It should come as no surprise, really, that this is a post I intended to write weeks ago. I picked up Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter looking for something to add to my daily life as mom-librarian, but I came away with so much more.
Anne-Marie Slaughter starts her book the same way I should start this post. First, I’m thankful that this is a book that I felt compelled to read. I have a great job with benefits, a supportive partner and access to quality childcare.
And yet, there are many days (ahem, all of them, ahem) when I feel like I am barely keeping it all together. And…I’m pretty sure I am not alone.
But as I read through the book I got a better, bigger perspective on the issue of women, work and family. (Want a short preview? Check out her article in The Atlantic from 2012.)
Here are a few things that continue to resonate with me:
- It isn’t just gender that leads to a wage inequality between men and women. It’s motherhood! (p. 54)
- Let’s start reframing the conversation by changing our vocabulary. Drop “stay-at-home parent” and use “lead parent” instead. Talking about “working fathers” as much as you do “working mothers.” (p. 183)
- When, as Slaughter relates, women choose a work path that allows them more flexibility or time at home, they are “stepping back” and made to feel inferior for their choices. Enough, already! (p. xx)
- Why do we as a society undervalue the role of caretakers? According to Slaughter, while the median salary of childcare workers is under 20,000 a year, families with two children in daycare centers pay more on childcare than on rent. On rent! (p. 235)
- As we work to reframe conversations in society, take a look at decisions same sex couples make about caregiving and breadwinning (p. 77). When gender stereotypes are removed from the equation, what choices are made and why?
- Slaughter includes a shortlist of situations that would be great to discuss with a life partner prior to facing caregiving situations. YES! Talk about these things before you both are due at work for “big presentations” and your child still isn’t well enough to go back to daycare. (p. 200)
- As a manager, I read this book and thought — how do we create family friendly schedules while also recognizing the changing needs of our customers? When both sides need flexibility and consistency–where do we meet?
- How can workplaces provide professional opportunities to people working part-time? I have experience and education, but I’m unsure a part-time position exists to match.
- Why does everything have to be ALL OR NOTHING?
Do I have any answers? Nope. Do I have a lot more questions? Yep.
I’ve suggested this book to friends and strangers since I read several weeks ago. Have you read it? Do you have any answers for these questions? Let me know!
This book has value to anyone–regardless of gender or child status! If you haven’t read it, or want a copy to keep at your desk (no matter where that desk is located) enter our giveaway to win: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/