Sunday, October 14, 2012

Having The Cake And Eating It Too!

Anne-Marie Slaughter's recent article in the Atlantic magazine , "Why Women Can't Have It All,"  has fanned the hot debate all over again if women can have the cake and eat it too. She is the latest high-powered female from the Obama administration who has inflamed the "mommy wars" to a raging inferno, by stepping down from her position as the first female director of policy planning at the US State Department, so she could return home to take care of her troubled teenager. 

Slaughter's advice to women is that they should "go out and come back", that is, they should go all out into the workforce to steam their way ahead into the upper echelons of power, but at the same time, be prepared to scale back and return home if the need arises, say, to nurture a troubled child. And that is exactly what she did. She says that in her days as policy director, she attended UN meetings with foreign ministers and heads of state, sipped champagne and mingled with dignitaries at President Obama's receptions, but she worried all the time about her 14-year-old son, back home in New Jersey, failing Math in Grade 8 and "tuning out any adult who tried to reach him."

Clearly, women the world over need support systems in place so they can juggle the harsh realities of career and home, and balance them out well. Women still don't seem to have it all, be it an elite government official or a middle class Mom. Women still have to put their high-flying careers on hold and return to engaged motherhood, whereas men don't seem to have this dilemma at all. Unlike Slaughter, it must be acknowledged though that most working women simply do not have the privilege or luxury of just giving up their jobs and staying home to nurture their children because it is imperative they bring home a pay check each month. And so the debate goes on, if women can have the cake and eat it too!

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