Why Women Still Canít Have It All

Published: Wednesday, June 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Our take: Despite being told that she could not, or rather should not, write this Op-Ed because of her place as a role model to young women, Anne-Marie Slaughter explores the "fiction" that feminists have fed women.

When people asked why I had left government, I explained that Id come home not only because of Princetons rules (after two years of leave, you lose your tenure), but also because of my desire to be with my family and my conclusion that juggling high-level government work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible. I have not exactly left the ranks of full-time career women: I teach a full course load; write regular print and online columns on foreign policy; give 40 to 50 speeches a year; appear regularly on TV and radio; and am working on a new academic book. But I routinely got reactions from other women my age or older that ranged from disappointed (Its such a pity that you had to leave Washington) to condescending (I wouldnt generalize from your experience. Ive never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great).

It was the second set of reactionsthose implying that my parenting and/or my commitment to my profession were somehow substandardthat triggered a blind fury. Suddenly, finally, the penny dropped. All my life, Id been on the other side of this exchange.

Read more about Motherhood and careers on The Atlantic.

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