do a better job at my previous position than that woman was, and felt compelled to go back, for the good of the company.”

    I am sure you would take issue with the assumption that a man is necessarily and inherently better at ‘work’ than a woman, so why is it logical for you to base your surmise on the fact that a woman would be a better parent than a man?

    Your position seems to point only to societal expectations, rather than structural issues.  You were not externally compelled to leave your post in Washington because you were a woman.  You were compelled to leave because you FELT that your presence at home would be better for your family.  What you don’t explain is WHY you feel that you can managed the well being of your family BETTER than your husband could.  Why is it that you don’t suppose that every working father ALSO feels that his family would be better off if only he were there?

    I don’t have any reason to oppose women in the workplace, at the highest levels or elsewhere.  I do take issue with the notion of having it all.  I have to explain to my four year old on a daily basis that she has to choose.  If we have twenty minutes before lunch, she can either have 20 minutes at the playground, or 20 minutes at the pool, but since the pool and playground are not in proximity, she cannot have both.  It is not because of societal constraints – it is merely the reality of time, space, and logistics.

    Likewise, if I aspire to a career position that requires 30 years of concerted and uninterrupted effort, I cannot reasonably expect to reach that position in 30 years if I have to take some extended hiatus, whether that hiatus is for the purpose of giving birth, raising children, backpacking through Europe, or what have you.  If I choose to focus my time and effort on some OTHER thing for, say, 5 years, then necessarily, I will require a total of 35 years to do both things.  This is not chauvinism or prejudice – this is simple math.

    Likewise with your notion of paying for results rather than time.  That thinking seems flawed.  Let’s assume that I am working 40 hours a week, and achieving “X” results.  Then my employer agrees to pay me for my results rather than my time.  Then it turns out that I am able to achieve “X” in only 20 hours.  Now along comes another person with the same basic talents as I have – they can also achieve “X” in 20 hours, but THEY are willing to work 40 hours, thereby achieving “2X”, and for the same salary.  Why wouldn’t my employer choose this other person over me?

    I am not arguing that a woman’s choices in the workplace may be constrained by stereotype and chauvinism.  What I am pointing out is that time is finite, and as a result, all people, men and women alike, have always and will continue to have to make choices about how they spend their time.  And those choices have consequence.

    • notafeminista

      Heck, leave the statement as it stands.  Why does the speaker assume the father is not as capable as the mother at providing effective parenting?

  • Pagassae

    I wonder what does “have it all” mean?  Sounds more like the unbridled greed as we see in the corporate world, IMHO. 

    Bernie Madoff “wanted it all” too, and look where that got him.

    To hell with that crap.

    We need fewer people who want it all, presumably for themselves, and more who want to SHARE it all.

    • notafeminista

      People are always self-interested first.  Always.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The unpaid Volunteer Fire Fighters? Volunteer Rescue Squad members? the Volunteer Medical First Responders?
           Risking your life, at ANY hour, ANY weather, to save other people’s lives and property is Self-Interest?
          Obviously you want to ‘rationalize’ your own selfishness, by saying ‘everyone is that way’?

        • Pagassae

          Good point!

        • notafeminista

          So paid firefighters, EMTs and the like are somehow inferior to the volunteers?  Not as dedicated?

          I suspect there are 343 NYFD members who would disagree with you.

      • Pagassae

        Likely so. Future beings will attribute that selfish thinking to the ultimate downfall of humanity.The failure to recognize the common good, for the planet, for humanity, for all other life will bring calamity.

        • notafeminista

          No likely about it and it’s not selfish in slightest.  No one is going to take care of us once we reach the age of majority.  That’s the point.  We’re adults and as such are responsible for ourselves.   We come into the world alone and we leave it alone.  Your good may not be my good and I for one am tired of other people foisting what they think is good on me.

          • Pagassae

            Just as you have done here.

          • notafeminista

            As have you…or were your comments about str8s and their silly horns  simply a rhetorical ploy?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      I heard you but that’s the American way of life.
      “To Have It All”

      I guess you’re not of them but you achieved something without the word Greed.

      • Pagassae

        Thanks….  I am simply bothered by that very concept. I have said for some years that America’s “greatest generation”, of WW II fame, gave way to America’s “greediest generation”, aka..the Boomers. The concept of “wanting it all” is nonsense and a fiction of the Boomer generation’s spoiled philosophy..and the delusioal…or both.

        Is not the greed implied in “wanting it all” the root cause of the political deadlock the US is in now?   It is indeed, IMHO.

  • tony12

    This has always been the dilemma in our society for women and men. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be 100 devoted to your career and family. You are lucky if you can share parenting responsibilities with a partner and still pursue a career. There are many single parents, women and men, that have to sacrifice or postpone a great career or their family for the other.

    • feettothefire

          My grandmother was a nurse who sacrificed her career to raise four children. My mother was a nursing student who sacrificed her career to raise six children. It’s sad that the decision in those days was that the sacrifice had to automatically be the woman’s to make. But that was those days, and SOMEONE made the sacrifice. That’s what parents do for their children, or so I thought. If ones career is so important that child-rearing is considered a burden, perhaps one should reconsider the wisdom of having those burdensome children.

  • Laurel

    Our public education system, at least pre-secondary education, is run by women.  I am a teacher who recently left a job at a school with at-risk kids for a job at a school where the kids have a lot more support and where the workload is less because I’m a mom and was struggling with how to balance the demands of teaching with the demands of raising my family.  The kids in this country who are struggling need good teachers like me, but I can’t be there for them anymore.  This is something no one talks about when talking about education reform.  Teachers need true maternity leave, on-site day-care, and smaller class-sizes/work-loads.  Almost all of the talented teachers I have worked with over the years either leave the profession or go to schools with kids who are not as “needing” of help.  Once I have raised my family, I plan on returning to schools where I am most needed, but for now I need to be able to have energy and time for my kids.  

    • notafeminista

      Interesting that nothing in your propsed options for education reform included the actual students.  Just the teachers.

      • Laurel

         Kids need good teachers.  The entire comment is about good teachers leaving the hardest schools because it’s a 60-70 hour/week job.  This show’s topic isn’t about students, it’s about women in the workforce.  A huge portion of women in are workforce are teachers.  There are a lot of points to be made about what students need.  But, they wouldn’t really be germaine.

        • notafeminista

          Your point is that because you need to care for your children you can’t be there for the students, and then go on to propose ways that will take continually take you away from your students, and benefit you.  Not your students, who presumably would benefit from your presence, not a lack thereof.

          • Laurel

             I’m just saying that if you want to keep good teachers teaching in the schools that most need them, you need to make it easier for women AND MEN to balance their home and work lives.  This would be a benefit for teachers and students.  As it stands now, a majority of teachers leave the profession before their 5th year.  The newest and most inexperienced teachers work in the schools with the kids who are the most challenging to teach.  The stress and the workload are the reasons teachers cite for leaving those schools and the profession.  The majority of these people are women.

          • notafeminista

            Which makes it kind of difficult to believe teachers and their representatives when they say “they’re doing it for the children.”

          • Terry Tree Tree


          • notafeminista

            I am not a teacher.  I am not a CEO. However, I work 60 hours a week 52 weeks a year.  I don’t get a 3 month leave in the middle of my work year.  Furthermore I’ll direct your attention to the (what is now)top of the page from the poster who says being a teacher ensured better work hours than most professionals.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266410766 Phyllis Craine

            I have to agree, prorate a teachers salary to see what they’d make if they worked 12 months a year  and most of them do really well, as well as other white collar professionals

          • TFRX


            Hey, find every person who can’t get assigned more than 25 hours a week of work and tell them they’re making lots of money, prorated.

