Who Has it All?

6 years ago
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Who Has It All?

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the July/August issue of the Atlantic entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” was a good read and the latest in a long line of discussions on this topic.  As I read it, it occurred to me that perhaps we’ve made too many assumptions over the years about what “having it all” really means.

I’ve worked non-stop for more than three decades.  That’s what my generation was taught to do by our parents for whom the concept of leisure time was foreign and more likely to be viewed as laziness.  Young women (and men) today place a much higher premium on enjoying their lives outside of work, including spending time with their children.  In my line of work, the not-for-profit arena, we see this all the time as membership organizations are reconsidering their demands on volunteers’ time and developing better ways to accommodate busy schedules.

It is certainly a worthy goal to aspire to the top level in any field.  We all benefit by having women in those positions.  Isn’t it possible, though, that “having it all” could mean more than that?  Isn’t it best-defined by the woman herself?  

There are a lot of us who might not meet the descriptions in the article of women who “have it all.”  We are not currently serving as White House chiefs of staff or hoping for appointment to the Supreme Court.  We pose no immediate threat to the Facebooks or Googles of the world.  We have chosen different paths, but by our own standards, we do have it all.  Shouldn’t that be the real measure?