Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

Women Men Work Family

Book - 2015
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A powerful, persuasive, thought-provoking vision for how to finish the long struggle for equality between men and women, work and family

When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family.

The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic , "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine's history.

Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward even further and broken free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. In the twenty-first century, the feminist movement has stalled, and though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the "motherhood penalty," so far no solution has been able to unite all women.

Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision of what true equality between men and women really means and how we can get there. Slaughter takes a hard look at our reflexive beliefs--the "half-truths" we tell ourselves that are holding women back. Then she reveals the missing piece of the puzzle, a new focus that can reunite the women's movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.

With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter presents a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family.
Publisher: Toronto :, Random House Canada,, 2015
ISBN: 9780345812896
Branch Call Number: 306.36 Sla
Characteristics: 328 pages


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Mar 09, 2016

I have this book on hold, although haven't read it yet, will probably skim it - - the Library Journal gushes // The juxtaposition of her ambition and feminist ideals with the realities of marriage and child rearing \\ Great wordiness, but ignores the culpability of Slaughter, the imperialistic actions, the blood on her hands, did she aid Hillary Clinton when she established the Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs to expedite the offshoring of American jobs at the state and local levels?
Did she help in the program to hire so, so many former CIA agents into the State Department, with the support for the coup in Honduras where union and labor organizers were butchered? The overthrow of the democratically [admittedly corrupt, but isn't the US government more so, with over $12 trillion unaccounted for?????] elected government of the Ukraine, leading the the deaths of thousands of innoccents?
Wonder what all those dearly departed souls would have to say about Slaughter's child-rearing problems?!?!?!?!?!
Slaughter is president of New America, financed by the Peterson Foundation [Blackstone Group] and Pew Charitable Trusts [oil money] - - where Peter G. Peterson set up an organization promoting austerity for the 90%. Great bona fides, Slaughter!!!! [Oops! Forgot to mention she's also on David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission -- noticed they dropped Charlie Rose's name after many years with that outfit, guess it's because he's nationally syndicated now?]

Mar 09, 2016

A good rebuttal to "Lean In" and the idea that women can "have it all" if they just work harder. It makes the point that both competition AND caring are important to society, and the latter still--though not inevitably--falls primarily to women.

Nov 02, 2015

If you're married or are a single parent negotiating your job and your family's needs, this is a book for you. This is one of those big idea books that also shows you great examples and gives the reader and society a path forward. Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article for The Atlantic in 7/2012 titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." It was her response to Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In, and in it she wrote about how hard she had leaned in throughout her career, but when her oldest son was having lots of difficulties and she was in Washington DC 5 out of 7 days, she had to come home and had to transition from the her dream job into other possibilities. This book is an extension of her article, but with more research and information. Slaughter's writing is succinct, well-researched and very emotionally open about the challenges men and women face in work and family issues. A great and thoughtful read.

MaxineML Aug 28, 2015

This is a great read on a timely and necessary topic.

As a society do we overvalue ‘work’ and undervalue ‘care’? We do.
We prioritize making money over making better and more educated human beings.
We pay lip service to the idea that ‘being a mother is the hardest job,’ and then don’t pay care workers a living wage.
Companies offer paternity leaves and then encourage their male employees to not take one.

Anne-Marie Slaughter makes some excellent points about women opting out of the workforce, and not always by choice. There is a huge amount of lost knowledge and potential resources that we have in the swath of women who were not able to get back into the workforce once their children were older.

She does offer some light at the end of the tunnel with discussions on new ways to work and new workplaces that also prioritize families and care. She, wisely, also brings men into the picture and talks about the toxic perceptions of masculinity and how they create men who may want to stay home with their children, but can’t because of work and societal pressure which states that a man must bring home the bacon, and earn more than his wife.

A quibble: although Slaughter does make mention of wage issues, single parents, single mothers and wage-work, this is really a book for white-collar workers. There isn’t anything here that would help a single-parent, who has two children and two jobs and can still barely make ends meet - never mind accessing good child care. These are much large societal and policy-based issues that will not be solved by academics talking about stay-at-home dad’s, but by changes in policy and changes in the way we view low-income workers, single-mothers and child-rearing in general.

This is a great book to be added to the canon on “work-life balance”, caring for children, and perceptions of gender and work. It is fantastic to have a book like this written by such a well respected academic, and one who has the ear of many in Washington, plus the knowledge of how it works. It is encouraging to read about the policies that Hillary Clinton had in her office when she was secretary of state - it makes one hopeful for a future when a woman like that has a chance of becoming president of the United States and perhaps being able to enact change on a wholesale national level.


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MaxineML Aug 28, 2015

We have decided that raising a child is real work, and that this work provides value for the whole society.” It is only fair then, “that society as a whole should pay for this valuable service.

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