“Balance is a luxury. Equality is a necessity.” — Anne-Marie Slaughter
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Washington power player who upset the feminist applecart. At the peak of her career — as first female Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department — she turned her back on her dream job with Hillary Clinton in order to spend more time with her teenage sons. How, cried her contemporaries, could she have sacrificed her high-powered career for her family? Slaughter’s ensuing article for The Atlantic, ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’, went viral, sparking furious debate about how men and women juggle their working lives. Having it all, Slaughter argued, remained a mirage. Women who managed to be both mothers and top professionals were either ‘superhuman, rich or self-employed’.
On January 26, Anne-Marie Slaughter came to the Intelligence Squared stage, together with Amanda Foreman, award-winning historian and presenter of the recent BBC documentary series The Ascent of Woman, which charts the role of women in society over 10,000 years. They were joined by neuroscientist and broadcaster Daniel Glaser and Sky News social affairs editor Afua Hirsch, as they examined what real equality might look like for both men and women. Is gender equality a matter of women ‘leaning in’ harder in their careers? Or do we all need to fundamentally rethink the roles we assign ourselves, so that both sexes can break free from traditional gender stereotypes?