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I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom. These are words of Indra K Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo . This question was preceded by a brief discussion of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.  Let’s start from the beginning. Let’s look at Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article on Why Women Still Can’t Have It All . Then let’s read thoughts of Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook and complete it with Indra Nooyi’s complete article

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.

Anne-Marie Slaughter is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, and the mother of two teenage boys. She served as the director of policy planning at the State Department from 2009 to 2011. Slaughter’s  left her demanding high-profile political career and returned to her full-time job as a professor at Princeton while also writing and speaking. This career change allowed her to live in the same city as her sons during the week and be there for them. She still had a demanding, fulfilling and important job but there were detractors who still felt she had somehow failed herself and women in general.  Despite what she had been raised to believe and what she had told herself throughout her career, Slaughter came to the conclusion that while women can have it all and they can have it all at once, it is not possible with the current structure of today’s society. In her article, Slaughter includes six solutions for creating a society that works for women.  LON…G article in July 2012 in Atlantic Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

Changing the Culture of Face Time

The culture of “time macho”—a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you—remains astonishingly prevalent among professionals today.  The share of all professionals—women and men—working more than 50 hours a week has increased since the late 1970s. But more time in the office does not always mean more value added—and it does not always add up to a more successful organization. Long hours are one thing, and realistically, they are often unavoidable. But do they really need to be spent at the office? To be sure, being in the office some of the time is beneficial. In-person meetings can be far more efficient than phone or e-mail tag; trust and collegiality are much more easily built up around the same physical table; and spontaneous conversations often generate good ideas and lasting relationships. Still, armed with e-mail, instant messaging, phones, and video conferencing technology, we should be able to move to a culture where the office is a base of operations more than the required locus of work. But even with technology that allows for such communications, the expectations of where work should be done must change before women can work from home without the risk of facing resentment from co-workers at the office

Revaluing Family Values

Many people in positions of power seem to place a low value on child care in comparison with other outside activities. Consider the following proposition: An employer has two equally talented and productive employees. One trains for and runs marathons when he is not working. The other takes care of two children. What assumptions is the employer likely to make about the marathon runner?Do you think the employer makes those same assumptions about the parent? The employer assumes the marathon trainer, who is committed to training at odd hours of the day and pushing through exhaustion after working long hours in the office, must be extremely driven. Yet while the parent must also rise early, be organized and disciplined to raise a child and succeed professionally, the employer does not automatically attribute these traits to the parent perhaps because of society’s perception that because one chooses to have a child, that person should not receive the same allowances other employees might receive.

Other points she talks about are

  • Redefining the Arc of a Successful Career
  • Rediscovering the Pursuit of Happiness
  • Innovative Nation
  • Enlisting Men

Her TED talk on Why women can’t have it all?

Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook : Lean In

In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg published “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” a bold call to action for women in the workforce to assert themselves and assume their rightful place at the top of the hierarchy. Women are not making it to the top. A hundred and ninety heads of state; nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 percent are women. In the corporate sector, [the share of] women at the top—C-level jobs, board seats—tops out at 15, 16 percent. Excerpt from Sheyrl Sandberg talk on So we leaned in … now what? and

You never talk about being a woman, because someone might notice that you’re a woman, right? They might notice. Or worse, if you say “woman,” people on the other end of the table think you’re asking for special treatment, or complaining.

I came out of college over 20 years ago, and I thought that all of my peers were men and women, all the people above me were all men, but that would change, because your generation had done such an amazing job fighting for equality, equality was now ours for the taking. And it wasn’t. Because year after year, I was one of fewer and fewer, and now, often the only woman in a room

so I had gotten on a plane the day before, and my daughter was three, she was clinging to my leg: “Mommy, don’t go” I’m going to get on a stage and admit my daughter was clinging to my leg? And you said yes, because if you want to talk about getting more women into leadership roles, you have to be honest about how hard it is. And I did. And I think that’s a really important part of the journey.

Now we have, all over the world, women are called “bossy.” There is a word for “bossy,” for little girls, in every language there’s one. It’s a word that’s pretty much not used for little boys, because if a little boy leads, there’s no negative word for it, it’s expected. But if a little girl leads, she’s bossy.

Sheryl Sandberg speaks to a new generation of women in ‘Lean In: For Graduates’

You should be aware that men are often promoted based on potential, while women are promoted on past performance. You should also be aware that when men are successful, they are often better liked by both men and women, but when women are successful, they are liked less.

