There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not we can have it all and now whether or not we should work from home or at the office. Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic titled, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, started a lot of the buzz on the subject and more recently Marissa Mayer’s decision to call Yahoo’s work force back into the cubicle has been front and center.
I have experienced many sides of the debate. I have been a stay at home mom. I have worked part-time. But mostly I have been a mother with a very demanding career as the Founder and CEO of Femail Creations working long hours and lots of travel.
There are a few things however that I still see missing from this discussion.
The first is the notion that all working women are trying to “Have it All”. Many working women don’t have time to think about the lofty dream of having it all, they just want to have enough money to cover their rent, keep the lights on and feed their kids. I am sure they find our discussions of having it all insulting. It is critical that the women who have been fortunate enough to be in a position to metaphorically and literally “Have it All” use their positions at the top to make things better not worse. It is a fact that the un-family friendly work environment impacts to a far greater extent the women who don’t have the luxury to ‘step back’ and don’t have the option of having a nursery built next door to the cubicle they have just been called back to.
The second thing missing from this discussion is the other half of this equation. Fathers. I don’t hear anyone asking if Men Can Have It All? I don’t recall my husband ever having to choose? I have yet to hear the words ‘Working Father’ permeate our lexicon. Until it does things are unlikely to change.
Women have been leaving the work force in increasing numbers. Not to return home, but to start their own businesses. Women have figured out the best way to currently create the work – life balance they seek is to start their own companies. Corporate American is going to loose a valuable asset and gain serious competition if there aren’t real changes made.
The Barefoot CEO ®