A Speech to the Chautauqua Institution, July 21, 2004
In the mid-1970s, I was a newly tenured faculty member in the English department at the University of California at Berkeley. Like a number of my junior colleagues, I was beginning a family and struggling with a new -- and newly fraught -- relationship to time. Preoccupied with balancing career and children, I sought advice in the places I knew best: in books, articles and journals. I take my title today from one of my touchpoints, a 1975 essay by the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, titled “Inside the Clockwork of Male Careers,” a work that had -- and still has -- a powerful impact on me.
Hochschild’s essay appeared in an early feminist anthology with the energizing title “Women and the Power to Change.” As a young, working mother, I found that its images resonated strongly with me. I remember most vividly her sense of conflict in watching a woman in a station wagon driving up to an office building in the early evening, elbow on the window, two children in the back, to pick up a man, walking briskly down the steps with a briefcase. Hochschild wrote that whenever she saw such images, something inside her ripped in half, for she was neither and both the wife in the station wagon and the husband with the briefcase.
Today such an image seems dated, not merely by the briefcase and the station wagon but by its tidy division of roles. In a contemporary scene, the husband might pick the children up from daycare in an SUV while the wife returns from the airport after a business trip. Both husband and wife play dual roles, and there is far less awkwardness and discomfort with the role of the professional woman. Yet, despite this apparent progress, it is important to recognize that the main point of Hochschild’s essay remains as salient as it was thirty years ago. Hochschild argued that our society’s conception of “the career” has embedded within it assumptions about time that form as powerful an obstacle for women as gender discrimination. In this, she conceived of time not only in a daily sense -- the juggling of tasks and responsibilities for which the waking hours of a day never seem sufficient -- but in regard to the span of years within which an individual achieves professional success.
Hochschild’s essay focused on academic careers. She began by asking why, at the University of California, in the early 1970’s, did women compose 41 percent of the entering freshmen, 37 percent of the graduating seniors, 24 percent of the doctoral students, 12 percent of the Ph.D.’s, 9 percent of the assistant professors, 6 percent of the associate professors, and 3 percent of the full professors. She offered three hypotheses for this precipitously descending spiral: that the university discriminated against women; that women are socialized to avoid success and authority and therefore, in the vernacular of the time, “cool themselves out”; and that academic careers depend upon a set of expectations that do not leave time for family life.
What I would like to do today is return to the set of questions that Hochschild asked -- not just in the context of higher education but more broadly in the context of the professions -- in order to assess women’s success in achieving gender parity. Where such parity does not exist, I will seek to determine the extent to which discrimination, lack of ambition, or Hochschild’s “clockwork of male careers” still constitute barriers to success. With a number of recent studies, books and articles as my guides, I will argue that not only the circumstances of our professional lives but also their narratives need to be transformed. In short, for women, for men, we need to re-set the clock and tell new stories of life and work.
In the past thirty years, we have seen a profound change in women’s representation in the professions. In colleges and universities, women are now 57 percent of entering students, 44 percent of Ph.D. recipients, 45 percent of assistant professors, 35 percent of associate professors, and 21 percent of full professors. Clearly, there has been progress, and the pipeline suggests that progress will continue. As recently as 1970, fewer than 10 percent of law school students were female; that number today is more than 50 percent, as it is for medical schools. However, women constitute only 36 percent of MBA students, a number that has remained largely unchanged in recent years.
The lack of parity between male and female students in these fields has major consequences in the professions. Women are 45 percent of the work force but hold only 12 percent of the jobs in science and engineering. (That figure is only 9 percent in engineering.) A recent study of science faculty in research universities found that women compose just 20 percent of the faculty in biology, 12 percent in chemistry, 10 percent in engineering, 8 percent in math, and 6.5 percent in physics. Even in fields where women have greater parity in educational attainment, they are not represented in leadership positions -- as partners in law firms, for example, or on the faculties of medical schools, in government, or in business. A study by the National Association of Law Placement found that women make up 43 percent of law firms’ staff attorneys or associates but only 17 percent of partners. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that in academic medicine only 12 percent of full professors, 8 percent of department heads, and 3 percent of deans are women. Women occupy only 14 percent of the seats in the U.S. Congress; only eight CEO slots in the Fortune 500; and only 8 percent of top-level jobs – those at the level of executive vice-president and above -- in major companies. What explains the lack of parity? Does discrimination still play a role?