            Expenses, for one thing, go on all year.

          • TFRX

            The truth comes out. Teachers get the whole summer off!

            Really, is this the best you can do?

          • notafeminista

            Little disingenuous don’t you think?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Thank you!  Dedicated teachers ARE essential to good education! 
         Good to GREAT teachers are human!  They have lives outside the classroom! 

  • Orsmond4

    I believe it was Barbara Billingsley (aka June CLeaver) who said “You can have it all, just not all at the same time.”

  • MarkKnoeller

    Is restructuring our socioeconomic system possible? The measure of productivity means the fewest number of people must work the maximum number of hours. Our economic models are skewed to short term benefits. Can capitalism be fundamentally changed?  Clearly we must find a way.

  • Josey4prez

    Feminism is dangerous. The leaders of this movement are women from wealth whose husbands very often profit from the crazy conditions feminism creates. In other words, female “liberation” has nothing at all to do with it. It is a movement aimed at propelling women into the work force, with the grievous effects on family life being ignored or downplayed. A favorite tactic of feminist leaders is to LIE. They lie constantly about domestic violence statistics. They lie about men. They lie about children. They lie about family life. Feminists are anti-conservative. They want to eradicate traditional roles not for the benefit of women, but to create more cheap labor. Beneath the facade of freedom, beyond the language of “rights” is an economy that needs both men and women to function at maximum profit. So long as families stick together, the economy will not expand in the corrupt “individualist” fashion so perpetuated by the criminals within liberalism. The good news is so many women are not brainwashed by feminist ideology. They are happy working part time, being mother, wife or friend. Feminist propaganda isn’t too convincing. Truth cannot be concealed for long. Eventually, feminism will eliminated by the power of truth. Society will get back to it’s natural flow and the liberals will once again have no more role as “saviors” of people who don’t need to be saved at all.

    • feettothefire

       It seems to be your belief that women should be happy in the role of mother, wife, or friend, but have no business aspiring to be doctor, lawyer, police officer, or President. Is that correct. Is there some particular reason why men can’t be happy as father, husband, and friend? Are they too stupid or just too selfish?

    • DrJoani

      Yikes! you are a woman? Don’t bother voting because feminists helped win that right for you —to vote( or not vote) and you shouldn’t support them or their “ideology.”.
      I’d like to know who the “leaders” are since until now I had always believed that most women are feminists.

      • notafeminista

        Most women are not feminists.

        • TFRX

          Ask them “Are you a feminist?”

          They’ll say “No.”

          Ask them further and they’ll say, “No, but…”

          There are plenty of “No, but…” feminists out there. Like duck-billed platypuses, they don’t call themselves feminists, but they take for granted everything feminists fought for and expect it to be there like the moon and the sun.

          It was simply thus, rather than the result of struggles and fights and disagreements. They just fall into the idea that it was given to them out of someone’s charitable goodness.

          And today’s guest is from a subsect of an awfully wealthy part of society for whom much of that will is never under threat. For one example, the guest’s daughter, should a condom break on her, will have many more choices than a 15-y.o. in Missletucky.

          • notafeminista

            Dogwhistle alert.

          • TFRX

            Dogwhistle? Really? I’m sending out a “veiled” signal to right-wing ignorants which is going over the heads of mainstreamers, who figure everything is OK since “condom” is a medical term?

          • notafeminista

            Dog-whistles aren’t solely the property of “right-wingers”.

          • TFRX

            Wow, I hope that’s not a roundhouse, cos it doesn’t even land like a jab.

            You caught me out. There is something I coded in there about the Wobblies and Saul Alinksy.

          • notafeminista

            No, she has the same choices any woman does.  Biology is distressingly egalitarian.

          • TFRX

            Your side’s voodoo (aka fundamentalism nosing its way into politics, trumping medicine) really restricts the choices of the Missletuckian.

            But I don’t have to tell you that, and there’s no point pretending you’re cogitating it.

          • notafeminista

            You know something about biology the rest of us don’t?

          • TFRX

            It’s not biology, it’s geography.

            No point going over your head yet again, I see.

          • notafeminista

            No, a pregnant woman has 3 choices (all pregnant women). 
            1)Keep it

            2)Abort it

            3)Adopt it

            Thats all there is.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Actual CRIME statistics say YOU LIE?
         Your silly ‘conservative’ tirade is DENIED, by simple truth?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    I remembered when Russian women has a place in the former Soviet Union.

    During WW2 a lot Russian women fought the Germans and during the Space race in the 50s and 60s they had the chance to be cosmonauts.

    Russian women were even had the chance to compete with fellow Russian men in space explorations and Russian was still a Communist country.

    A democractic country like United States of American it took for women decades before they can be accepted in NASA’s space programs and other fields.

    What is wrong in American Democracy? It is a White Men’s world sad to say.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Not even my Olive/Brown skin has no chance with those white men.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    ARTICLE XIIIWOMENSection 14. The State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WOW!  The Phillipines were THAT far AHEAD of the U.S.?

      • notafeminista

        Is there a similar section for the men?  Or are only women entitled to such benefits?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

          Filipino women are often victims of domestic violence and raped by their fathers. Article was written to protect women in the Philippines. whatever ethnic background.

          • notafeminista

            Begs the question.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Majority of lawyers that were hired by President Corazon Aquino to re-write the 1972 constitution of Marcos were women and also Sharia female attorneys are now responsible in writing Islamic laws of the Filipino muslims.

  • michael

    Ms. Slaughters article really speaks to our culture at large both men and women. First, we as a culture must change our mind set from one of wanting quantity (the most money, most power, most fame, etc.) to wanting quality (balanced life, freedom to grow, time with others: family, children, neighbors, friends etc.)

    We need to change the way society sees work. I believe it should be easier for any one to make changes in their professions, and life. After, say, 20 years at a career or on a job maybe you get tired of that job and want to broaden you abilities and change to a new career. It should be easier to faze out of the workplace, go back to school and pick up a new career. This would have tremendous benefits to both the worker, companies and the country. It would enrich people’s lives, the people who have been in one field for years and retrained for another would bring more depth and perspecive to the new job – enriching that company and profession and it would open up spots in the work force so youger workers can enter and advance.

    We should reframe what we value. If we value family, then, it should be easier for families to be families. For example, it should be acceptible, encouraged even, for women who have children to, say, spend the first 7 years at home raising the children and for it to be acceptable and encouraged that men stay home with the children for the next 7 years. This I think would make for a better balanced society (which should be everyone’s goal) by creating more balanced and happier beings, and drastically reduce all the alienation that our current fractured and harried culture promotes. 

    • R.B.P

      Agreed – the value system of America as a whole seems out of whack.  However, that is surely a generalization.  I don’t believe that we can mandate values to people, nor should we want to.  That is the domain of the individual.  In my case, my partner stays home as a full time mom, and I work.  My income potential is the greater of the two, so I shoulder the burden of primary earner.  She, in turn, manages the family and raises our children.  We live with less MATERIAL wealth than we might have if she were to work as well (she was a career woman before becoming a mother).  But we have made our choices, based on our values.  If everyone felt as we do, then by definition, society would change.  But I think it is wrong headed to assume that you can force a value system on people from the top down – it comes from the bottom up.

      • michael

        Absolutely. You can’t legislate values. Each individual will have to figure it out on their own.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    Sad to hear that US teachers are complaining about low annual salary of $27,000 to $50,000 a year.

    In the Philippines public school teachers get paid not even close to $15,000 or less a year and they still buy school supplies for their students - out of pocket expenses.

