WOMEN
07/23/2013 04:10 pm ET

Why Anne-Marie Slaughter Thinks We Need A 'Men's Movement'

AP

When Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote the now-iconic piece "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" for The Atlantic a year ago, she had no idea she'd launch a full-blown cultural discussion about the way women handle work-life integration.

But Slaughter's thoughts on "having it all" didn't end with a single, widely-read article. Since the piece was published last year, Slaughter has been working on a forthcoming book and has spoken publicly at high-profile events like TEDGlobal and South By Southwest. But while her work has continued, her original focus has shifted slightly: instead of focusing solely on women's progress (and shortcomings) at work and home, Slaughter is now calling for a "men's movement."

She told Kira Cochrane of The Guardian:

I really think we need a men's movement, and you're starting to see it. Guys are starting to speak up for themselves about masculinity, about care-giving. You know, women are hypocrites this way, because we would go crazy if men treated us in the workforce the way we typically treat them at home -- if a guy in the workforce assumed he was more competent than you are, and told you what to do -- but that's the way most women treat men in the household.

Slaughter has spoken out about including men in this conversation before. In April, Slaughter wrote a piece for The Atlantic about the importance of giving men a greater say in and responsibility over domestic affairs. And in March Slaughter stressed to the audience at her South By Southwest panel that it becomes much easier to discuss a gendered division of labor, "If we start to frame the problem less in terms of men and women and instead start thinking about caretakers and bread-winners."

So how -- considering that recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, on average, 48 percent of women do housework (as opposed to 20 percent of men), and 82 percent of women (as opposed to 65 percent of men) spend time each day on financial and other household management tasks -- does Slaughter expect a "men's movement" to come about?

In the same Guardian interview, Slaughter pointed to highly visible men like Brad Pitt and Barack Obama as role models for other working fathers. She also suggested that the phrase "working dad" become normalized, and would like to see people ask expecting fathers, "How are you going to manage that?" "The fact that nobody says it -- sends the signal [to his partner]: 'This baby is all yours,'" Slaughter told Cochrane. And when it comes to creating equality in the office or at home, partnership is paramount.

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