Leading Voices in Higher Education: Anne-Marie Slaughter

Marcy H. TP'14, April 22, 2013 | 0 comments
Tags: Women in Business, advice, Clubs and Activities

A couple weeks ago Dr Anne-Marie Slaughter came to Dartmouth and gave a lecture titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All: Getting to a Place of Equal Opportunity." The lecture was part of Dartmouth's Leading Voices in Higher Education speaker series, and organized in part through Tuck's Women in Business club.

I was able to attend the lecture... just barely. I may not personally aim to climb the ranks of academia or top executive positions, but as a feminist and someone who agreed with a lot of what Dr Slaughter wrote in her now-famous piece in The Atlantic I was very excited when I saw the email announcing this lecture. I arrived at 4pm, just as the lecture was set to start (aptly enough, after rushing around to pick up my 5yo from school, get my kids ready, and drop them off with a friend so I could rush down to campus to listen in), and found Cook Auditorium packed to the GILLS! I managed to squeeze in and find myself a spot on the floor in one of the aisles. This was clearly a very popular event, with everyone from Dartmouth undergrads to Tuck business students (and, ahem, their partners) to staff and faculty in attendance.

A full house -- Cook Auditorium

In her talk, Dr Slaughter first went over the types of reactions she got from her essay, both expected and unexpected. These ranged from gratitude and relief from many working mothers, thanking her for finally admitting/talking openly about these issues; to anger from women who saw this whole conversation as a step backwards; to young men and fathers admitting that they, too, want a different work/life balance than what their fathers had. Interestingly, she noted that the types of responses seemed to align more with generation/age than gender.

From there, she went on to describe a few ideas of how to move forward.  You can watch her entire lecture online here, but below are a few of her main points (as they stood out to me):

After the lecture, WIB had arranged for a small reception and Q&A session with Dr Slaughter just for Tuck students, partners, faculty, and staff (there were about 80 of us in the room).  It was a great opportunity to have a more intimate discussion and ask personal questions. Several students brought up specific career/life challenges they are facing or anticipate, and for advice on handling them.
Private reception with the Tuck community
I feel very grateful for the chance to attend both the lecture and the reception that followed. This is such an important discussion to be having, and while I have reservations about some of Dr Slaughter's points (eg- much of the advice she puts forward assumes a two-parent household, and one in which the couple has the freedom, resources, and flexibility to allow one parent to "slow down" while the other pursues their career with full force) I do think she makes some excellent points about things that need to change in our culture for all of us to be able to move forward and have more and better choices. 

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