    Those students who are poor and barely able to survive. graduated with honors and able to enroll in Public colleges and become Doctos or Engineers with the help of those struggling public school teachers.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Compared to CEOs, that get $MILLIONS to bankrupt the company they were hired to ‘lead’?   Banksters, that scam, defraud, or steal $MILLIONS?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        AIG Philippines was closed and left thousands of parents broke for life.

        their kid’s college savings are gone.

  • Alan in NH

    If a woman should choose not to have children but rather to devote herself full time to a career, then shouldn’t she be able to make that decision and shouldn’t her career’s opportunities and pay be as available to her as to a man given similar abilities, training, etc. I’ve always taken this to be the primary message of feminists.

    The woman who chooses to have a career but also to have children; shouldn’t there be more support institutionally for that decision? More generous maternity leaves for both mother and father, childcare in the workplace or some such? In a number of European countries, the Scandinavian ones for sure, and I think in Germany as well, maternity leaves are considerably more generous than they are here. Isn’t this a message feminists have also advocated?

    I see nothing inherently liberal or conservative about either message.

    • notafeminista

      Why should there be institutional support for what is a private decision?

      • Alan in NH

        What you seem to be implying is that only the rich should have children since they have the personal wherewithal to have their careers (if they even need one) and hire the help to raise their children. The rest of us can just deal. Before the great outsourcing took place, it used to be possible, as in my father’s time, for a man (or a woman) to be the sole breadwinner and the other parent, usually the woman, to stay home with the kids. How many families can do that now? And is it their fault that things have changed to this degree? And once again, there are societies, well run, well to do countries with good economies, that feel that child raising can be supported if the society as a whole supports that effort by having greater maternity leaves, child care in the workplace, and so on. They don’t seem to get hung up on the idea that society can make such a decision and can afford it, and that it doesn’t subvert personal choice but instead enhances it.

        • feettothefire

          What your comment fails to take into consideration is the fact that most people in this country are employed by small business owners, who can ill afford greater maternity leaves, child care in the workplace, and so on. Even if they’re kindly souls who would like to do so, they simply can’t. If it’s mandated by government it will certainly subvert the personal choice of those employers. If these things are provided by a government which can barely afford what’s currently on it’s plate, we open up a whole new can of worms. If I chose not to have children because I couldn’t afford it, why should my tax dollars support your decision to have children which you can’t afford either, without government assistence?    

        • notafeminista

          What you seem to be implying is that people who have children should expect someone else to pay for said children.

    • notafeminista

      How about the woman who decides not to have children?  What kind of institutional support should she have?

      Tax credits for not increasing the carbon foot print?

      Professional grants for not increasing consumption on the earth?

      Higher pay than her sisters in arms for not needing maternity leave and/or onsite daycare?

      Increased vacation accruals for being at the workplace rather than staying at home with children?

      • Alan in NH

        Missed the point. I wasn’t advocating institutional support for the woman who chooses career rather than childbearing beyond equal opportunity for advancement and equal pay for equal work.

        • notafeminista

          No but you advocated institutional support (above and beyond what’s mentioned previously) for those who do decide to have children, thus enuring them greater benefits than those who chose not to have children.

  • Newton Whitman

    As a man who has often made the decision that my children and my home life come first I have to say DUH. Man can’t have it all either any perception that we can is based on the outdated view that we come home to dinner waiting and kids are watched by their mothers or other care givers.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      It takes 2 to bring up a child.

  • committed teacher

    Thank you, Ms. Slaughter!  I am so happy to hear someone in a high powered position finally being honest about the struggle between profession and family.  It is often an excruciating struggle.  

    I am an employee in a public school district.  I was driven to make changes in the lives of kids and in the structures and effectiveness of our education system.  I worked and educated myself until I was able to become an elementary school principal in a school that was struggling academically.   After having my daughter, I realized I could not commit to the endless hours at school (usually 7:30 a.m. til 9 or 10 p.m.) needed to be an effective principal.  

    I decided to leave my position, believing that it was the best decision for both my daughter and for the staff and students at my school.  I have received SO many comments since that have suggested that I just didn’t have the “right stuff” to be a principal – that something was wrong with my performance.  I was viewed very much as a failure by the other principals and higher administration in my district, despite my evaluations being good and excellent.  

    I am not sure that I will ever be able to return to this level of service in my district.  More painful to me, is the overall condescending attitude that I have been treated with since making this painful decision.  I loved working as a leader in education… and was attempting to make the most responsible decision for all involved.  I do not understand this mindset – especially in the field of education.  

    I am so thankful that this conversation is out in the mainstream now.  It needs to be hashed out and elevated to big, big discussions!!  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You made the RIGHT decision for your daughter and you!  AND the school and school district!
          Some people have ALWAYS been narrow-minded!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    What constitute success? For some having a great career,great bank accounts, big house, cars, a great husband or wife and smart children.

    For others big success is to help someone achieve something better.

    • Pagassae

      Exactly. Having it all is the essence of GREED.

  • Simonev45

    I was a teacher, so had better hours than most professionals.  My husband died when my kids were little (youngest was 4); am very thankful that I was “allowed” to work part time when they were little.  I had to rely on a long list of mothers and others to babysit whenever anyone had a cold, or I had a meeting late in the day, etc.   Sure, it was a challenge, but I liked my work, felt it was important even if it didn’t bring in the big bucks, and was glad I worked for a man who thought his part-timers were among his best teachers….I had a burning desire to do well in my work — but I never defined “success” as having a high status job with lots of income.  By the way, I think men are often “success objects”, just as women are often “sex objects”….I enjoyed reading the dialogue here, and I appreciated Slaughter’s awareness of how hard it is to be a “single parent”…..I know that’s true!  

  • www.nehavedpathak.com

    Being an artist I have always struggled with ambition and family. There is always guilt associated with being ambitious and putting work/career ahead of private life. Especially since I 
    don’t always get paid for work very hard.

  • feettothefire

    We’re not hunter-gatherers anymore. Men no longer go out doing the dirty work of killing buffalo or waging war with neighboring tribes. When these things were the norm, the greater muscle mass men possessed pretty much determined who did the child rearing and who did the hunting and killing. But it doesn’t take greater muscle mass to be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, warehouse manager, or even an auto mechanic.                    When women began entering the work force in greater numbers than ever in the late sixties, everything pertaining to child-rearing and “homemaking” should have changed, but didn’t. The antiquated roles of he-man hunter and compliant housewife should have faded away. But we still think it’s the woman’s job to sacrifice any ambition she may have, but it’s never the man’s job to do so, even though he no longer has to kill buffaloes. The idea that a woman must  sacrifice her career ambitions because the man is the man is ridiculous. But, equally ridiculous is the idea that women OR men can have it all.                                             In the seventies, when women were often told they could “have it all,” they were being sold a bill of goods. The idea that a woman could work a full time job while continuing to fill the traditional role of a typical wife and mother of the time is, on it’s very face, absurd. If I told a typical working man in 1965  he should be able to put in his 9-to-5 at the mill, or the office, or the firehouse, while taking care of the kids, buying the groceries, doing the laundry and cooking dinner, he’d have told me to stick it. And rightfully so. Even if they were willing to do it they couldn’t have done so. I sure know I couldn’t have. I’ll never understand what made so many women believe they could do this. Didn’t they see their exhausted husbands stumbling in from work, only to sit in their comfy chair in their boxer shorts, nursing a martini or a cold beer?                                                      But today, the problem still remains the fact we’re stuck with those old-fashioned notions of gender roles. Why is this even positioned as a women’s problem? Why isn’t it a man’s dilemma as well? Aren’t men parents too? Don’t men dirty up the sheets and know where the grocery store is as well as their wives. If men are parents, as women are, and men live in the same houses as their wives, with all it’s housekeeping needs, why is this exclusively a women’s dilemma? Shouldn’t this simply be a matter of two parents deciding who should stay home with the kids, or at least work fewer hours, based on things like each others income and who might be happier doing what, rather than on who does or doesn’t have a penis?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Believe or Not you sounded like my mother.

