Obama official who quit: 'Women still can't have it all' - Macleans.ca

Obama official who quit: ‘Women still can’t have it all’


If, like me, you’ve pondered issues of work-life balance but try to steer clear of the “mommy wars” that pit women against each other based on their life choices, the latest cover article in the Atlantic is worth a read.

Anne-Marie Slaughter held a senior job in the Hillary-Clinton-led State Dept. from 2009 until last year when she quit to go back to a job as a professor at Princeton — and to spend more time with her two teenage sons.

Now she has written a blunt article about her personal struggles and about what she calls cheery “half-truths” that women tell themselves. “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” Slaughter also gives advice to women trying to build careers and raise families, and suggests policy changes and attitude changes for the private sector and government.

A few of her observations that resonated with me:

1) The key question is whether a job allows you to control your own schedule.

2) The timing of when you have your kids matters.

3) “Women should think about the climb to leadership not in terms of a straight upward slope, but as irregular stair steps, with periodic plateaus (and even dips) when they turn down promotions to remain in a job that works for their family situation… I think of these plateaus as ‘investment intervals’… ”

She also makes an interesting point about how employers may draw different conclusions about an employee who gets up early to train for marathons versus an employee who gets up early to take care of kids — even if the self-discipline and commitment is the same.

A long and interesting read. I am still digesting it.

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