You should also be aware of the internal barriers that we often impose on ourselves. Too many women sit on the side of the room when they should be sitting at the table. Too many women lower their voices when they should be speaking up.This is not our fault. We internalize messages that say it’s wrong for us to be outspoken, aggressive, and as powerful as—or even more powerful than—men. In response, we alter our actions.

We hold ourselves back not just out of fear of seeming too aggressive but also by underestimating our abilities. Ask a woman to explain why she’s successful and she’ll credit luck, hard work, and help from others. Ask a man the same question and he’s likely to explain, or at least think, “C’mon, I’m awesome!”

Part of believing in yourself means not worrying too much about failure. Know that your career— and your life— will have starts and stops, twists, and even U- turns. This is especially true in an economy where you may have to take the job you can get as opposed to the job you want. Focus on taking full advantage of any opportunity to develop your skills. And remember that your early years in the workforce are a great time to strengthen areas of weakness. So many of us avoid doing the things we’re not good at, practically ensuring that we will never improve. If leading a project scares you, volunteer to do it. If you don’t like speaking in public, start by addressing small groups. Look for ways to stretch yourself, both big and small.

And if anyone, including that voice in the back of your head, insists you must choose between work and having a family, remember that men routinely assume they can have both. You should assume that you can too, especially since mothers now make up the majority of primary or co-breadwinners for American families.

Your life’s course should not be determined by doing what’s safe and easy but by reaching for what’s challenging and hard: the classes that seem impossible on the first day, but you study enough to pass . . . the jobs you’re not quite qualified for, but you work like crazy to acquire the skills . . . the moments when you feel alone and overwhelmed, but you are brave enough to ask for help. When you need help— and we all do— please look for it. No one needs to navigate this world alone.

Sheryl Sandberg TED Talk on Why we have too few women leaders (2010)

Indra Nooyi on Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

My observation, David, is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you’re rising to middle management your kids need you because they’re teenagers, they need you for the teenage years. And that’s the time your husband becomes a teenager too, so he needs you (laughing). They need you too. What do you do? And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they’re aging. So we’re screwed. We have no … we cannot have it all

You know, stay at home mothering was a full time job. Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all? You can’t. The person who hurts the most through this whole thing is your spouse. There’s no question about it. You know, Raj always said, you know what, your list is PepsiCo, PepsiCo, PepsiCo, our two kids, your mom, and then at the bottom of the list is me. There are two ways to look at it. (laughing) You should be happy you’re on the list. So don’t complain. (laughing) He is on the list.

It is just not possible to be everything to everyone, everywhere. So yes, developing coping mechanisms is the answer.

You come home one day as president of the company, just appointed, and your mom is not that impressed. Would you tell that story?

This is about 14 years ago. I was working in the office. I work very late, and we were in the middle of the Quaker Oats acquisition. And I got a call about 9:30 in the night from the existing chairman and CEO at that time. He said, Indra, we’re going to announce you as president and put you on the board of directors … I was overwhelmed, because look at my background and where I came from — to be president of an iconic American company and to be on the board of directors, I thought something special had happened to me.

So rather than stay and work until midnight which I normally would’ve done because I had so much work to do, I decided to go home and share the good news with my family. I got home about 10, got into the garage, and my mother was waiting at the top of the stairs. And I said, “Mom, I’ve got great news for you.” She said, “let the news wait. Can you go out and get some milk?”

I looked in the garage and it looked like my husband was home. I said, “what time did he get home?” She said “8 o’clock.” I said, “Why didn’t you ask him to buy the milk?” “He’s tired.” Okay. We have a couple of help at home, “why didn’t you ask them to get the milk?” She said, “I forgot.” She said just get the milk. We need it for the morning. So like a dutiful daughter, I went out and got the milk and came back.

I banged it on the counter and I said, “I had great news for you. I’ve just been told that I’m going to be president on the Board of Directors. And all that you want me to do is go out and get the milk, what kind of a mom are you?” And she said to me, “let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”

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I am a women and yes I don’t have it all.  I had it all, best school education, engineering in a premier institute ,working in MNC. But all that changed when I had my first child. Can women have it all? Will our daughters have it all or struggle? Do women need to be guilty about being a career woman? Among Indra Nooyi,Anne-Marie Slaughter,Sheryl Sandberg whose views do you agree with most? What changes need to be made so that women can have it in future?


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