      • feettothefire

         Fine with me.

  • Canyonren

    I am a professional who chose to stay home when my children were young.  I am now trying to get back in the work force and am having no luck in getting a job.  I feel as though I am tainted because I did stay home.  The “working world” seems to look down on me as lacking skills or being inadequate now.  My kids are incredible citizens, though, because I chose this path.

  • Neo

    Lets start with not considering pregnancy as a disability, but as a celebration of life

  • michael

    I am in total agreement with you both Brettearle and Holland. This culture – the whole human species, actually-  needs to change its head. Instead of operating from the viewpoint of “how much of this pie can I grab for myself?” we should be thinking “How best to make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie?”

    • Prairie_W

      Thank you, Michael.  I came in here hoping to find a comment on “how about the balance of giving and getting.”  Maybe the phrase “having it all” just grates on some of us.  But there it is:  a phrase that makes us sound, as a culture, incredibly spoiled.  Women and men, not to mention children.

      I just want to add a link to this discussion which may explain “wanting it all.”


      Maybe, in the end, this is all about getting stuck in what Kolbert calls “adultescence.”

  • xenvlah

    How do women “change the world?” I’ve spent many hours as a young woman in the work force and then as a stay at home mother wrestling about these issues, and little by little I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t change the world at all–we aren’t all going to go down in the history books. But parents can and do change the world by the kind of children they raise.  And what is “having it all?” Strangely, many women feel like having it all is having the freedom to be home with their children. I feel incredibly blessed to have a career that I could slow way down and work ten hours a week from home, and mostly be a stay at home mom. This is the “all” that I want.

    • stephanie

      We get change to happen by writting to our tv stations, radio stations, congressmen and other women. Also by joining and starting women’s groups who fight for issues we believe in. 

      Nothing worth getting comes without hard work…we women all know this. 

  • capeziosa

    All these suggestions for freedom of time management  are great for professional careers, but how does this cultural shift reach people in blue collar shift work?

  • Stephanie

    This discussion is so important! 
    But why are we not taking this discussion to the next level and speaking out both politically and at work to force change? 
    Women make up slightly more than 52% of the population yet we do not regulary speakout about about issues affecting women’s rights or familly issues. We do not talk about how women feel about equal pay and maybe more importantly we do not unite together to force issues women feel are important. 

    It is time for women to stand up and stop listening to what we have been told “is” expected of us (to be good at everything all of the time).  We need to speak loudly about what changes need to occur in our society. It is time to demand change to our system, access to afforable childcare, united support for women’s health and increased flexability in the work place to support our families. This includes men who also deserve the same rights. 

    Lets start by making our congress and president hear our concerns and then vote according to their responses in this next election. 

    Our society and children are falling behind the rest of the world.  It has been proven that women have the largest effect on childrens success in all societies and partly because we USA women are not leading in large enough groups our country is falling behind on social issues and child development.  

    We need to take responsibility for our families and our countries future.  Women let’s stand up and make ourselves heard!!!!

    Concerned USA Citizen and Working Women

    • R.B.P

      Why is affordable child care a right?  Likewise, why is flexibility in the workplace a right?  In fact, if you consider it, these two notions are contradictory.

      Child care requires child care providers.  These are working adults, who of course must be paid.  Affordable child care means either that these child care providers are paid less, or that the ratio of children to caregiver changes, leaving our children with sub-standard care.

      At the same time, you want flexibility in the workplace, which raises costs for employers.  People are not interchangeable widgets – to have flexibility, but to still meet the demands of the job, requires multiple layers of overlapping personnel.  This costs money.

      So, on the one hand, you state that we have the right to affordable child care, and on the other hand, you state that child care workers should have flexibility in their workplace, which raises the cost of that very same child care service.

      I say, if you want your children to be cared for, then plan to make child rearing your primary focus for the duration that your children need it.  Man or woman, husband or wife – one of you should plan to stay with the kids that you bring into this world.  And if that means you have to go without an iPad, drive a Ford Fiesta rather than a BMW, etc. then so be it.

      It is not incumbent upon the world to supply you with all your wants, merely because you want them.

      • notafeminista

        Bravo!  (applaud applaud)

        • feettothefire

           History is made today. You and I agree on something.

      • feettothefire

         I second the Bravo below.

    • feettothefire

       How does anything you just wrote jive with the line in your final paragraph, “take responsibility for our families?”

  • Eric Wilke

    All these conversations assume that making new life is inherently good, and that everything else should get out of the way of that new SUV coming out of mommy. These conversations operate under the philosophy that kids = good. Questioning this seems to be a taboo subject even for NPR. Life cannot be deemed to be always good just “because”. One doesn’t have to be a satanist to see that the reverse argument can also be made: That life, especially human life and especially in this world as it is now, is always a harm.

    • notafeminista

      Make a case for new life being bad.

      • Eric Wilke

        Why don’t you make the case for new life being good first?

        • notafeminista

          Don’t want to stand on your principles? Can’t?

          • Eric Wilke

            No it’s just that it’s not actually MY principle. I’m not an anti-natalist, my opinion is that having children is morally ambiguous. It’s the way it’s assumed to be morally right to have kids that actually seems morally wrong to me. 

            No sane person would intentionally cause the suffering of another living being, but merely because we as a species never think to question it, we intentionally cause the suffering of other living beings and feel great about it every time we procreate. Besides the harm procreation does to society (overpopulation, carbon footprint, etc.), a kid is going to get sick, scared, psychologically hurt etc., no matter how well you protect it. But again, my point is not to argue against having children, just that the philosophy behind having kids is never talked about without qualms and emotion (ex: your response). As if it’s a sacred, almost religious matter. 

            Like not eating meat, not having kids should be analyzed not by what our genes or teeth or history as humans seem to tell us to do, but what we can do now as enlightened, reasonable people in a modern age.

          • LetsGetReal

            Spot on and on point (a lot more than this show often is). And the corollary would be: Women who want to reach the top of their profession should make that the focus of their lives just like men must. So NO KIDS or get a househusband. And no whining.

          • notafeminista

            I don’t know that having children is morally right or morally wrong or morally ambiguous.  However, all procreation (not just of the human variety) creates an impact of some sort on the earth.  Its only humans who feel guilty about it.

  • Sy2502

    Who gets to “have it all” in life? Nobody, that’s who. We all have to choose between mutually exclusive paths in life. We decide what’s more important and we choose that path, and we make peace with the fact we are giving up the other choices. When did mothers delude themselves that for some strange reason, this rule doesn’t apply to them? The Olympic athletes that will soon compete have to choose between training several hours a day, eating right, and going to bed early, and going to the Olympics, OR party all night, play video games all day, and not go to the Olympics. Anybody has a problem with that, or finds it unfair? Thought so. 

  • notafeminista
  • Mnappleb

    You know, it’s great that someone from this generation is talking about this, but I’m 27, and I and all my friends are well aware that “having it all” is a lie.  We think it’s odd that our parents generation and the one between is only just figuring this out.  As women raised by women trying to have it all we are well aware that it can not be done.

  • Ginger

    Yes, it is incredibly important for society to make changes
    such as Ms. Slaughter suggests. I remember when my husband was in the computer
    field and even he wasn’t allowed to work from home. (This was in Chicago where
    commutes are long and pollution horrible.) It’s insane in this day and age that still in many jobs you are not allowed to work from home. Furthermore, your job
    review should be based upon results, not on time spent. I would like to see
    this put on the political agenda. Many European countries have decided to make
    these changes, and it’s about time we did so as well.

