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Anne-Marie Slaughter

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Latest 6 Nov 2021 | Updated Daily

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

Breaking Down Patriarchy

Amy: Welcome to Breaking Down Patriarchy! I’m Amy McPhie Allebest. In 2012, an article in The Atlantic was being widely shared among my friends. It was called Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, and it was by a Princeton professor named Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I remember reading it several times and hearing from other full-time moms how validated they felt in their choice to stay home with kids. Several months later, my husband and I went to dinner with some of his grad school friends, and the women there, who were mothers who worked outside the home, were also talking about the article, but with a lot of consternation and a feeling of having been betrayed. The article turned out to be one of the most widely-read pieces ever published by The Atlantic, and the author continued engaging in the national conversation on the topic of work-life balance, eventually publishing a book called Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family, in 2015. This is the book we read for today’s episode, and I’m so excited to discuss it with my reading partner, Neylan McBaine.Welcome, Neylan!Neylan:Amy: (How Neylan and I know each other)-“To Do the Business of the Church: A Cooperative Paradigm for Examining Gendered Participation Within Church Organizational Structure-Women At Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local ImpactNeylan: Foundational years in online marketing in Silicon Valley have allowed Neylan to pursue a varied and fulfilling career as a non-profit executive, author, brand strategist, retail marketer and software company owner. A native of New York City, Neylan began her career working for Wal-Mart’s online ecommerce site, Walmart.com, in San Francisco where she was one of the first employees. Upon moving to Salt Lake City, Neylan was recruited to work in house at the agency responsible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign, “I’m A Mormon.” Neylan has also been a long time advocate of women, particularly within her religious community. She is the founder of the Mormon Women Project (now the LDS Women Project), the author of the bestselling book Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact, and in 2016, she founded Better Days 2020, a  non-profit which popularizes Utah women's history through education, legislation and the arts.  Since co-founding Better Days 2020 in 2016, Neylan has become a leader in speaking and writing about women's leadership and the U.S. suffrage movement, with a specific focus on Utah and the west's early role in that movement. Her third book, Pioneering the Vote: The Untold Story of Suffragists in Utah and the West, was published in August 2020. Earlier this year, Neylan shifted directions and acquired a small software company that provides studio management tools to independent music teachers. She is thrilled to be using everything she’s learned up until this point to return to her first love: music. Neylan is a graduate of Yale University, mother to three daughters, and lives in Salt Lake City.Amy: And what interested you in the project?Attended an all-girls school growing up where we read feminist treatises and literature from a very young age. Have led several non-profits focused on women’s advocacy. Because of my business experience, my specialty is the practical implementation of ideas that change hearts and minds of the general public. Also, move towards cooperative solutions in corporate and social structures. For example, I actually started a company before BD2020 called the Seneca Council in which I developed an evaluation that measured the level of gender optimization in corporate workplaces. Kind of like an audit of a company’s policies, culture and structures. Didn’t get very far, but I’m really committed to the idea that public and private policy needs to lead the way in the next step of gender cooperation.Amy: Intro of the author, Anne-Marie Slaughter:Anne-Marie Slaughter was born in Virginia in 1958, to a Belgian mother and an American father. She graduated magna cum laude Princeton University in 1980, then received her M.Phil. in International Affairs from Oxford in 1982. She then studied at Harvard Law School and graduated cum laude with a J.D. in 1985. She continued at Harvard after graduation as a researcher, and in 1992, she received her PhD in International Relations from Oxford. Slaughter served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School from 1989–1994 and then on the faculty of Harvard Law School from 1994 to 2002. She then moved to Princeton to serve as dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, the first woman to hold that position. She held that post from 2002 to 2009, when she accepted an appointment at the US State Department, working under Senator Hillary Clinton. In 2011, she returned to Princeton as a professor, and the factors informing that decision led her to publish an article in The Atlantic magazine in 2012. Neylan, do you want to talk about this part of the story?NeylanSlaughter left the State Department  in 2010, despite having the opportunity to stay. Returned to Princeton, husband and two teenaged sons. Widely criticized. “This crisis had forced me to confront what was most important to me, rather than what I was conditioned to want, or perhaps what I had conditioned myself to want.”In 2012, published Why Women Still Can’t Have It All in The Atlantic. One of the most read article in history of the mag. Her thesis is that women still don’t have the freedom to make the choices that work best for them because of systemic and cultural barriers around women in the workplace.She tackles the wins and shortcomings of where feminist theory has landed us in the day-to-day lived reality of 21st century America.Amy: Ok, let’s dig in! I’ll