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It's been a couple of weeks now, but the latest salvo in the "can women have it all" debate won't seem to go away. You're probably familiar with the Atlantic Monthly's "Why Women Can't Have it All" article by Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter. She wrote about how women are kept from reaching the highest levels of power because of supposed "structural" barriers that make it impossible to achieve a work-life balance.
The article got us talking. And the watercooler chat around Radio Boston was marked by a certain consternation. Professor Slaughter made an excellent point, but why is this conversation always about women? Women and men are trying very hard, and often without success, to balance work and home — whether or not that means children.
So, the big questions are: Why do we focus on women? What prevents any American worker from feeling as if they're doing their best at work and home? And what happens when employers do make adjustments to their family leave policies — is it good for business, or bad?
- Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and author of the Boston.com blog, On Liberty.
- Rosalind Barnett, senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and co-author of the book, Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs.
- Linda Houser, professor at Widener University's Center for Social Work Education and co-author of Pay Matters: The Positive Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave for Families, Businesses and the Public (from the Rutgers Center for Women and Work)
Lessons From California:
- Paid Family Leave Pays Off In California (Harvard Business Review)
- Leaves That Pay: Employer andWorker Experienceswith Paid FamilyLeave in California (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
- A Guide To Implementing Paid Family Leave: Lessons From California (Labor Project for Working Families in partnership with the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security at UC Berkeley School of Law)
From Meghna's Reading List
Work-Life Balance Isn't Just A Women's Issue -- "Millions of people – literally – are reading and talking about the Atlantic Monthly article by Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, entitled, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All," which makes the case that powerful women who think that they can “have it all” are being kept from reaching the upper echelons of power due to structural barriers that make it hard to achieve a work-life balance. Whatever you think of Slaughter’s thesis, she obviously hit a nerve in our collective zeitgeist: when was the last time so many people were buzzing about a 12,000-word magazine piece?"
The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can't Have It All -- "It's time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change."
Paid Leave in the States: A Critical Support for Low-wage Workers and Their Families -- "Millions of working families experience a day-today struggle to make ends meet – nearly 40% of America’s children live in low-income families. When these families experience a major life event, such as having a baby or taking care of a family member with a serious illness, their already fragile financial situation can be further jeopardized."
This segment aired on July 2, 2012.
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