In the piece, Slaughter destroys the popular myth that women today can “have it all”-- meaning, simultaneously successful careers and families-- without significant changes in our social and economic structure that would allow a healthy work-life balance for women and their families. Yet, often women, themselves, are responsible for perpetuating the “myth” that this work-life balance is achievable.
It is easy to understand why women would continue this fiction. We constantly urge that women can do everything as well as men-- that, given the opportunity, women have every ability to be as successful as their male counterparts.
What is ignored, however, is that the cost of achieving this is often one’s personal and family life. Our current society is structured so that there is a tradeoff-- you are either a good professional or a good parent. As Slaughter states,
Male leaders are routinely praised for having sacrificed their personal life on the altar of public or corporate service. That sacrifice, of course, typically involves their family....It is clear which set of choices society values more today. Workers who put their careers first are typically rewarded; workers who choose their families are overlooked, disbelieved, or accused of unprofessionalism.