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Women & “having it all” – step 1

February 23, 2013

There have been 2-3 articles in the last few days sent to me around the topic of can women “have it all”, and why – after the 1970’s, are there still discrepencies in the balance of genders in leadership positions?

Article 1: “why women still can’t have it all” from The Atlantic. 

Article 2: the apparent failure of Sheryl Sandberg’s feminist organization efforts

 Both pieces make a foundational presumption around the “all” so many women are trying to have for themselves.

The first article frames why more women don’t wield government / policy power. Her frame of reference is a law professor in a “dream” government job writing policy for Democratic central-planning afficianados.

The second article believes women want a different kind of power – as business executives with wealth.

The two articles appear stunned more women do not define pursuit of happiness their way, although the woman in The Atlantic does conclude

… [Jefferson, in authoring the Declaration of Independence] did not declare American independence in the name of life, liberty, and professional success. 

With this comment, one author is finally getting closer to the heart of a good question. What is “happiness”, and how does it last…without feeling we must look back in regret?

We are in a bi-monthly group talking through  “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler. This week touched on Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes and learning contentment. A bit about Solomon

He has more wealth, power, and fame than you will ever, ever have. He is more educated…”

Solomon’s parties: epic even by today’s standards – between 15,000-20,000 attendees!

Solomon’s power:  He planted forests, national parks; 11,000 slaves did anything he didn’t do himself. Royalty from other nations came to him from near and far to get his insights.

Chandler writes:

The building of the houses and the pools, the planting of the gardens, the great food and wine, the lavish parties, the best bands, an abundance of women, the money and the stuff…then Solomon ran out of fantasies. ….. In the end he had done everything there is to do and he found himself back in the same place he had been … feeling that life is boring and predictable and being a little frustrated and on edge because of it.

Read that again: The most brilliant, educated, accomplished, wealthy man of that age runs out of fantasies.  Perhaps a number of women cannot break through to the next promotion, and culture is the culprit..or, perhaps “happiness” is something else entirely….

Solomon: “there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil….this is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or have enjoyment?”

Pascal’s answer: “there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remain in him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings… the infinate abyss can only be filled with an infinite and immutable object…”

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