Debora Spar, Barnard President, Says Women Can’t Have It All — And Shouldn’t Even Try

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I remember in undergrad when my girlfriends and I would talk for hours about our future fabulous lives that were soon coming but still far enough in the distance where we could still dream big about every detail. Now that we’ve graduated and entered the workforce, or returned to school for post-graduate degrees the conversation has leaned to, how exactly are we going to lead these fabulous lives (with the job, husband, and children) that before seemed obtainable now seems like a mirage.

–In her new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, Debora Spar persuasively argues that despite all the gains women have made in the past 30 years, they simply can’t “have it all.” Drawing on extensive research, knowledge she’s gleaned as president of Barnard college — where she says she observes young women striving for perfection every day — as well as her own experience as a mother of three children and a former professor at Harvard Business School, Spar, 50, calls on all women to “kill the myths” that make them feel inadequate.

“Feminism,” Spar says, “was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we feel we can do anything, we feel we have to do everything.”

Debora Spar visited the Huffington Post recently to talk about how workplaces dominated by men are different than those run by women, why having male mentors can be crucial for a woman’s success, and why, though it’s hard to resist, you shouldn’t always be friends with your coworkers.– (Excerpt from original article)

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