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Anne-Marie Slaughter: A Need to Balance Family and Work

In 2012, then Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department Anne-Marie Slaughter published an article in The Atlantic called “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” Since then, she has been an advocate of work-life balance and pushing the feminist movement into its next stage: the humanist movement.

Slaughter suggests that the culture needs to change into one that values the work that women have traditionally done in the home as much as the work done in the public sphere in order to preserve the well-being of both families and their community:

“In the workplace, real equality means valuing family just as much as work, and understanding that the two reinforce each other… if family come first, work does not come second – life comes together.”

In her 2013 TED talk, Slaughter wonders if it is even possible for women to have it all in the modern professional world of long-night hours and inflexible office-centered locale. She proposes an alternative lifestyle.

For too long bread-winning has been valued over care-giving, when essentially one could not exist without the other. Men, she says, must be “re-socialized” to not only have the same choices, but to also recognize the importance of caregiving and house-work as much as they value professional work.

Slaughter describes the paradigm shift that is necessary for growth and harmony through equality:

“If women are ever to achieve real equality as leaders, then we have to stop accepting male behavior and male choices as the default and the ideal. We must insist on changing social policies and bending career tracks to accommodate our choices, too.”

Acceptance of those changes would mean more time for the family, and an overall renewed sense of work-life balance for everyone.

Ellen Xie

A native of Bethel, CT, Ellen attended Vassar College for a degrees in Environmental Studies and English.

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