This article by Anne-Marie Slaughter has been doing the rounds on the internet and I’m sure you’ve already seen it somewhere else.
It’s an interesting article. The author is clearly surprised that she wasn’t able to juggle teenage children and working at a very demanding job in another city. This was because she had always been able to manage children and a demanding job before. Personally, I think it was really the commute and time away that killed her. She’s clearly very clever and ambitious. I think her thesis is, if it can’t work for me, then it can’t work for anyone. But, ironically, it is working for her. She has an important, influential job as an academic. Yes, she gave up an even better and more influential job and she is annoyed that she couldn’t make it work. I think it is true that she would have been less likely to give up, if she were a man but I still think that feminism has brought us a long, long way. So, I wouldn’t exactly call it a good news story but it isn’t quite the disaster for feminism that that she’s painting.
While my own work-life balance isn’t perfect, I can see it is far better than my mother’s was. I enjoyed paid maternity leave after my babies were born. I don’t work in a world where children only get sick on weekends or one where only their mothers can take them to the surgery. I have a job that is interesting and that I enjoy. I am also going to take July and August off work in a combination of unpaid parental leave and holidays so that I will be with my children for a very long summer break. Also, today my boss of bosses summoned me to his office and said, “You do a great job. We don’t say that enough here. You deserve your break. Enjoy yourself.” Hurrah for work. Hurrah for feminism. Hurrah for my summer holidays also.