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Why Women Still Can’t have it all

Sumble Butt

There has been a lot of talk about women empowerment in the past half century and considerable efforts have been made at social, political and household levels to provide women better opportunities and rights in the society. The goal, however, has yet not been fully achieved and feminist debate that women still lag in provision of fundamental and superior rights. Recognizing its importance, eight out of fifteen Millennium Development Goals focus on women empowerment and hence it has become absolutely relevant for overall growth that women rights, abilities and opportunities are optimized worldwide.

I recently attended a forum hosted by OPEN Silicon Valley on Women Championing Women, in California. The Key Note Speaker at the forum was Katherine Spiller (Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine) who is an economist and researcher. She also holds the position of EVP Feminist Majority Foundation. Ms. Spiller walked the participants through the history of the Feminist movement and its effect on women’s activism on both social and political levels. She defined the term feminist in response to a question and urged women to stand up for women rights in small and big ways. Katherine in her presentation emphasized that the feminist movement is just not about personal empowerment instead it stresses upon collective empowerment. She also spoke about Ms. Magazine and its contribution in conducting research and investigative reporting on women issues. There were several other renowned speakers invited at the Forum who encouraged women to rise up to the leadership roles and not to shy away from bigger responsibilities despite challenges faced in balancing work and home life. While the discussion and the resulting debate sounded very encouraging, the question remains; “are women able to make smart trade offs and climb up the corporate ladder as aggressively as men?”
For working moms, managing their children is always a concern when jobs become too demanding.

Recently Anne-Marie Slaughter (Ex-Director of Policy Planning at the State Department) spoke about her experience as a high profile executive and the anxiety she went through in worrying about her children while she was away from home for work. In conversation with the editor of Atlantic magazine, Anne describes her own experience of stepping down from a high-level State Department position to teach at Princeton and spend more time with her children. Anne said in the process, she came to an uncomfortable realization: No matter what well-meaning feminists might say, women really can’t have it all. “Not today,” she writes, “not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.

So have women been buying into a myth for the past 40 years? Or has the next generation simply lost touch with the ideals of feminism?

The writer of the article is Sumble Butt. She has a Masters in Economics & Management and works as a Content Writer / blogger with OPEN SV. Sumble loves to read and write and her favorite subjects to blog include Business, Economy and Corporate development. She maintains her own blog on Face Book as “My Flight as a Writer”.

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