We Need to Tell Girls They Can Have It All

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Posted July 6, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

When Gayle Tzemach Lemmon speaks, I listen. And so should you. Recently, we introduced you to her TED Talk, one of the absolute best TED Talks we’ve ever seen and truly a battle cry for women everywhere to be “Examples, Not Exceptions.” Her advice is steadfast, her perspective is refreshing, and she truly has a handle on what women must do to get ahead and change the landscape.

Lemmon’s new article in The Atlantic is revolutionary. She posits that we need to tell our next generation, our little girls that they can have it all – even if we believe they can’t. That we should tell these little girls they absolutely can be everything and anything they want to be, even if our judgement and feelings are colored by the fact that we’re frustrated by our own fears and difficulties.

Powerfully, she says:

The reality is that many young women (and, for that matter, older women) still see ambition as a dirty word. It’s a word they whisper conspiratorially to the like-minded, not proudly shout out loud. And this is a problem for all of us, because we need their drive and aspirations in a world where women account for less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, 20 percent of Congress, and 15 percent of major firms’ board members and still make up a scare minority at most gatherings where real power is centered.

So let them be ambitious, these little girls, and encourage them to want to have families if that’s what they so desire. Give them the tools to succeed and the love to spread and the belief, from their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts, and their teachers that “having it all” is not only possible, but admirable.

Read the rest of Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s incredible article at The Atlantic by clicking here.


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is the author of "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works" and a career expert who believes in order to be empowered in your career, you must be surrounded with resources and a network that both supports and challenges you. Marcy began her own networking journey as a professional fundraiser in the nonprofit industry, honed those skills as a fundraising consultant, and in 2012 networked her way to nearly 1 million readers as the CEO of the professional development website Career Girl Network.

One Comment


  1.  
    Katy

    Thanks for posting this! I think she is right on the mark: if we tell girls that they can’t have it all, we are 1. Implicitly telling them that they should want what society thinks they should want, and 2. Focusing their attention on imagined, down-the-road problems that distract from their career ambitions. Could it be that talking about work-life-balance too soon funnels women into a path of decreased career ambition?





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