Can women have it all?

In 2013, Anne - Marie Slaughter brought a really interesting view point about gender equality to the table. She stated that - women can't still have it all, this because even if you are or have as many super powers as possible to lead a company while building a family the society is not ready for it yet. I agree with her about the fact that we as a society still think as gender equality just as men and women sharing the same success on top of big corporations but really forgetting about the other half of this "equality" equation needs , whereas we need to start thinking about not only value women on men terms but all the other way around too. Nonetheless a lot of CEOs and several women leaders disagree with Slaughter and stated women can have it all, but not at the same time- pointing out the difficulties that a family and a career could bring into your life if trying to achieve both at the same time. Let's think for a moment about what could be the impact of both sayings for younger generations of women and men trying to enter the "real" world , should any of this be spoken out or should we talked about we as women can have it all, even when we know having the perfect life balance is extremely hard to get? What kind of mindsets, beliefs and values do you think we need (as a society) to change for this real equality between men and women to happen in every life matter!? Thanks for sharing your opinion. Interesting essays and articles about this topic : Slaughter, M (2013) why can women have it all - http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/ also as a video at https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_marie_slaughter_can_we_all_have_it_all?language=en#t-382193 Caprino,k (2014) Why It's So Damaging To Tell Women They Can't Have It All (And Why I'm So Tired Of Hearing It . http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/07/04/why-its-so-damaging-to-tell-women-they-cant-have-it-all-and-why-im-so-tired-of-hearing

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  • Ana Espinosa

    Tazeen thanks a lot for sharing, I found the article really intersting and as you said is not something just about the things we are doing as individuals but how our systems work so in order to help us have as much as we want we also need to figure a way to change the systems to make them more flexible in terms of what our priorities are. 

     

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I wanted to share an article, published yesterday on Daily Worth, entitled "What Work-Life Balance Looks Like Outside the US." I don't believe that women working and raising families in the U.S. can have it all at the same time, unless we have "systemic changes with cultural impact — not just doomed individual efforts" as the article notes. We're just not there yet. Take a look at the article: https://www.dailyworth.com/posts/3960-work-life-balance-outside-the-us?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DW-thur5_marquee&utm_term=DailyWorth

  • L L

    This is a contentious issue, and everyone has their own valid opinions. It starts with how you define "having it all." One may define it as having it all has climbing the corporate ladder with having a lot of success in one's career, coupled with having an exciting and fulfilling personal life. Others may define it as having one or the other, independent of each other. Further, others can define it as finding happiness in one's pursuits. Etc. etc. We each define having it all based on our own opinions, which results in making it either possible or impossible to "have it all."  

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I would highly recommend reading the article published today on the Daily Worth blog, entitled "Balance is the Big Lie." In the U.S., "there’s only so much you can do on your own to achieve balance; your success depends in large part on how the system is set up in the first place. And frequently, the odds are stacked against the possibility of reaching a happy medium." 

    One point that stood out to me was the following: "Research from the University of North Carolina suggests that men with wives who don’t work outside the home disfavor women in the workplace and are more likely to make decisions that deny their professional advancement."

    It's a great read, and outlines several fundamental problems and what needs to change in American workplaces. 

    https://www.dailyworth.com/posts/3954-why-work-life-balance-is-a-lie

  • Teresa Abila
    Personally, I believe WEE is not about competition, it's a matter of women being given a voice to contribute to their economic wellbeing.Resources are scarce and should be shared equally. Both men and women can't really have it all no matter how successful they're, it's about holding one another's hand and both gender walking alongside each other. Women are to balance between work and family, with this she can achieve her empowerment in both sides.
  • Heeshma Chhatralia

    Why can women not have it all? I think it's entirely possible with the right support beginning with family members and close friends. If you have a dream - anyone should work towards it - success will follow. The journey may be rough and bumpy - but crossing the hurdles will make us strong and confident. Encouraging each other, providing moral support and giving a dose of confidence would help bring in equality.  

