(The Humanitarian Social Network)
The Atlantic ran a great piece by Anne Marie Slaughter called Why Women Still Can't Have it All. It's a long one but it's a good and interesting read.
What do you all think? Most of us women here on AidSource are not in high-level government positions, but sounds like some of the work demands and realities are the same in NGO and INGO work.
Are any of you close to having it all? If so, what's made it possible? If not, what systemic issues are holding you (and the rest of us who don't yet have it all) back?
And apologies, by the way, for not being as active on this group as I'd planned to be - been too busy trying to 'have it all' :)
"How could anyone voluntarily leave the circles of power for the responsibilities of parenthood?"
I think this is a key question that applies to both those who want to be fathers/mothers and have a high influence career.
When you get to these halls of power you have to do the unthinkable... crack out the budget for the nanny salary, or "step down." But I don't see men (often) volunteering to leave the circles of power for parenthood... after all, it is still women's work, and we only echo in the memories of "Mr. Mom" And we remember the diabolical vacuum cleaner but that at times, he was a success at his stay at home mom-job.
I think there is an added issue of not having it all in the global scale. In a job or time or place where we no longer have the communities of support, and our individualistic ideals walk away from the family (communalist value) or extended families (which normally could help in these situations if we'd remain local to one community) we can only go so far or spread ourselves so thin. We've slowly dismantled our support networks for power and success...I'm not surprised that we are running out of gas.
I think the feminist ideals that we can have it all were created at a time when those support networks were not so much a distant memory. and where the idea of *having a job* needed to be possible, and in large part, it is -- women can have jobs and families -- they just can't have jobs in international foreign policy and in high power values, and expect to leave that job after 5pm... even the men make the sacrifices of family... but its socially OK for them to choose work over family. The initial goal was surpassed by the ambition to become successful in a manner or framework which success is typically defined.
I think its a thoughtful piece about the very real limits that appear in any structure of upward (singular) mobility. So my question is: if this article is an example of what we have learned from women's empowerment in the developed world... what does it mean for the hopes and fears and issues that may be encountered on the path to "womens empowerment" as an MDG in the communities in which many of us serve?