5 Views on Work-Life Balance

An article written by Ann-Marie Slaughter for The Atlantic spawned a debate on whether it is possible for women to develop a balance between work and life. In Slaughter’s view, women can’t have it all, and telling women otherwise, makes “millions of women feel that they [sic] are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have an active home life.”


The subject of work-life balance came up frequently in the MAKERS interviews. Almost every one of the MAKERS women interviewed, had grappled with this, seemingly paradoxical, problem. In questioning why so many women have such difficulty balancing, attention often tends to turn to the women themselves, and whether their ambitions, or lack thereof, are to blame. The MAKERS we’re including in the playlist this week provide alternative perspectives on the issue.


1) Sheryl Sandberg: The Lingering Second Shift


Sheryl Sandberg does not believe that the workplace needs to become more accommodating to parents. Instead, she thinks the problem lies in the home, with women responsible for “three times the amount of childcare, and two times the amount of house care the man does – and that’s if they both work full-time.”


2) Violet Palmer: A Full Life


Do women always have to feel like they are making a sacrifice in balancing work with career? Violet Palmer made the choice not to have a family, and focus on her career.


3) Louann Brizendine: The Nature of the US Workplace


Neuropsychiatrist, Louann Brizendine, views the problem as institutional. The U.S. workplace, she claims, is “not family friendly for women or for men.”


4) Shirley Tilghman: No Mommy Track Here


How can work environments become more amenable to working parents? As president of Princeton University, Shirley Tilghman was in the position to institute policy changes, and make life easier for moms and dads.


5) Madeleine Albright: Unforgiving Women


Madeleine Albright contends that, in the workplace, women are often not supportive enough of other women. She implores that we build feelings of sisterhood and common understanding, stating: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”


[Why Women Still Can't Have it All - The Atlantic]