take Chapter 1...Chapter 1: Half Truths Women Hold DearThis book begins with a premise that I understand and appreciate, but that is foreign to me. She says that based on the way she was raised (as a child of the 1970’s women’s movement): “I’m a feminist, and one of the central tenets of my life has been to believe and live the proposition that women can have full-fledged careers just like men without giving up the joys of family life.” (8)As listeners know, I was taught the opposite: that women could not have full-fledged careers, or really any careers at all, because that was the realm of men, and that if women did pursue a career they would give up the joy and the divinely-mandated duty of caring for children and running the home. So I had to take an extra step over and over again to get to her starting assumption. Neylan, you and I grew up in the same faith, but with different families of origin (and I’ve mentioned in other episodes that even my sister and I internalized different messaging because her studies were in a field of professional training). What paradigm did you grow up with? Very different.Mom was LDS and wanted a large family, but she could only have one child and had a prominent career instead, which she loved and was very proud of. Celebrated by the Church.Dad wasn’t LDS, but was much more conflicted than my mom about “a woman’s place”. All of my pressure to be a mom/caregiver came from him.Attended an all-girls school. Read Virginia Woolf starting in 9th grade, etc. Super feminist atmosphere.Balanced by my membership in LDS church, where I was seeing healthy families and what a good marriage could be. My parents had a very tumultuous relationship and eventually divorced. One of my goals in life was to have the stable family and male leadership we did not have in my own family.One way of viewing the book is as a response to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, which was published in 2013 and encouraged women to pursue leadership in their field of work, even if they have children at home. Sheryl Sandberg and I agree on many things. We both encourage women to speak up and take their place at the table; we both want to see many structural changes in the workplace. To some extent the difference between us is largely a matter of which side of the equation to emphasize - a difference that, on my side, at least, is a function of relative age. I would have written a very similar book to Lean In at forty-three, Sandberg’s age when she published her book. My kids were very young and I had never met a work-life challenge that I could not surmount by working harder or hiring people to help out. By fifty-three, when I wrote my article, I found myself in a different place, one that gave me insight into the circumstances and choices facing the many women who have found that for whatever reason, leaning in simply isn't an option.  On another level, however, the differences between Sandberga and me are more fundamental. We have similar backgrounds in many ways, but our careers have led us on very different paths. Sandberg focuses on how young women can climb into the C-suite in a traditional male world of corporate hierarchies. I see that system itself as antiquated and broken. When law firms and corporations hemorrhage talented women who reject lockstep career paths and question promotion systems that elevate quantity of hours worked over the quality of the work itself, the problem is not with the women.”  (15) “Lean In  tells you how to survive and win in what is still fundamentally a man’s world, while making what changes you can when you reach the top. (16)This is perhaps the primary thesis of the book, as reflected in her original Atlantic article, where she says “I still strongly believe that women can ‘have it all’ (and that men can too). I believe that we can ‘have it all at the same time.’ But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.” So yes, the problem is not the women, it’s that women aren’t sufficiently supported in order to make an egalitarian society run. I would add that Slaughter is responding not just to Sandberg but also to Simone DeBeauvoir and Riane Eisler and, even earlier, George Sand, and other pioneers of feminism wrestled with the idea that, in order to achieve equality with men, women had to act like men or at least play the male game of achievement. As you’ve talked about on this podcast before, DeBeauvoir called it moving from immanence to transcendence. Eisler uses the spectrum of dominance to partnership relationships. I think Slaughter is trying to move us firmly into a more evolved attitude that equality between men and women doesn’t have to mean sameness, which can be an uncomfortable and ambiguous place as we figure out what that exactly looks like. Neylan:Chapter 2: Half Truths: “A half-truth is just that - it’s not wholly false. But it often obscures a bigger, deeper truth, something that we do not want or do not choose to face.” (p52) You can have it all if you are just committed enough to your career. You can have it all if you marry the right person. You can have it all if you sequence it right. She argues that the system isn’t set up to absorb the vagaries of women’s lived experience, because none of these things actually happen. “A resilient system is one that can handle the unexpected and bounce back, that anticipates the possibility of many different paths to the same destination.” (p19) In comparing her approach to Sheryl Sandberg, she says “Sandberg focuses on how young women can climb into the C-suite in a traditional male world of corporate hierarchies. I see that system itself as antiquated and broken. (p15)She amends the half truths (p. 35)Expands half-truths to men (chapter 3) and to the workplace (chapter 4)Neylan: Chapter 3: Workplace Half-Truths“The first half-truth is that the issue of work-life balance is a ‘women’s problem’. If we define it that way, then it is up to women to find or at least implement the solution. The second is that employers can make room for caregiving