Princeton law professor Anne-Marie Slaughter stirred up a nationwide debate with a 2012 cover story in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter — a mother of two with an impressive career in foreign policy and law, including a stint at Hillary Clinton’s State Department — argued in the article that even with a supportive family and employer, and a “willingness to live life in chapters,” ambitious women were still at a disadvantage in society when trying to balance their careers with a family life. At the time of its publication, the article went viral, amassing more than three million clicks and reigniting the discussion on life-work balance for women.
“I would have these people come up to me and they would have tears,” the 57-year-old Slaughter told The Washington Post. “They said, ‘You’re the first person who said how hard it was, and I thought I was a failure.’? Since then, however, Slaughter has toured the country and talked extensively on the topic with a diverse group of people, which helped her evolve her thinking on the importance of caregiving and lead her to write her latest book, “Unfinished Business.” She now takes a more nuanced view, realizing the trade-offs that come with trying to have it all. Because of her new job as head of New America (one of Washington D.C.’s biggest think tanks), her husband has taken the role of “lead-parent” and is the one who gets to spend more “quality time” with their sons. “Somebody has to be there when they need you, and that is not consistent with this kind of job,” she told The Post. “I could never do this without a lead-parent husband.” In the new book, she argues that as a society we don’t treat caregivers with enough respect — be it by talking dismissively about stay-at-home parents or failing to enact national policies on paid parental leave or universal child care. “The bottom-line message,” she said, “is that we are never going to get to gender equality between men and women unless we value the work of care as much as we value paid work — or when both men and women do it.That’s the unfinished business.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.