When you think of the term “success” what comes to mind?
For Anne-Marie Slaughter, the previous Director of Policy Planning for the U.S State Department, it was a man at the top of his career. I would hazard to guess that your thoughts, like mine, also wandered to the old suit, tie and briefcase combo, typical of a man in an office with a view.
In her recent Ted Talk, Slaughter explored this idea of success and suggested that we have got it all wrong. According to this image, a woman can only be considered as successful as a man if she succeeds on “male” terms. To fit the mould, we need to don the suit and tie, and smash our way through the glass ceiling to the top of the corporate ladder.
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However, as Slaughter discovered through her career, this is only half of what it means to be successful. Her talk explores the comparable value between carers and breadwinners in family life, leading her to suggest that “juggling work and family are not women’s problems, they’re family problems”.
We need to socialise boys and men to recognise the role of the carer as “cool for guys” if we want to see equality in our life.
After considering how our culture devalues the work put into family and caring, she suggests that a change is needed. As women begin to lean in, we must take the next step towards equality, which Slaughter sees as “resocializing men”. In other words, we need to socialize boys and men to recognise the role of the carer as “cool for guys,” if we want to see equality in our lifetime.
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Some viewers may cringe at this point, thinking “oh, those crazy feminists! Always trying to change men, when it isn’t men who have a problem.”
Well, as Slaughter reveals, inequality between the sexes and gender roles has a negative impact on business, politics, family life and individuals, no matter what gender they are.