by offering flextime and part-time arrangements. While these policies certainly represent progress over rigid ‘all in or get out’ workplaces, they’re not nearly enough for many workers with caregiving responsibilities. Third is our assumption that wanting work-life balance - or even just wanting a life outside of work - signals a lack of commitment to that work. That assumption reflects a mindset that promotes men with full-time wives and no lives.” (p.52)Neylan: Chapter 4: Competition and Care“The two great motivators of men and women alike.” (p.83)Competition: the impulse to pursue our self-interest in a world in which others are pursuing theirs.Care: the impulse to put others firstThese have historically been gendered, with caregiving devalued and discriminated against. “Motherhood is now the single best indicator that an unmarried middle-class woman will end up bankrupt.” (p. 86)“Not valuing caregiving is the taproot, the deeper problem that gives rise to distortion and discrimination in multiple areas of American society.” (p.87)“I am not proposing to devalue competition; I am proposing to revalue care, to elevate it to its proper place as an essential human instinct, drive and activity. If we can actually teach ourselves to value competition and care equally, to think that managing money and managing a household full of other human beings are equally valid and valuable occupations, we will be on the way to real equality between men and women. We will no longer see work and family as a woman’s issue but as a parent’s issue, a son’s or a daughter’s issue, a spouse’s or a sibling’s issue, a devoted friend’s issue. An issue for anyone who works and who also loves and cares for someone else.” (p/122)“In the long quest for gender equality, women first had to gain power and independence by emulating men. But as we attain that power and independence, we must not automatically accept the traditional man’s view - which is really the view of only a minority of men - about what matters in the world.” (p123)Chapter 5: Is Managing Money Really Harder than Managing Kids? (N. Touch on only briefly)In Chapter 2, Slaughter says, **I tell [my sons] that it’s a man’s job to provide, and a woman’s too. Both are responsible for providing the combination of income and nurture that allows those who depend on them to flourish. (50)She continues this concept in Chapter 5: It may seem obvious, but let’s be clear about the meanings of ‘breadwinning’ and ‘caregiving.’ In any society that has a system of exchange beyond barter, adults have to earn income - to pay the rent or the mortgage; buy food, clothing, and furniture; pay for transportation, heat, electricity, health insurance, and a phone. Breadwinning.  One or both members of a couple must also do the work that turns that income into goods and services necessary for survival and flourishing: shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, driving, repairing, organizing, and outsourcing. And that is just the physical dimension of care, the taking care of another human being in the same way that a caretaker looks after a house or property. “Caregiving,” the term we typically use when we mean taking care of other people, includes the additional emotional component of love and nurture, the transformation of an income stream into the lifeblood of human connection. (103)The rest of Chapter 5 is where Slaughter emphasizes the side of the equation that I grew up with - that caring for children is meaningful, that it’s important, that children need love and connection and the engaged presence of caring adults when they’re young and it’s hard for them to thrive without that. Yep, that’s the part I did  grow up knowing, and glad I did!Extending to other caregiving professions, such as teaching, Slaughter compares the abysmal US public education system with that of Finland.In Finland, a country that ranks high on all international educational measures, teaching is a prestigious profession. To become a teacher in Finland, you must be accepted to one of eight teacher training colleges, which are about as difficult to get into as MIT. ...Finnish teachers make an amount comparable to other college graduates in their country. By contrast, in the United States, many teachers’ colleges have no admissions requirements, and so our country produces two and a half times the teachers we need each year and then pays them less than what other college grads make.  ...So why don’t we value teachers? Or nurses, nannies, primary care physicians, gerontologists, elder-care specialists - essentially any profession centered on helping others flourish…? I can think of a number of reasons for this distortion in our value structure. The most obvious… is that we are talking about men’s traditional work versus women’s traditional work, and we have traditionally valued men more than women. (117)I do not question the importance of equipping girls and boys with equal education, encouraging them to have equal aspirations and to gain sufficient independence that they can support themselves financially. From that perspective, the message we send our children about the importance of competition is absolutely right. But the message that a woman’s traditional work of caregiving- anchoring the family by tending to material needs and nourishing minds and souls - is somehow less important than a man’s traditional work of earning an income to support that family and advance his own career is false and harmful. It is the result of a historical bias, an outdated prejudice, a cognitive distortion that is skewing our society and hurting us all. (123) Riane Eisler in the Real Wealth of Nations: Caregiving is not included in national GDP. Both Eisler and Slaughter lay out a cooperative model of economic partnership that depends on competition and caregiving being evident traits in both men and women. Neylan and Amy: Chapter 6: The Next Phase of the Women’s Movement Is A Men’s Movement: Chapter 6 is one that we both thought was important - it fleshes out one of the

