Anne-Marie Slaughter made headlines with her recent Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” which argues that mothers truly cannot have positions of power in their professional lives and still maintain a work-life balance that makes them happy.
Now she has a new article out in The Atlantic, “Work-Life Balance as a Men’s Issue, Too,” in which she talks about how many men also dream of having better work-life balance and have recently written to her to “bemoan the strong gender stereotyping that they encounter, whereby a guy who wants to take paternity leave, flex-time, defer a promotion because the job up has too much travel, or simply needs to leave at 6 every night to pick up his kid from daycare, is regarded as insufficiently committed to his work or else just ‘not one of the guys.’” She also notes that more men are speaking out about their role as “working dads” and how politicians should increase focus on fathers when they talk about trying to woo women voters, as well.
We connected with Slaughter to talk about work-family balance and the responses she received from her original article. Watch:
“While some men have said they too can’t have it all, women still bear the burden of not being able to fully balance a career and work life,” said Slaughter, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and former Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State. She continued: “Men are still more able to have the career they want and have a family because there are still more women behind them taking care of those kids.”
Slaughter’s article sparked great debate among working men and women who feel they each have a difficult time adhering to the obligations of a family and career. It also sparked debate among women – those with and without children. The article went viral with over 1 million hits in just one week.
What do we need to do to create a better working and family life for people?
- Change the way you behave. Be honest about the trade-offs you’re making. That will change the culture and people will understand how many women and men are in this situation.
- Ask for what you need. “The most important thing for all people juggling work and family is to say ‘I need a day working from home,’ ‘I need more flexibility in the afternoon,’ or ‘I need to be able to come in late two mornings a week,’” Slaughter said.