  • Tonny Okello

    Thanks Ana Espinosa for pointing out this issue. Can women have it all? In my own opinion this is kind of hard to interpret. Am not disagreeing but i think having it all would meet a lot of resistance from their counter parts who are men are left with nothing. Let me discuss my points basing on 2 issues here; The resistance from men. It’s by nature that men are dominating over women (that’s the reason we are having this discussion to change that mentality). The only way the males will keep dominating is if they keep the women less empowered, therefore asking if women can have it all will lead to a lot of resistance from the men. To avoid this resistance therefore we need to start by engaging the men so that there is a common understanding and interpretation of the question “can women have it all” Repackaging the question I also want to say, its best for us to repackaged the question to something like, “How can we actively collaborate so that women can have it all?” or what roles must we jointly play to ensure women can have it all? This way I believe each and every one of us will feel engaged and have an individual role to play as well. By so doing, both men and women will be brought on board without any resistance everyone will know what roles they are have to play.

  • Swati Vempati

    As others have pointed out before me, a whole lot has improved in the last 20 years with changing mindsets and behaviours especially in the urban middle and upper class, maybe not so much for rural women. Rural women still don't have access to various basic services and backward social and cultural norms are still widely prevalent, restricting women's participation in jobs/ economic activities. So for this debate sake, I will contain myself to the urban middle and upper class women of today who have enjoyed these 'privileges' and are asserting themselves. 

    Society's expectations will forever be there for both men and women; it is only by changing ourselves that we can bring about any change - lead by example. I think we can't have it all but neither can the men. Women need to consciously make choices and prioritize their lives and yeah not feel guilty about those choices. Increasingly family responsibilities are being shared, men are also being judged on being a good son or father and they want to be more involved in the lives of their kids.

    All I'm saying is that women and men have to strive hard to achieve what they feel is balance, and not aspire for the society's ideals, its putting too much pressure on self. We can change society when we change ourselves and become more tolerant of others.

  • One woman's success is not another woman's success, so is 'having it all.' However, based on each woman's goals, we determine the 'All.' Women can achieve All their goals with excellence provided they have capacity.

    The common meaning of 'women having it all' is being married, taking care of their families, as well as having a successful career. Still in this context, many women have been able to successfully balance their busy careers and families. I strongly believe, all women can achieve their life goals...

  • One woman's success is not another woman's success, so is 'having it all.' However, based on each woman's goals, we determine the 'All.' Women can achieve All their goals with excellence provided they have capacity.

    The common meaning of 'women having it all' is being married, taking care of their families, as well as having a successful career. Still in this context, many women have been able to successfully balance their busy careers and families. I strongly believe, all women can achieve their life goals...

  • One woman's success is not another woman's success, so is 'having it all.' However, based on each woman's goals, we determine the 'All.' Women can achieve All their goals with excellence provided they have capacity.

    The common meaning of 'women having it all' is being married, taking care of their families, as well as having a successful career. Still in this context, many women have been able to successfully balance their busy careers and families. I strongly believe, all women can achieve their life goals...

  • One woman's success is not another woman's success, so is 'having it all.' However, based on each woman's goals, we determine the 'All.' Women can achieve All their goals with excellence provided they have capacity.

    The common meaning of 'women having it all' is being married, taking care of their families, as well as having a successful career. Still in this context, many women have been able to successfully balance their busy careers and families. I strongly believe, all women can achieve their life goals...

  • jannatul ferdous

    Thanks Ana for raising such a realistic topic. Its true that success for an women balancing both family and job life. There is so much expectation on a women, so much peer pressure all those together often makes life complicated. And as you rightly mention, to have all in a one single package might be lucrative but at the same time very very hard to get. Nevertheless, it always depends on ones integrity and level of passion at the end of the day!

  • jannatul ferdous

    Thanks Ana for raising such a realistic topic. Its true that success for an women balancing both family and job life. There is so much expectation on a women, so much peer pressure all those together often makes life complicated. And as you rightly mention, to have all in a one single package might be lucrative but at the same time very very hard to get. Nevertheless, it always depends on ones integrity and level of passion at the end of the day!

  • jannatul ferdous

    Thanks Ana for raising such a realistic topic. Its true that success for an women balancing both family and job life. There is so much expectation on a women, so much peer pressure all those together often makes life complicated. And as you rightly mention, to have all in a one single package might be lucrative but at the same time very very hard to get. Nevertheless, it always depends on ones integrity and level of passion at the end of the day!

  • jannatul ferdous

    Thanks Ana for raising such a realistic topic. Its true that success for an women balancing both family and job life. There is so much expectation on a women, so much peer pressure all those together often makes life complicated. And as you rightly mention, to have all in a one single package might be lucrative but at the same time very very hard to get. Nevertheless, it always depends on ones integrity and level of passion at the end of the day!