1hr 15mins

26 Oct 2021

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Episode 40: Anne-Marie Slaughter on American renewal

American Purpose's Bookstack

Can America bounce back in an era of crisis? Absolutely it can, says Anne-Marie Slaughter, as she joins our host Richard Aldous to discuss her new book Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics.


15 Oct 2021

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Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sarah J. Jackson

Great Podversations

Professor, writer, and CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter discusses her book “Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics" with professor and author Sarah J. Jackson. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America and Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009-2011 she served as the director of policy planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position.Dr. Slaughter has written or edited seven other books. She is also a frequent contributor to various publications, including The Atlantic, the Financial Times, and Project Syndicate. Sarah J. Jackson is a Presidential Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and Co-Director of the Media, Inequality, & Change Center. Dr. Jackson is the author of two books, a 2019 New America National Fellow and 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Her next book traces the contributions of Black media-makers to American democracy.


8 Oct 2021

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Anne-Marie Slaughter on Radical Honesty as a Key to Growth

Keen On

In this episode of “Keen On”, Andrew is joined by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the author of “Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics”, to discuss how we as individuals, organizations, and nations can move backward and forward at the same time, facing the past and embracing a new future. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America, a think ​and action ​tank dedicated to renewing the promise of America, bringing us closer to our nation’s highest ideals. She is also the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Dr. Slaughter is also a contributing editor to the Financial Times and writes a bi-monthly column for Project Syndicate. Visit our website: https://lithub.com/story-type/keen-on/ Email Andrew: a.keen@me.com Watch the show live on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajkeen Watch the show live on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ankeen/ Watch the show live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lithub Watch the show on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LiteraryHub/videos Subscribe to Andrew’s newsletter: https://andrew2ec.substack.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


29 Sep 2021

Most Popular

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Anne-Marie Slaughter talks Care Feminism and Portfolio Careers

