Anne-Marie Slaughter's recent article "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," published in the June edition of the Atlantic, has reignited the ongoing debate about work-life balance. The article explores the falsehood that women can "have it all." But as Ms. Slaughter has succinctly declared: "It's time to stop fooling ourselves."
Ms. Slaughter aptly points out that if more women could strike a work-life balance, more women would reach leadership positions; in turn, they would make it easier for more women to stay in the workforce. According to Ms. Slaughter, one of the biggest impediments to achieving a work-life balance is the "time macho" culture that still pervades the professional world. The pressure to put in "face time" at the office—arriving early, staying late, and working weekends—is commonly expected, but not necessarily effective. Ms. Slaughter suggests that one way to change this is to change the "baseline expectations about when, where, and how work will be done."
One of Ms. Slaughter's more startling examples of women at the top not being able to "have it all" is in her comparison of the Supreme Court justices. While every male Supreme Court justice has a family, two of the three female justices are single with no children. The third female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, began her career as a judge only after her youngest child was nearly grown. Similarly, Condoleezza Rice, the first and only woman national-security adviser, is the only national-security adviser since the 1950s who does not have a family.