  • jannatul ferdous

    Thanks Ana for raising such a realistic topic. Its true that success for an women balancing both family and job life. There is so much expectation on a women, so much peer pressure all those together often makes life complicated. And as you rightly mention, to have all in a one single package might be lucrative but at the same time very very hard to get. Nevertheless, it always depends on ones integrity and level of passion at the end of the day!

  • Margaret Ngugi

    Just as success is a personal measurement and varies from person to person, so does 'having it all" . women can have it all if they exert themselves fully in whatever aspects they are involved in and give 100%. They will come out feeling successful. Be it in farming, fishing or professionally. What needs to be trained is excellence and doing everything to one's best so as to feel successful. This is a personal perspective but it is important to be emphasized so as to have less women feeling like they have not achieved.

  • Catherine Nyoike

    Ana, thank you for bringing this up.  The recently concluded S.H.E summit touched on this.

    While listening to the speakers during the summit, one of my takeaways was that as a woman I should strive to be excellent in whatever I do, not perfect.  It’s important to keep everything in perspective and prioritize my choices based on my non-negotiables. There is no one-size fits all work-life balance that I should be striving for, because we all have different priorities and different lives.

    Our "having it all" is therefore then measured, against our daily goals which then makes it very achievable.

  • Catherine Nyoike

    Ana, thank you for bringing this up.  The recently concluded S.H.E summit touched on this.

    While listening to the speakers during the summit, one of my takeaways was that as a woman I should strive to be excellent in whatever I do, not perfect.  It’s important to keep everything in perspective and prioritize my choices based on my non-negotiables. There is no one-size fits all work-life balance that I should be striving for, because we all have different priorities and different lives.

    Our "having it all" is therefore then measured, against our daily goals which then makes it very achievable.

  • Thabo Mubukwanu

    I believe women can and will have it all when we progress towards better working conditions that do not penalize women (and men) for having a family. I think a lot of roles that women are now taking up in the work place were originally designed with men in mind, maybe not on purpose but there was no allowance for such things as maternity leave. I think that as we begin to transform our cultures to value the input of women we will begin to create platforms that allow women to succeed in all areas.

  • Roman Girma Teshome

    If we are talking about gender equality,of course women can have it all. However, the road is not easy; it has never been easy. As a women we face societal and cultural challenges. Unlike men, we are expected to make sacrifices for our family. I am not arguing that women should not make sacrifices and make compromises for the sake of their family, but I am saying that both women and men should bear equal responsibility for their family.

    Apart from this, in order to have it all, women should be determined, passionate, hard working and strong. They have to strive to be successful in spite of all societal challenges and obstacles. I know plenty of women who are successful both in their personal and professional lives. It is all about determination and time management.

  • Hala Bugaighis

    Women can have it all, there's nothing biological or scientific prevents women from having it all. For the balance between family and career its all about time management and also raising a family is not the sole responsibility of the woman this stereotypes have to change. We should promote more the stories of women who did the balance, and who manage to successfully fulfill their dreams. 

    Having said that, what do we mean by "having it all", we shouldn't promote that it's a natural part of being woman is to have family, some women chose not to have kids or family for their own reasons it doesn't make them less than others. Said that women who chose to have only family and stay home and fulfilled their ambitious it means they had it all.. It's a matter of preferences after all ..

  • Ana Espinosa

    Tazeen, I do believe that what you said about technology and our systems is true, in fact this could be crucial for women to start doing more leadership and power positions without having this feeling about them abandon their children to go to work, at the end this change could also generate more compromise and over all less turn overs that will be a big benefit for corporations. 

    Michel, congratulations for your achievements, I do believe as you said is possible if you have the proper support system as you have had, but also I am agree with you in saying that for achieving this meaningful goals you should be aware of the trade off, and if you are willing to pay it off, otherwise misconceptions and generalizations are going to be happening as they are right now. 

     

  • jannatul ferdous

    If a women can get full support from her family and society , if she is confident enough to show up, definitely balance can be made. Neverth less, for an woman to shine bright, amount of sacrifice is way more in compared to a man. Still i do believe its possible.

