Women Can’t Have it All, but We Could Have it Better

I congratulate Princeton Professor and former Dean Anne Marie Slaughter for her frank piece published in the Atlantic entitled “Why Women Can’t Have it All.” Talking about what keeps people from realizing their dreams of successful careers and joyful families is often taboo (see my previous post on women’s vocation in the world), but Slaughter provides an important personal and sociological reflection on what influenced her to want to spend more time with her family. She also provides useful advice for the generation of women behind her facing similar challenges.Though I don’t have time here to review everything she wrote, as I pondered her piece, I sketched this chart showing things we should not do if we want to have a good work family balance and this we should do.

Of course, Slaughter’s article is much more complex than this chart shows, and I recommend you read it in full. But I have found that making charts like this help me organize ideas, and can serve as handy reminders for my resolutions. So here you go.

In the near future, I hope to post my own reflections on Slaughter’s piece. Those responses would tentatively be entitled “Women Still Can’t Have it All, And It’s Better that Way”. I don’t have it all in my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I complete yet another marathon of weekend and weeknight hours working on top of my regular schedule (this time preparing my tenure file), I’ll just end this by saying, “Women Still Can’t Have it All, But this Life Probably Isn’t so Bad.”  When I hand in my tenure file later this week, I leave for a two-week research trip to Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Giving up a weekend and a couple of weeknights to be able to go to beautiful places and do fascinating research on migration, tourism and the environment probably isn’t such a bad tradeoff.


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