03/17/2014 10:45 am ET Updated Mar 19, 2014

Anne-Marie Slaughter: 'Can We All Have It All?'

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't believe that equality between the sexes was an important goal -- and that here in the U.S., we have a lot of work to do before it's achieved. Princeton professor and public policy thinker Anne-Marie Slaughter, however, questions if we're using the correct platform to judge what equality actually entails.

In a June 2013 TED Talk, Slaughter poignantly dissects what it means to be equal and how the U.S. is going about it the wrong way. While attaining equality in the workplace is undoubtedly important, Slaughter maintains that it's only half of the conversation.

She argues that breadwinning and caregiving must be valued equivalently in order to achieve full gender equality: "I suggest that real equality, full equality, does not just mean valuing women on male terms. It means creating a much wider range of equally respected choices for women and for men."

Slaughter's talk makes it clear that work and family problems are not two separate issues divided by gender. As Slaughter suggests: "If family comes first, work does not come second -- life comes together."

Second-wave feminism taught women to believe that their place is not only in the home, opening up many more choices and opportunities for half of the population. However, the idea that men can only derive self-worth from being breadwinners in the workplace has not changed, which leaves little room for either gender's assigned "roles" to advance.

Real equality means recognizing that the work that women have traditionally done is just as important as the work that men have traditionally done -- no matter who does it,” Slaughter says. In order for true equality to be achieved, both genders need to evolve.



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