The debate: Can women have it all?

By KASEN BIEN 

Is ‘having it all’ really impossible? Anne Marie Slaughter’s articleaddressed the issues she faced serving as the first woman director of policy planning and the distance that job kept her from her family. This issue is faced by both genders; however, women are expected to have a stronger connection with their children. Slaughter received criticism from both sides: some accused her of lacking parenting skills, while others judged her to have a lack of commitment to the job. Slaughter struggled with these accusations, and eventually realized that she was not at fault for not being able to manage everything. 

It is a fact that women are not able to rise up the corporate ladder as fast as men. Even though a woman has received a proper education and credentials – equivalent or greater than their male counterpart – they are often not considered for the same job. The term ‘glass ceiling’ has been coined for this matter. The average pay for man at 48 years old is at $95k/year, and 48 year old women make $60k/year. Another statistic from McKinsey & Company shows “women occupy only 28% of senior managerial posts, 14% of seats on executive committees and just 3% of chief-executive roles”. 

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Women are expected and encouraged to serve as mother figures – to be available to their children and to care for them. Domestic duties are still stereotyped to be female roles. Evidence supported by all of the cleaning commercials on television. This problem is not easily remedied as it has been drilled into America’s subconscious; many think that gender roles are natural and things just are this way just ‘because’. Though gender roles have been assigned to us before we have been conceived, we are still being force fed gender separated notions. Any deviation from this norm is seen as strange and cause for discomfort. 

Women in developing nations face a whole different struggle. In response to Slaughter’s article, Amy Walburn responds with consideration to the other side of the puzzle2. Arab families, regardless of their socioeconomic status, are able to afford cheap, reliable domestic help – which is considered a luxury in America. But these domestic workers must work to support their families; they do not have a choice. In extreme cases, these workers travel far away from home and send their paychecks when they can. They do not get to see or spend time with their families. 

Is there anything we can fix about the US job inequality? What about overseas – how drastic is this parallel between women jobs in developed and developing nations? Microfinance is an option, but what about the cultural drawbacks of giving women credit? Oikocredit is hosting a discussion on Twitter on November 19 to see other opinions upon the matter. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/the-having-it-all-debate-should-include-women-who-have-nothing/259382/

*Disclaimer: The views represented here are the opinions of the individual blog author and do not represent the views of Oikocredit USA. 

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