  • Michel Choto

    I believe women can have it all, with the support of their family. I am one such example, i have been married for almost five years , and in those years i had a daughter who is now 3years, i am working and studying part time. I graduated with an Honors Degree when my daughter was just over 1year, and now i am almost completing my Master' Degree. I am also a founder of a startup that is almost 6months old.All this of course i have managed to achieve  because of my husband who supports me. Lets not generalise and put all women in a box, I believe it is very much possible to have it all and successfully mantain a work-life balance.I guess we can it all depends with your support structure.

    Let me also just add that, i had to sacrifice alot to achieve this, for example i have a non-existent social life as all my spare time and energy i have to put in my studies and establishing my startup. Just like anything in life, we have to put in the effort, and hardwork, others would like to call it "blood, sweat and tears" but its only for a season and it is all worth it in the end. We have to set the example for our peers, our children and generations to come.

  • It is possible with a combined effort from every woman and girl with the support of the society
     

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I think it's also important to remember that we're in a society that has never before seen such rapid and vast technological developments--it's amazing to think that just 15 or 20 years ago, we didn't have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube; Instagram, etc.; cell phones were reserved for wealthy businessmen; and snail mail (sending tangible letters via post office) was the norm, rather than the exception. Now we're constantly connected, which makes it much more challenging to disconnect and delineate the lines between work and everything else. Systematically, our work environments, structures, and processes have not evolved fast enough to keep up with today's pace, and we're still stuck in an antiquated era where most of us are expected to physically sit in an office or cubicle from a defined starting time to a defined ending time, work a defined number of hours per week, maintain boundaries between private and professional realms, etc. Technology has allowed us to stay connected to one another; revolutionized how, when, and where we do our work; created jobs that never would have existed one or two decades ago; made incredible advancements in health care, the economy, business, education; and much, much more. Now if we could only get our systems to catch up to and match our current needs, we'll have a fighting chance at one day, truly having it all, all at once. 

  • Ana Espinosa

    Thanks all for your opinions on the matter, I agree with all of you that in fact this is not something related just with the gender more than expectations and balance in life and probably the values we have been setting as a society. Although I agree with Sabin about passion must be a driver from our 1000 or 1 action in life I also believe as Renu said there are still a lot of societal pressures and traditions that keep women struggling when it comes to make a choice for what is the better balance for each individual women and family overall. 

    One of the things that I found really interesting about when I was looking for info about this topic is that our currents systems ( meaning work and schools) are not really flexible for women to be part of both or to feel part of both, and I believe this is something that obviously requires to be address and put attention on. Also that older generations that could and have been balancing their lives doing work and family at the same time are putting pressure in younger women to do the same otherwise they consider them not that "committed" whereas I believe is not lack of commitment more than a strong support system that could guide further generations to take better and more balance decisions 

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I think this is a debate that will continue years, even decades, down the road. I have heard from many successful, accomplished women (and men) that they can have it all, but not at the same time. Compromises and sacrifices will have to be made, and it's up to us to find a balance in our lives and prioritize what truly matters. Until more policies are in place and are actually implemented, we will continue to struggle to "have it all" in all aspects of our lives--family, professional, health, social, spiritual, psychological, and so on and so forth. I think it would benefit all of us if we teach the younger generations to manage their expectations, and prepare them to make compromises more often than they are comfortable with.

  • Stella Bakibinga

    Generally, I think in life it is difficult to have it all regardless of gender. We however make strides towards achieving equal opportunities for all. We cannot set a finishing line for this struggle as such, but rather have indicators that can make us know and understand how far we have come and what more we have to do to make the world equally good to women.

  • Sabin Muzaffar

    Life is not black and white, and it isnt perfect either. Dismal it may sound but one can work better with this in mind. This notion of women can or cant have it all intrigues me. For me, its about doing one thing or a hundred things but doing it with passion. Regardless of having it all or not, it is the journey and efforts you put in that matters.  

  • Renu Tandon

    Prevalent societal pressures in traditional patriarchal societies such as India, focus on women not being the 'primary caregiver', biases at the  workplaces skew the reality where women often think that they have to compromise and give-up their aspirations. In fact in today's world with great technology, support systems, it is easier to balance both professional and personal fronts. Women often believe(in their minds) that have to completely let-go of their careers in order to take care of their children. Surprisingly in almost 95% I have seen the men have never asked the women to quit their jobs nor have they pressurized their wives, these decisions have been taken by women (because somewhere in their minds they have felt that they are no longer aligned to the traditional mold of being a mother/wife)

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