As a parent and a professional woman, I am constantly feeling the tug between accelerating my career while still being the kind of mom I want to be-present, available and engaged. I have no doubt that most parents, moms and dads, experience similar feelings whether they work because they need to or want to.
I just finished reading a book called Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter. Ms. Slaughter argues that the discussion around “working moms” needs to change to a discussion about the demands of “care” and “competition”. She suggests that this is the next phase of the feminist movement, one that must include both women and men, and that challenges the value placed on traditional male and female roles and responsibilities. She argues that the lack of value and prestige placed on caregiving by our society is the most significant barrier to women’s ability to reach true equality in the workplace and I couldn’t agree more. Whether caregiving occurs in an unpaid setting like the home or a paid one like daycares and nursing homes, it is obvious to me what little value our society places on these professions. Just ask what your daycare worker is paid in comparison to a financial advisor! The feminist movement is ultimately about full inclusion and about choice. It’s time that both men and women have a true choice in the way they parent and pursue a career.
I highly recommend this book. It is thought-provoking and challenges our beliefs and understanding about women’s engagement in the workplace, about traditional male/female roles, and about the so-called “work-life balance”.by