    • HomeGirl

       And further more – why are people required to spend so much time at a job in order for it to be considered well done? There is so much life to be lived outside of work …. two parents part time?

  • Bruce

    Thanks OnPoint for an interesting topic today…I missed parts of the guest’s argument, but what I glean from the comments below is that Slaughter’s characterization of the problem as a conflict between “having it all” and being a good mother is seen by many as a reflection of greed or self-indulgence.  I believe the terms she used to define her conflict could simply reflect a poor choice of words or lapse by her editor.

    If “having it all” means achieving excellence in your field, attaining the top rung of your career ladder or approaching what Maslow refers to as “self-actualization,” then perhaps some of the critical comments below would be tempered.

    I do think that the guest in no way represents the typical working mom in a two-parent family with both partners working full-time–a paradigm that women’s liberation helped establish for middle-class families, and one in which my wife and I raised two children.  Slaughter no more speaks to the needs of such middle-class aspiring working moms and dads than Ann Romney stands for 99% of the stay-at-home moms.  They both represent a power elite that surrounds themselves with all the perks of their wealth and privilege when it comes to child rearing:  nannies, cooks, tutors, prep schools…a host of surrogates who enable them to pursue their careers at the highest echelons in business, academia and government if they choose to.    

    In fairness, Slaughter does acknowledge the unfinished work (liberation?) that should continue in order to make workplaces and employers for the the rest of us more flexible and accommodating.  I take issue with some who argue below that such workplace change must await a huge cultural shift.  The seeds of this transition have already been planted with the feminist movement that has yielded impressive results including equal rights and reproductive freedom for women, as well as a   re-examination of gender roles and expectations within households where both parents work.    

    • feettothefire

      I’m with you entirely on the need to abolish gender as a deciding factor in the roles of child-rearing and household duties. But I have no belief that either government or business have a responsibility to provide flexibility or extra consideration in order to enable personal choice. It would be nice if they chose to do so. But many here seem to consider it a right, which is a sentiment I find childish and offensive. “Amend your corporate policies and/or provide tax dollars in order to support my personal decision to bear children.”  My Nana is spinning in her grave.

      • Bruce

        Aren’t we already on that path with Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave mandated in many states? 

        When compared with the most advanced and civilized countries of the OECD with whom we must compete in the global economy, isn’t clear we have not only a moral argument, but also an efficiency case to be made for more flexible working conditions and benefits that will incentivize our best minds to enter AND remain in the highest positions to which their talents elevate them? 

        When it is within his scope and capacity, an employer who fails to accommodate the worker best suited to a job and instead settles for second best, contributes to a kind of brain drain that penalizes all stakeholders (i.e. employer, employee, shareholder and taxpayer) by reducing our competitveness and dinishing the social value of work. 

        • feettothefire

          If it’s in an employers best interest to accommodate workers with flex time and other benefits of any kind, and that employer chooses not to, that employer is a fool. But, to consider it a right, especially if it is a benefit which would be detrimental to a particular workplace, is childish and selfish. I’ve got a lot of arthritis. It makes my day very difficult at times. Does my employer owe me flex time or special consideration over other employees every time my joints flare up?

      • Alan in NH

        Note my earlier comment, to wit, there are societies, some just across the ocean, who believe that having children and societal support for them are not contradictory or against corporate power or rights.  I think it’s too bad our society doesn’t share that perspective.

  • feettothefire

       “Help us raise the children we can’t afford” and  “We’re both too selfish to make a selfless gesture for the sake of our children, so everyone else must help us.”  I thought these precious little bits of childish naivete’ were long gone. Apparently, I was wrong. Dang.

  • Kestral

    It seems to me this is really an issue of work/family balance for both men and women.  The changes Ms. Slaughter suggests should be applied across the board.  The female engineer who works for my husband leaves at 3:00 every day (with a commensurately lower salary) but it creates resentment among some of the male engineers. The point is, it needs to be fair and consistent across the board for both women and men.

  • feettothefire

        My wife and I never had children. We never really gave it much thought. But if we had considered it, we’d still have chosen not to. We couldn’t have afforded it, and I knew no child of mine would ever spend a day in a daycare setting or under the care of a Nanny. To my mind, that defeats the whole idea of having children. We don’t have them simply to have them. They’re not toys. They’re not accomplishments. We have them to enjoy them. To nurture them. To BE WITH them. If at least one parent isn’t willing to  forgo a career in order to raise a child the way humans have always raised children, I just don’t see what the purpose is. Is it to tuck them into bed when you get home from work?

  • Roy Mac

    Wait!  Her 14-year old boy was cutting class and “acting out,” and she thought that’s what all 14-year old boys do??  Whoa!  Her problems go way deeper than her existential angst.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.beatty.334 Michael Beatty

    Excellent discussion of raising children vs. WORKING…if only the working world valued children and child care as much as it values MONEY

  • LetsGetReal

    Another unmentionable aspect of this debate is the question to what degree women can and do use the mom track as the get out of having to deliver top achievements free card, whereas men don’t have that excuse.

    • HomeGirl

       I don’t think they get that option very much. Hooray for Dad’s picking a dad track.

  • LauraCrater

    As one who knows AM Slaughter, I wonder what AM thinks she did during her stint as Dean of the Woodrow Wilson school to help other women reconcile their careers with their family life. She is a single minded self promoter and it is rather painful to hear her lecturing other women when she never thought of them when she advanced through academia.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/WUNB3T5G7N26KO6NLAJRJR375E Barbara

      THANK YOU.  Knew her at Harvard.  Agree.  And she is factually wrong on many issues, but so self-involved she things that if she said it, it’s right.

      On the absurd Atlantic piece (one dumb idea dressed up in scholarly garb … Did it never occur to her that her kids might be affected if she were out of town 5 days a week and working 18 hours a day? 
      A true product of the gated-community of academics promoting another mush-brain like themselves, utterly lacking in common sense and perspective.  

  • Roy Mac

    This babe is a lawyer?  She’s a bureancrat academic who teaches in a cushy job at an entitled college, for chrissakes!  She knows NOTHING about the law business!!  Why is she on this program?  Selling her article?

  • Rebecca

    I am a Barnard student currently. My friends and I often talk about what choices we will make about parenting and our careers. For the past two years the president of Barnard, Deborah Spar, spoke on this topic during orientation. She said that the previous president told students they could do it all. However, today she won’t tell us that. In life we have to make choices. We can’t expect to be the best mother and the best in our livelihoods.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.beatty.334 Michael Beatty

    This interview is over 45 minutes…it really rings true how women STILL do the lion’s share of child care, and DON’T have the workplace support needed to satisfy everyone’s civil rights…

  • Jpmacco

    This is simply common sense today, and the author is ultimately writing a dated self-help book or anything she could have taken from an Oprah show for women who need to know how to walk.

    College men are at true risk; they are dropping out and not finishing college because so much of the college experience is liberal arts based theories when many men like practical  guidance: they want to be able to survive, because frankly, women expect such; they are expected to be the main provider. 

    As a Gay man with a Master’s in Counseling, I felt I was was only accepted once I said I was Gay, as the majority were females. As a undergraduate taking an African American studies class, simply wanting to understand the perspective, the  Nation of Islam came to speak and most students supported that B.S. I felt like an outsider in my class and dare not challenge them.

    Men are dropping out of college because they do not feel welcome. They are often deemed racist, bigoted, white, etc… And there is no conversation about how they feel because they are afraid of being ostracized. If you are going to have Women’s Studies, the you should have Men’s Studies.

