I know- you’re reading this title and saying, isn’t this topic old and tired? What more can we say about work/life balance that hasn’t already been said? Haven’t we been told time and time again that balance is bunk? I know, I know. However, a variety of experiences I’ve had over the past few months have sparked my interest in revisiting this topic. Humor me. Here goes…
I recently attended a wonderful on-campus session focused on women in leadership. Everyone on campus was invited to attend a lunch and subsequent panel session, which included women who held or had held various leadership positions in higher education. One panelist was a president emerita; another, a retired assistant vice president for student affairs; two were chief academic affairs officers; and a fifth was a vice chancellor of our state system. As we asked the panel various questions, the inevitable questions came up about work/life balance. How do you manage it all? After the question was asked, the panel grew uncharacteristically silent and looked a bit sheepish. “Not very well,” admitted the former AVPSA, a rumored workaholic. The retired president offered up something about a seesaw- sometimes career is up and sometimes personal life is up, depending on the period of life or time of year. Okay, fair enough. The others sort of hemmed and hawed. What became clear from this panel of very successful women is that balance is hard to achieve and some women (and men) eschew balance in order to achieve success. It didn’t leave me feeling optimistic.
Continue reading Work/Life Balance: Revisited
This is the third post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
This blog post started as a conversation with my daughter. About three years ago, I asked my daughter about feminism. She, Hannah, had just finished her first year of college. Prime time for a mother to swoop in and take temperature. Let’s be more precise. Second-wave feminist mom who at age 43 gave birth to her daughter descends on wary daughter after year one of college, bearing annoying questions. I could easily have been her grandmother, but she was under no obligation to extend me that courtesy.
I took the risk. Note: I am often too direct for my own good. Indeed, the conversation was awkward. Asked about the word feminism, Hannah said, “That’s your generation. I don’t know a single person who says she’s a feminist.” She said it genially, with a gleam in her eye. It put me in mind of her baby self, beaming with love, looking me straight in the eye, opening wide her adorable little mouth, and biting me. Her young adult conversations retain both their affection and their teeth. I felt it, but I was ready. Then followed ruminations.
Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: Intergenerational Feminism Starts at Home
by: Jodi Koslow Martin
An alternate title for this entry is ” What’s Taking So Flipping Long?” Let me explain.
In 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” This article sparked a great deal of debate and dialogue among professional women and was certainly a point of discussion for the founding authors of this blog. Recently, Ms. Slaughter’s spouse, Andrew Moravcsik, added his own entry into the same periodical, which was titled “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.” As you can guess from the title, it was a personal reflection of the choices that the two-career couple made with respect to the ever elusive balancing act of raising kids and having a meaningful careers.
As you can imagine, this article elicited some strong responses from the women in our group, especially from me. My reaction was this…of course there’s a lead parent! Sometimes, there’s even only one parent. We’ve all known this. It seems as if it’s taking a really long time to finally realize it’s OK if it’s a male lead parent. Like a really long time. And, apparently, it takes a Princeton professor to say, “It’s okay, guys, you’re going to have to give up some things but this, this bond with the kids, ya’ know, you should really try it out.”
Continue reading Who’s Lucky: Choices about Primary Parenting