Have it all: Can we, can’t we? Not if the decisions we make are final
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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has just given birth to her first child. Already, her plan to return to work within a couple of weeks has fired up plenty of forums on whether it is the "wrong" or "right" decision to make.
The fact a Fortune 500 CEO was pregnant when she took the top job has also continued to provoke this year's hottest question: Can women really "have it all"?
According to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, one of the globe's most powerful woman, when it comes to career and family "having it all" is not a given. Even for those with the cash, power and ability to take advantage of workplace flexibility.
At least it's not a given if women expect to "have it all" without failure. And not if they want to "have it all" at the same time.
"You must accept there will be failures," she told NBC television last week. "I think you can, in a way, have it all as long as you can afford to be patient."
Cherie Blair QC, barrister and wife of former British PM, was a little more positive about the idea but echoed Lagarde's comments. She told a US program that women can "have it all" just as long as it's spaced out, over time.
"I always say myself that you've got to look at this in the context of a career span which is 40 or 50 years," Blair said.
"There are times when you can't have it all in the sense when you can't go full out on your career and full out on bringing up young children, but that span is such a small part of a lifetime's career that I do say that women can have it all, spaced out, over their career."
Part of the challenge is the fact that a decision to go all in on family or all in on career, is too frequently seen as one that's final.
Women need to be able to make decisions that suit how they want to manage their family and career, without one or the other being a decision that will forever determine their entire career span.
Mayer made a decision, but it's not one that needs to define how she forever continues to navigate between parenting and career.
Other women may decide to make a completely different decision altogether. And just like Mayer, they shouldn't have to feel trapped with their choice.
The real question is whether we're set up – in the workplace and at home – to allow women to have different aspects of "it all", at different times during the entire span of their careers. Is it possible for women to opt in and out of going the full career hog when they actually choose?
Or does a lack of workplace flexibility make "having it all" impossible, well before women can even consider such an option? Have your say below.Click here to watch Cherie Blair's interview on Viewpoint