  • Jpmacco

    Also, my best female friends have stayed at home raising their children. Their kids have been very successful personally, socially and academically. Is this because they are stay-at-home moms? NO!! It is because they are GOOD stay at home moms. Also, they have good marriages, in which their husbands spend time with their children.

  • Veraspaan

    To her point that men stay in their jobs longer, men do this while giving up part of family life. Men do not have it all either, their family life is on the back burner. I agree with her argument that work culture needs to change for both genders, so that both genders can balance work and family in a satisfying manner.

  • Inquisigal

    I think the major difference between men and women “having it all” is that men at the top still heavily rely on stay-at-home spouses to run the domestic, child-rearing side of things, whereas women like your guest continue to try to be the power member AND the domestic member of a couple. I think logically it’s obvious that if a woman or man is highly ambitious, he or she should be prepared to solely focus on work, and will need to give up a LOT to have high-powered success. That’s what the men did; how many high-powered men, do you think, were Dads who were home often, and there for their children? I often wonder why certain people even HAVE children in the first place – why not opt out of parenthood and be satisfied with the success that can come from doing a highly-stimulating job and having a good relationship with your spouse? If you deeply want to be at a certain level in your career, but are ambivalent about raising children, then maybe choosing NOT to have children is the best option.

    For the rest of us who don’t have such high-level ambitions, all of us, men and women, need to be as honest and smart about planning our work lives. If people know they want to have children, and it’s a priority, realize that you may not be suited for a high-stress, high-level management job, but instead choose something with either less stress, or more flexibility.

    Going forward into the future, businesses need to be much, much more supportive to working parents – whether that be providing on-site daycare, allowing flex-time, or allowing employees to work at home. Personally, I don’t have many friends who can afford to allow one parent to stay home with their kids: both parents work. So this really just isn’t about women, it’s about parents.

  • Jenny

    Im a 50 year old adjunct instructor at several colleges in…mostly Brooklyn, single mom of 2 kids, & have, esp recently with staffing cutbacks when Ive seen full timers (and parents) get more and more overloaded, been feeling more and more lucky to have taken this path because Ive been able get along financially, do work I love, while spending the time Ive needed to spend raising my kids. I dont want to promote the higher university contract labor system as a model–Ive made do without health insurance, lack professional respect, never owned a car, and probably couldn’t live this well outside of New York CIty–but with so many systems sketchy & in flux, let’s radically reconsider our labor models, esp the 40 hr a wk in-house model. Ive been saying we need a 21st C Marx (Karl that is): someone to do some fundamental analysis of work and money and labor and value, and mix it up.

    • Kestral

      Grammar, please!

  • Elgilman

    I, too, have been fortunate enough to have multiple degrees and had three professional careers but I chose to stay at home to raise my 2 ( now adult) daughters and I still feel conflicted. I lost my career footing due to being outnofmthe formal work force too long. I have encouraged my daughters to tryntomchoose careers that give them flexibility in later years and now while they are single women to make hay while the sun shines.

  • Elgilman

    Additionally, we need to encourage the changes that men in the workplace see how women’s roles are incredibly useful and productive. Men are our husbands, fathers and friends and they can advocate for women, too!

  • lauri

    This is all great and I really think the emphasis should be on those women who have already raised their families and are ready and EXTREMELY capable to be in the work force.  Instead a woman hits 50 and all of the sudden she is invisible!!!  Just look at our media/entertainment!  

  • Felicity Fairweather

    Good, long-term household help is a solution.

    Working outside the home is likely a full – time job.  Career climbing is a full – time job.  Being a home maker is a full time job. Being a wife is a full time job.  Being a mommy is a full time job. 
    For women who want to work outside the home / climb the career ladder, having good, well-remunerated household help is absolutely essential — from early on when the kids are small.  This helper (other mother) should grow to be respected by the kids so she/he can offer discipline and structure.  He/she should help w homework, do some laundry and household chores and some cooking.
    But for reasons that escape me, having near full time household help in this country is not done except maybe by the very rich.  There need to be ‘nanny’ or household helper training academies so that qualified people can be employed by people like your guest — so her kids would have grown up with this person in the house to ac t as the mommy when the mommy was not there in person. 
    I am 65 yrs old, female and have lived places where getting pretty good household help is not toooo difficult.  Why is it soooo tough in the US?

    • LauraCrater

      Wow. The reason why “household” help is easier in those other countries you have lived in, Felicity, is that you have wealthier women liberated by the deprivation of poorer women. Who provided the household help for those poorer women who were mothers to your children?  

      • jolly green giant

         they lived in the home–maybe they chose to be single and without kids–why do republicans always assume all women should have kids and family–or men–why cant a man do the same job–au pair, nanny.  There are also great programs–such as big brother big sister.

        the point is crater–that jobs will be created an dit could be a decent paid job with benefits–family, house, car, luxuries (maybe).  And she is saying it doesn’t have to be rich people–others would benefit as well.  Your kids–they are in school smart ass–so what wrong with a little 9-5.  And if you have kids bring them by the house–the kids should socialize.  We need community–not feudal families under republican rule. 

    • HomeGirl

       And who watches their kids?

  • Happy in St Louis

    I am a retired patent attorney who opted to stay home with my 4 kids instead of trying to do it all. I have learned the wisdom in my mother’s advise: “You can have it all but not all at once.”

    • Felicity Fairweather

       sage advice.

      • Pagassae


    • feettothefire

       Smart woman, your mother.

  • Katie in STL

    This article echoes much of what I am constantly preaching about my choice not to have children. My priority is my job. I wouldn’t be able to do it effectively if I had kids. The wonderful thing is that the bra-burning feminists of the ’60s paved the way for me to make that choice BUT unlike them, I don’t have to prove that I can do everything all at once!

    We are entering the next phase of feminism, I think, wherein male and female gender norms need to be examined. Women need to feel equally comfortable making a decision to split their time between home and the work place or doing one or the other. Likewise, men need to be able to make that decision. I think that men might like to feel equally empowered to stay at home with their kids. The focus should be, in a couple, what is best for the family. And work places, particularly with technology enabling telecommuting, need to adapt to accommodate those family decisions.

    THE PROBLEM BEING…below the ‘professional’ tier of the work place and in the lower economic brackets, you will find far more single parents who can’t work out any balance, but do have to be everything to their kids, the ‘bread winner’ and the ‘bread maker’. You also have, at that level, far more parents whose jobs are dependent on them being present. They are janitors, cashiers, bus drivers, etc. They don’t have the flexibility to be home with their kids.

    We are in an era when young people are more exposed than ever to influences that might misguide their moral compasses. Kids need their parents to guide them and instill the values that the parents want them to have…Workplaces and society need to figure out a way to make that achievable…it’s in our long-term interest!

    • notafeminista

      One makes the decision to have children or one does not.  Bra-burners did not give you the power, nor the emotional maturity to make that decision. 

      In fact, to be completely irreverent, one might say its the flip side of having an abortion.   Don’t want an abortion? Don’t have one.    Don’t want kids?  Don’t have them.

      Easy peasy

    • Wibalem

      Woman ! That’s it! Tom, this is the only comment you need about this article. More power to you Katie!
      What I have to say about the article, maybe I will just send to Ms. Slaughter directly, if I choose to invest the time. And if I do, it will be a very slaughtering feedback.

  • Wesley H

    I think this is more of a cultural issue than an economic one. It is the fault of our culture that we have gender roles that limit women to their jobs as mothers instead of pushing them to be involved in our top positions in government, business and scientific endeavors. This isn’t something that Obama can fix with a hastily drafted bill to increase women’s pay. 