Women on The Move Podcast

Anne-Marie Slaughter talks Care Feminism and Portfolio Careers Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” published in the Atlantic Magazine in 2012, ignited a national conversation about women and the workplace. The former director of planning at the U.S. State Department and current CEO of New America sits down with Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein to discuss why this article continues to resonate with women, her career, and a new type of feminism. The article heard around the world Anne-Marie had just left her glass ceiling–busting job in Clinton’s State Department when she wrote her Atlantic Magazine article. She recalls how the article “catapulted me into this different world, this domestic world, mostly talking about gender equality.” It was her time at the State Department, she says, that prompted the realization that “having it all” wasn’t the solution or the end game. As she wrote in the article, “I finally allowed myself to accept what was really most important to me. And that decision led to a reassessment of the feminist narrative that I grew up with and have always championed.” “Real equality doesn't mean remaking myself as a man,” Anne-Marie tells Sam. “It means having the same opportunities that men have had, but also being able to be who I am.” She says that while working in D.C. during the week and commuting home to her family with two teenage sons on the weekend, she realized that while she took pride in her work, she didn’t want to look back later and feel she missed out on critical time with her family. Recognizing how hard it was to make space in her life for both her career and her family prompted her to re-think the ideas of feminism she had grown up with. Now that she was a leader in the system, her next goal was to “reshape the system to adapt to me, not to shape myself to the system.” Care feminism Anne-Marie tells Sam that her ideas of feminism evolved over her time as a professional leader and family caretaker. “When I wrote my Atlantic article, I was focused on the ways in which workplaces and norms needed to adapt, to allow women to have the same careers as men,” she says. “So I was solidly a career feminist and just saying, it's just much harder than I recognized, and I've been wrong not to see it from the perspective of women.”  She soon began focusing on what she calls deeper forces of care and career. “And I'd concluded that you couldn't value men's traditional work and expect women to do it without equally valuing women's traditional work and expecting men to do it—just mathematically, it won't work,” she says. Care feminism is infused into New America, particularly in the organization’s initiative, Better Life Lab. The Lab, sponsored in part by JP Morgan Chase, focuses on original research and reporting aimed at reimagining work, gender equity, and work-family justice for families of all types. Portfolio careers The lifelong arc of women’s—and men’s—careers is another piece of the work-life balance that Anne-Marie is reimagining. “I think about this increasingly in terms of what I call a portfolio career, that most of us need a job, and we do other things on top of it, but there's a kind of central job,” she tells Sam. Throughout people’s careers, she says, there may be times when they want or need to step back or slow down—but that doesn’t mean they have to take a break from their career. Anne-Marie believes rather than balancing everything at once, “it’s really possible to think about all the different things you want to do and construct a portfolio of activity that is your life.”


15 Jul 2021

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Power and Nations: Anne-Marie Slaughter

Deep Background with Noah Feldman

Small groups of people make massive decisions about the future of our world. They’re global leaders, corporations, large NGOs, and the mega-rich. In this first episode in a mini-series on international power players, Anne-Marie Slaughter, political scientist, international lawyer, and former Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department weighs in on the global power shifts of the last 50 years. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com


9 Jun 2021

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Leadership: Anne-Marie Slaughter

Little T's Big Interviews

In this episode, I interview Anne-Marie Slaughter who is an author, CEO, international law expert, and former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department.


24 May 2021

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Anne-Marie Slaughter

How to Fix Democracy

Laboratories of democracy | Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America, a think tank in Washington, DC. In this interview, she discusses with host Andrew Keen possible structural changes to American democracy, including adopting ranked-choice voting and re-thinking campaign finance. She argues that capitalism--it’s ethos and influence--has infected the political process. American politicians have taken on capitalist forces before, Slaughter argues, but it will take major political cooperation to do it again.


10 Nov 2020

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Gender Roles: Our Future at Work & Home with Anne-Marie Slaughter

Inspiration Loves Company with Debbie Epstein Henry

Join me and Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America CEO, as we revisit her watershed article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” We’ll uncover the future of gender roles and work and how we can improve both for the better. Sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis.


25 Oct 2020

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Anne-Marie Slaughter on the Building Blocks of Progress

RSA Events

Injustice and inequality are holding us back from becoming the best society we can be, and we need to make change together, on every level. CEO of New America Anne-Marie Slaughter explores how we can enact values that make us proud. This conversation was broadcast online on the 2nd July 2020. Discover more at: www.thersa.org/events/bridges-to-the-future


3 Jul 2020