Having It All

04.04.13

Anne-Marie Slaughter to Head New America Foundation

Maybe work-life balance can be found at a D.C. think tank.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department official and Princeton professor who made waves with her Atlantic piece on work-life balance, is heading back to Washington, D.C., to lead the New America Foundation. The think tank's last president, Steve Coll, left to become the new dean of Columbia's journalism school this fall.

Slaughter set off a national debate about women and work last year with her Atlantic Monthly cover story entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” In it, Slaughter detailed how parenting demands convinced her to leave her demanding Foggy Bottom job, despite “prevailing social pressures” that frown upon career women stepping down from a position of power—and slammed the “cliches that I and many other women typically fall back on when younger women ask us how we have managed to ‘have it all.’” (Among them: It’s possible if you are just committed enough, marry the right person, and “sequence it right.”). Her takeaway:

“Having it all, at least for me, depended almost entirely on what type of job I had. The flip side is the harder truth: having it all was not possible in many types of jobs, including high government office—at least not for very long.”

The article prompted a furious backlash—including a brief spat between Slaughter and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose Lean In strategy had been listed among the article’s half-truths—and an avalanche of opinion about everything from paternity leave to female ambition.