    Furthermore, women and men who follow the same career path have very little difference in pay with out the influence of variables like children. Men are expected to work non stop, women are expected to raise a family. It is insane to demand both from women but it is also unfair to limit genders to these strict paths of living. Men want to be stay at home dads and women want to be CEO’s but neither can be both. It is up to us as a society to evolve beyond this narrow way of seeing our roles in society and become more open minded. This is something each person must do individually and I think that acting on the VERY squid statistic that women make 77 cents on the dollar to men will have a number of unintended consequences on both men and women of the work force. 

    Here is a good video that is a good synopsis of my statement and is where I drew a lot of it’s inspiration. 


    • HomeGirl

       It is both cultural and economic. The economy is cultural – people gain value through money so if someone is at home and not getting paid they lose value and power in a relationship.

  • Bebarce

    I believe that while her views are valid, her classification is narrow.  In other words, I don’t believe the line in the sand is that of gender.  I am a father of two young girls, and I have often passed up on opportunities to further my career in order to spend more time with my children.  Throughout the conversation the “as well as men” seemed to always be added as an addendum to a thought.  

    What I wouldn’t give for flex time, or the ability to work more often from home?  

    • HomeGirl

       I agree with this. I think that we need to think our family values and what it means to human and that a culture that says that men should be paid more because they are the ones who work while moms stay home isn’t  the culture we live in anymore. It makes it harder for women to be the breadwinner, thus making it better for a family to have dad in the workplace, but either model suggests that one parent should be parenting alone which is hardly healthy!

  • feettothefire

    If men never “had it all,” which I assume means a rich home life as a hands on dad and a doting helpful husband, as well as a rewarding career, what in the world ever made women think they could. I remember my father and the fathers of all my friends dragging their asses home in the late afternoon, reaching for a cold beer, and zonking out with a newspaper over their faces or falling asleep in front of the t.v. How did the myth ever begin that men were in love with their careers, playing with the kids and helping them with their homework, and doting on their lovely wives? If the kind of lives those fathers had represents the notion of “having it all,” thanks, but no thanks.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      “Leave it to Beaver”!

    • Andrew Brengle

      Madmen has it about right.  Dad comes home late, tired from ‘work’, full of drink and smoke to the perfect home where Betty seethes. 

    • single

       While I’m sure your question is rhetorical, I still want to answer.
      We all seemed to have gotten some stupid ideas in our thick skulls via advertising.
      I’m with you; thanks but no thanks.

  • Lool

    I was surprised both during the show and perusing the comments here, that nobody mentioned the example of the Princeton graduate currently in the White House.  She brought her mom to live with them, because she knew she would be endlessly busy.  So she has no worries about childcare since her mom will fill in for her when needed.  Yet she has flexible time with the children.

    Everyone here is concerned with the nuclear family, as if the extended family did not exist.

    It’s not so much that we live in a man’s world, as that we live in a global world.  We do need to compete.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHLNUP6LU6CNIOER4M4BGHVXZI My

    I love when rich, white, highly-educated Feminists face truth.  She gets her “first” real job, with a boss and a time clock and her 40 years of ideas fold like a cheap tent.

    • notafeminista

      Phyllis Schlafly is correct.

    • jolly green giant

       how do you know how many jobs she had?–that’s awfully presumptuous of you. 

      To get to the top–she must have had many jobs.  And she is not saying
      her values have failed either–the point is, even men lose something
      when you dedicate your life to work rather than family–she is not
      asking women to give up work.  We could ask the same thing of men–is it
      any better or worse to have an absent father? 

      She is saying, in a way that it is still unfair–women lose prestige and
      position when they leave to take care of kids–but men are never
      expected to do that–why not?  A working father who is absent at home is
      a bad father–a good worker, but a bad father. 

      She is trying to strike a balance.  Perhaps we need to be more like
      Europe–once again–in that many European cultures–which are far more
      healthy than America–give maternity leave for extended periods, years
      in many cases–and give it to men as well.  Only in America are people
      expected to bleed for their feudal masters! 

      We should be more like Europe–give women 1-2 years for breastfeeding,
      at home with kids, then the working man takes over–on maternity leave
      and the woman goes back to work where he job is safe and sound and
      waiting for her by law–now the man gets one year paternity leave. 

      In my opinion, teenagers dont want parents around and an ever present
      parent can damage the kids–they should be out experiencing the world
      with friends not under moms wing.  kids will resent it.  It i
      smothering.  They will hate you for it.  10, 12, maybe 14–maybe–but
      after that let them be-go to work1

      You can try and try and try to interfere and guide them in their
      adolescent life but they don’t want it and will push you away—they are
      finding themselves and parents are uncool, and often unreasonable, and
      totally clueless to the teenagers needs or situation.  if you have a
      cloe relationship with your teens–great –but i think you are the
      exception, not the rule.

      the commenter–’My’ is obviously one of those who think that women ought
      be barefoot and pregnant an obedient.  her ‘ideas’–them crazy northern
      notions–what is that supposed to mean?  ‘Get back in the kitchen

      I would also contend that a ‘timeclock’ is easier and far more suitable
      to family than self-employment, freelancing, or white-collar work where
      hours are indefinite and eternal.  At leas ton a time clock its 9-5 and
      family can expect you home for dinner–but thats not where you ‘heroic’
      working class go is it?–no, you go to Poor Richards and swill from the
      trough until you stink and stumble an go home and slap your barefoot
      wife!  We know who you are-republicans!

      Dont get me wrong–i come from both sides of the fence and working men
      and women are heroes–some–especially if active and enlightened in
      labor unions–but a timeclock is a lot less time-consuming and demanding
      than white collar history makers.

      Women–there’s no need to be go-getters.  Men–there is no need to be
      go-getters.  And both can make great parents at home.  You dont need
      five bedroom cookie cutter homes.  You don’t need BMWs and two cars. 
      You don’t need expensive jewelry and designer clothes.  Its all a lie
      and an illusion.  Live simply and you find balance and happiness.  go
      green!  Not obama, and especially not Romney the bush-demon class. 

      Get smart–support sustainability and a green lifestyle.  Insist on mass
      transportation connecting your city–move to the city and green the
      hell of it–green walls, green roofs–gardens–organic–pedestrianize
      it–your life will be more convenient and easy for family.  cars not
      included.  less money needed.

  • jolly green giant

     how do you know how many jobs she had?–that’s awfully presumptuous of you. 

    To get to the top–she must have had many jobs.  And she is not saying her values have failed either–the point is, even men lose something when you dedicate your life to work rather than family–she is not asking women to give up work.  We could ask the same thing of men–is it any better or worse to have an absent father? 

    She is saying, in a way that it is still unfair–women lose prestige and position when they leave to take care of kids–but men are never expected to do that–why not?  A working father who is absent at home is a bad father–a good worker, but a bad father. 

    She is trying to strike a balance.  Perhaps we need to be more like Europe–once again–in that many European cultures–which are far more healthy than America–give maternity leave for extended periods, years in many cases–and give it to men as well.  Only in America are people expected to bleed for their feudal masters! 

    We should be more like Europe–give women 1-2 years for breastfeeding, at home with kids, then the working man takes over–on maternity leave and the woman goes back to work where he job is safe and sound and waiting for her by law–now the man gets one year paternity leave. 

    In my opinion, teenagers dont want parents around and an ever present parent can damage the kids–they should be out experiencing the world with friends not under moms wing.  kids will resent it.  It i smothering.  They will hate you for it.  10, 12, maybe 14–maybe–but after that let them be-go to work1

    You can try and try and try to interfere and guide them in their adolescent life but they don’t want it and will push you away—they are finding themselves and parents are uncool, and often unreasonable, and totally clueless to the teenagers needs or situation.  if you have a cloe relationship with your teens–great –but i think you are the exception, not the rule.

    the commenter–’My’ is obviously one of those who think that women ought be barefoot and pregnant an obedient.  her ‘ideas’–them crazy northern notions–what is that supposed to mean?  ‘Get back in the kitchen broad!’ 

