Yes – I have more opportunities and options than the generation of women 20 yrs ago. And I love that today’s generation 20 years younger – doesnt have to struggle for the basic things I did. But we still have a long way to go in terms of ‘gender equality’; both at home and in the workplace.
When Sheryl Sandberg talked about women in the workforce @ TED, I was thrilled to have a woman at the top talk about it. But it left something missing. What if I do not want to make it to the top? Why cant I be valued for the skills and choices I bring to the table – at home or at work? Why should I be penalised – directly or indirectly – for being a woman. Why should I have to make tough choices – that most male counterparts do not? Why should I be judged differently for making the same choices that some male counterparts do. It’s seems like I have to pay an extra tax, just for being me – a woman.
Anna-Marie Slaughter summed it up the best I’ve seen. She’s trashed quite a few “half truths” as she calls them – one sided advice to women each of which focus on just one facet of the hundreds that working women today try to juggle while making every day decisions. And better still – she’s actually hit it on the head – that it’s NOT just a women’s problem, it can’t be fixed by women just being ‘tougher’, more ambitious, and juggling a few things right. It’s a problem with the way our society is structured today – still based on the old caveman-industrial era infrastructure. And how that’s been shaped predominantly by ‘male thinking’. On why & how the ‘feminine’ side of things is as important…
She’s written a really long piece. Sometimes winding. But every bit worth it. Do hop over and read it through. Punching in the highlights here.
I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that theyare to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).—-
Glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality
Yet the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States
It is time for women in leadership positions to recognize that although we are still blazing trails and breaking ceilings, many of us are also reinforcing a falsehood: that “having it all” is, more than anything, a function of personal determination.
The Half-Truths We Hold Dear
It’s possible if you are just committed enough.
It’s possible if you marry the right person.
It’s possible if you sequence it right.
You should be able to have a family if you want one—however and whenever your life circumstances allow—and still have the career you desire. If more women could strike this balance, more women would reach leadership positions. And if more women were in leadership positions, they could make it easier for more women to stay in the workforce. The rest of this essay details how.
Changing the Culture of Face Time
Revaluing Family Values
Redefining the Arc of a Successful Career
Rediscovering the Pursuit of Happiness
Again – she’s summed it up real good. Do go over and read it through @ The Atlantic.