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Women Who Don’t Have Anything Close to 'It All' | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Women Who Don’t Have Anything Close to 'It All'

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here. 

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first women to head policy planning in the State Department, has set the punditry buzzing with her Atlantic cover story, “Why Women Still Can't Have it All,” on the pressures felt by successful professional women.  

Women with high-powered careers competing for leadership roles while raising a family face harsh and conflicting pressures, as Slaughter details. But the stark reality is that most working mothers face far more daunting obstacles simply trying to keep their families afloat. And with advertisers geared to young affluents, celebrating a lifestyle that few can afford, the reality of most working mothers is too seldom discussed in the media.

Last week, as the New York Times featured Slaughter’s article on its front page, Greg Kaufmann, in his weekly Nation blog about poverty, told the story of Adriana Vasquez, a 37-year-old single mother of three working as a janitor in Houston, Texas. She is tasked with cleaning twenty-four bathrooms on eleven floors of an office building, five hours a day, five days a week. She literally sprints to be able to finish her work on time. For this, she is paid $8.35 an hour, and she and her colleagues average $8,684 per year.

This is the reality that faces millions of working women.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here. 

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