Different views from two women in the White House

Here’s an interesting quote from Hilary Clinton this week:

“I can’t stand whining. I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they’re not happy with the choices they made. You live in a time when there are endless choices. … Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs … Other women don’t break a sweat.”

Clinton’s comments are in response to an article in US foreign affairs magazine ‘The Atlantic’, written by ex White House Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter.  The magazine’s cover headline read ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have it All’ and talked of Slaughter’s experiences and struggles with managing a high profile career and family life.  She raises questions about the messages she ‘unwittingly’ sent out to young females – making it sound an easy road to achieve the work/life balance. Slaughter believes that the “can women have it all” question is reductive and frustrating ‘and it only serves to promote the idea that women are constantly going to be failing if they don’t somehow fulfill the work/family mandate’.

Women Can't Have It All

The article opens the discussion wider and looks at the economic situation and the make-up of executive boards as factors that are encouraging capitalism, putting what’s best for the corporation ahead of what’s best for the worker.

Slaughter summarises:  “The best hope for improving the lot of all women, and for closing what Wolfers and Stevenson call a “new gender gap”—measured by well-being rather than wages—is to close the leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone”

Whining or Realistic?  You can read the full article here.


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