    I would also contend that a ‘timeclock’ is easier and far more suitable to family than self-employment, freelancing, or white-collar work where hours are indefinite and eternal.  At leas ton a time clock its 9-5 and family can expect you home for dinner–but thats not where you ‘heroic’ working class go is it?–no, you go to Poor Richards and swill from the trough until you stink and stumble an go home and slap your barefoot wife!  We know who you are-republicans!

    Dont get me wrong–i come from both sides of the fence and working men and women are heroes–some–especially if active and enlightened in labor unions–but a timeclock is a lot less time-consuming and demanding than white collar history makers.

    Women–there’s no need to be go-getters.  Men–there is no need to be go-getters.  And both can make great parents at home.  You dont need five bedroom cookie cutter homes.  You don’t need BMWs and two cars.  You don’t need expensive jewelry and designer clothes.  Its all a lie and an illusion.  Live simply and you find balance and happiness.  go green!  Not obama, and especially not Romney the bush-demon class. 

    Get smart–support sustainability and a green lifestyle.  Insist on mass transportation connecting your city–move to the city and green the hell of it–green walls, green roofs–gardens–organic–pedestrianize it–your life will be more convenient and easy for family.  cars not included.  less money needed.

  • Warren

    America died when the Democrats,led by LBJ ,replaced the Daddy with the Welfare Check.Until the two parent family is reintroduced the pathologies will continue.The Feminists also bought us Autism.Don’t have your babies when you are 40.Greggg ,as usual,was right.You can have it all,but not at the same time.

    • feettothefire

       Weren’t there some men involved in those forty year old’s pregnancies?

    • feettothefire

       So, America’s been dead for fifty years. Who knew? As if that alone weren’t a foolish enough statement, it’s because a few hundred million daddys were replaced by welfare checks. That sure is one insightful take on history.

    • HomeGirl

       America died when one income couldn’t raise a family. America died when it decided that dads could be away from work all week and that a family would still be complete. A partner isn’t just a pay check. A close knit family and community is what it takes to raise healthy happy americans. Jobs that allow for that are key.

      • single

         HomeGirl. . . I really like the way you think. Do you have a blog? I’m a huge supporter of women and families. I love being an aunt. I hate seeing what my friends and siblings go through to make a family work. When I read articles like this and the threads that follow, I feel better about my choices to not even try to have it all. Maybe people forgot how to follow their heart when making decisions and got more concerned with the American Dream, which is now brought to you by Target. Make sure you have lots of stuff and you will be happy.
        And to have lots of stuff, what do you need? Lots of money.
        Too bad.

    • Odell

      wow… how old was your mother when she had you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1335150115 Ben Boer

    Women can’t have it all. Men can’t have it all. It’s awfully presumptive to assume that it is harder on a family for a mother to be in Washington all week than it is to have the father in Washington all week. It’s completely unrealistic to think it is possible for anyone, man or woman, to have the career of an absent father and the home life of a stay at home mom.

    • single

       I have to agree. Do people not realize that families don’t just happen easily? It *is* hard.

  • Mdgiordano

    Every time I ask my CEO to meet he says “Oh no are you pregnant?”  I just interviewed for a new job and they asked me if I had kids, I wondered if they would asks a man this question too.   Women are still penalized for having families and being in child rearing age.  I don’t have kids, but the message I am hearing is very clear.  Don’t have kids if you want to be the next Executive. 

    • Deflep1986

      It is illegal for them to ask if you are married, have kids, etc…  Just FYI

  • Peter Crowhurst

    EQ – it’s not about women not having it all, and it all being a mans world. It’s about the realization that men are generally speaking, problem solvers, and women like to talk about how things are and not neccessarily with a view to a solution. When men employ they look for problem solvers, when women employ its not with a focus to solutions, but Rmore to how the business is going get along. I speak from the perspective that my Mum, until recently selling a business was voted most successful business woman of the year, for three years running. To this day I do not know any other person who can manage finances as well as she did. I am a business owner and look for different things in my employees.

    • bellavida

      Men are problem solvers, generally speaking and women like to talk about how things are?  That speaks volumes about you and I would hope I never work for the likes of you.

    • Marshall70

      Interesting. If men are such great problem solvers and they have been running the world, why then are we consumed by war, debt and ecological ruin?

  • HomeGirl

    I think this is about distorted family values. I think the current employments system may not be good for families or for communities and that there needs to be a way for people to be people and work as well. What’s the point of developing technology if we just ask us to work more in different ways that are less happy for our bodies, our souls and our families. 

    • Single

       Just this morning I was thinking about the exponential increase in technological advances since I was a child growing up in the 70′s and 80′s. I try to think about how my employers can keep current at promotion and it is dizzying. I’ve got a half an hour commute in which to ponder these things. After a full day at work I take care of horses. I come home and I’m exhausted and I cannot, for the life of me, think how someone could be a mother and work. So you can just imagine how I can’t even fathom the issues of my friends who are SINGLE mothers trying to work in these times. It takes most of my brain power to be a good employee. . . how can someone have the energy to have a challenging (and therefore good paying) job while providing the right kind of upbringing for children.
      The problem as I see it is that feminism that was formulating in my youth (and I am grateful for it) said that women would be able to HAVE it all, but what it ended up being was that women have to DO it all.
      What was missing from the equation was that it might have been nice to be able to have a choice. . . a career or a family. And if you have both, you have a househusband. Women were setting themselves up to do more than is, in my opinion, humanly possible.
      I like the choices I made until I have to go to a baby or bridal shower. At 41 and never married, people wonder what must be wrong with me. No one ever thinks that I made choices that took me here and they were MY choices.
      What started, again in my opinion, as women wanting a choice, became a contest of women trying to prove they could do everything. . . and still be hot while doing it.
      My sister is a phenomenal, stay at home mother. I’m pretty great at my career. Both of us will have moments of weakness asking our father (interestingly never our mother) if he is proud of us even though she doesn’t have a career and I don’t have a family.
      It has taken lots of introspection to come to this and I’m sorry for the tirade of a response that you are getting, Home Girl, a dam just sort of broke loose here and my fingers had to share my opinions on things.
      I could go on (and on), but I’ve said plenty.
      I enjoy my career. Within my company I am compensated as well as, if not better than the men. I have not married. I don’t have children. And yet I feel like I’m judged by society for not having it together.
      I feel that I can hear the whispers that happen after the baby shower is over *what a shame about her. . . she seems so sweet. . . I wonder what it is that pushes men away. . . *
      I’m sure at least one person reading this will have thought that of a single career minded woman she knows. Betcha.

  • Sarah Hampson

    I am a member of the younger generation of women, and am a young scholar and political scientist. I am so proud of Dr. Slaughter for making this discussion public. I think that she is 100% on-point about this being a huge issue for women my age. Thank you for bringing this important topic into the public discourse.

  • http://www.teresabrucebooks.com/ Teresa Bruce

    I’m not sure Slaughter is framing the debate correctly. My 80+mentor, the woman I’m writing a book about, taught me that women go wrong when we try to be all things to all people. Maybe it isn’t that women still can’t have it all, but that we don’t need to be it all. I explain more in my “Womenisms” blog today at http://www.teresabrucebooks.wordpress.com

  • Pingback: 3 Ways To Break Out Of The "All Work" Or "No Work" Death Trap | Fast Company

  • Pingback: 3 Ways To Break Out Of The "All Work" Or "No Work" Death Trap | Blogs Web

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
Our Week In The Web: August 15, 2014
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

More »
Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

More »