Unfinished business women men work family

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unfinished business women men work family

Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter

A powerful, persuasive, thought-provoking vision for how to finish the long struggle for equality between men and women, work and family

When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family.

The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine’s history.

Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward even further and broken free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. In the twenty-first century, the feminist movement has stalled, and though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the “motherhood penalty,” so far no solution has been able to unite all women.

Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision of what true equality between men and women really means and how we can get there. Slaughter takes a hard look at our reflexive beliefs—the “half-truths” we tell ourselves that are holding women back. Then she reveals the missing piece of the puzzle, a new focus that can reunite the women’s movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.

With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter presents a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family.
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Published 04.02.2019

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

Unfinished Business

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Unfinished Business is therefore a compelling and accessible read for all those interested in gender, work and family politics in the twenty-first century, writes Hannah Walters. Anne-Marie Slaughter. One World Publications. The first woman to hold this position, Slaughter was edging ever closer to one of only a handful of higher appointments in Washington. But her job at the state department meant working away from her family home in Princeton, New Jersey, where her husband and two teenage sons lived. As established in a deeply personal opening chapter, Slaughter articulates how, for her at least, the pressures of her family and work lives grew increasingly incompatible as her career progressed and her children reached their teenage years. With her home and work commitments each growing ever more demanding, Slaughter made the complicated decision to leave her life in Washington behind, and return to Princeton.

In , Slaughter wrote an Atlantic article explaining why she had left her high-powered government job working for Hillary Clinton to return to academia. The piece was a sensation, attracting 3 million clicks, and it prompted her to develop the theme into this book. She wants child-rearing to be given greater status in society, so that choosing it over paid work does not seem like a defeat. She marshals an impressive array of evidence for the importance of caring work, belying the easy line that it is undervalued because no particular qualifications or skills are needed. Effective early-years teaching requires discipline, multitasking, patience, attention to detail and the ability to entertain and inspire. The problem is that its outcomes are hard to measure, particularly in immediate monetary terms, and our capitalist system finds it hard to assess other types of value. Slaughter cites a study that began in North Carolina in the s, where a group of disadvantaged children received eight hours of high-quality care a day and excellent nutrition from birth to age five; four decades later, they were more than four times as likely to have a degree than the control group.

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Heather Boushey. This discrimination not only prevents women from getting ahead but also discourages men from taking a more active role in family responsibilities. Slaughter sees the issue as squarely a structural one. An increasing number of women and men are left frazzled and stressed, trying to address conflicts between their family and a career characterized by long hours and little flexibility. The book hit a nerve because it was personal and compelling while describing a common experience. Slaughter was not known as an expert on labor market or family issues.

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