Can we have it all? At we discussed last week, it depends on who’s asking the question.
The next logical question is what – what is “it all”?
In her article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, former White House official Anne-Marie Slaughter concludes that, within in the framework of our current society, having “it all” is unlikely – especially when our children are in their formative years.
Yet this conclusion begs the question – what does having it all look like?
This is where the rubber hits the road. Like most tough questions in life, we must answer for ourselves. Often through trial and error. I never want another woman to think my “it all” should be her “it all.”
Yet as I wrestle with the tough questions, I always appreciate a diverse dialogue with other women.
- For Dianne Paddison, a corporate executive and former Fortune 500 COO, “having it all” meant early investment in her career, later “enabling me to take significant time off to be my my son during some rocky teenage years.”
- For attorney Richelle Campbell, “having it all” meant leaving a big firm and having her career take a back seat to motherhood.
- For Bonnie Wurzbacher, Senior Vice President of Global Customer & Channel Leadership at The Coca-Cola Company, “having it all” meant marrying a great partner — “I don’t know of even one highly successful woman leader who has a “traditional” marriage.”
Like us, all of these women define “having it all differently.” Each inspires us as she speaks through her own lens.
I likewise appreciate Slaughter’s bold dialogue as well as the spirited discussion she has sparked (including a piece on the Wall Street Journal’s The Juggle last week), challenging us to create a more flexible workplace — so that women and men can have viable choices at home and at work. Otherwise, what’s the point of the dialogue?
What does “having it all” mean to you?