The answer here is yes, although discrimination manifests itself subtly in attitudes about capacity and performance. Recent research by Smith alumna Celinda Lake, for the polling firm Lake, Snell, and Perry, finds that both men and women show a preference for men in high executive positions. Stephen Pinker’s recent book about the shaping force of biology on human nature, The Blank Slate, argues that innate biological differences explain the low percentages of women in engineering and science. In contravention of much of the conventional wisdom in higher education, Pinker argues that, to be intellectually honest, one must acknowledge that at least part of the explanation for the so-called leaky pipeline in science and engineering is that girls and women don’t prefer those fields. Or, as he puts it, “in most professions, average differences in ability are irrelevant but average differences in preferences may put the sexes on different paths.” Pinker is not dismissing the role of discrimination but rather pointing out the ways in which biology has been shown to influence choice. While some argue that sex-based differences can be used in discriminatory ways -- women must nurture because they can nurture -- Pinker also argues that to ignore sex differences is discriminatory in its own way. “One ought not to assume that the default human being is a man,” he writes, “and that children are an indulgence or accident that strikes a deviant subject.”
Despite the evidence that discrimination still operates in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, there has been much progress in the last thirty years in building the legal foundation for action against sex discrimination and in changing attitudes and practices. There is broad consensus that sex discrimination is wrong and that men and women should have equal opportunities in employment.
Much attention has gone recently to the argument that women choose not to compete. In a controversial article that appeared last fall in the New York Times magazine, headlined “The Opt-Out Revolution,” Lisa Belkin wrote that as women who were supposed to be men’s professional equals look up at the “top,” they are increasingly deciding that they don’t want to do what it takes to get there.
This statement takes us immediately to the key role of aspirations and ambitions in building a career. In her recent book Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives, Anna Fels describes the conflict she sees in women’s lives in regard to ambition. Fels argues that women find negotiating the adult stages of life problematic in ways that have no parallel in men’s lives. Brought up to nurture and to defer to others, women avoid recognition and visibility. They find it difficult to actively imagine their futures because so little is mapped out and there are so many roles from which to choose -- “innovative professional, devoted mother, competent employee, sexually attractive ‘babe,’ supportive wife, talented homemaker, independent wage earner.” As women complete their education, enter the workforce, and begin to make decisions about relationships and families, they enter a particularly fraught period, one in which they must shape their image of a life.
I disagree with Fels that women are uniquely subject to conflicts about how they imagine their futures. The years in which young people begin to shape their lives after college are far more fraught, for men and for women, than our society generally acknowledges. A raft of choices confronts them. What kind of work do I want to do? How do I weigh economic rewards in relationship to the fulfillment that the work offers me? Do I want to make a difference, and how? What social values will my life express? How do I balance family, pleasure, and work? All of us close to young people in their twenties know how urgently these questions press upon them; nonetheless, it is true that the questions women face, as Fels argues, have a particular shape and character.
In order to help women work out answers to these questions (and I think this would be helpful for men as well), we need to dispel a number of myths about ambition. Chief among these is the myth that successful ambition looks like a straight line.
Mary Catherine Bateson’s comparative study of the biographies of five women, Composing a Life, speaks eloquently of the false paradigms that distort our understanding of people’s lives. She writes: “Much biography of exceptional people is built around the image of a quest, a journey through a timeless landscape toward an end that is specific, even though it is not fully known. The pursuit of a quest is a pilgrim’s progress in which it is essential to resist the transitory contentment of attractive way stations and side roads, in which obstacles are overcome because the goal is visible on the horizon, onward and upward. The end is already apparent in the beginning.”
Bateson continues, “I believe that our aesthetic sense, whether in works of art or in lives, has over-focused on the stubborn struggle toward a single goal, rather than on the fluid, the protean, the improvisatory. We see achievement as purposeful and monolithic, like the sculpting of a massive tree trunk that has first to be brought from the forest and then shaped by long labor to assert the artist’s vision, rather than something crafted from odds and ends, like a patchwork quilt and lovingly used to warm different nights and bodies.”
Emphasizing the fluid and the improvisatory does not mean abandoning the role of intention and design. We want strenuously to avoid the myth that a life and a career are random, shaped by forces out of our control, and therefore not worth pursuing with deliberation and ambition. This spring, when the Smith College Class of 1954 came to campus to celebrate its 50th reunion, I was struck by how many alumnae vividly remembered the commencement speech they had heard 50 years earlier. Since I don’t find commencement speeches to be a particularly memorable genre, I was moved to look this one up. The speaker was the celebrated broadcaster and journalist Alistair Cooke, and what he told the graduates that stayed with them for fifty years was this: that the most significant event in their lives would be their marriage. He described it in these words: “At this moment, ridiculous though it may seem, the fortune of many of you here is being decided by anonymous young men who are packing their bags in New Haven, Connecticut, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in Williamstown, Princeton, New Jersey, even perhaps in Grinnell, Iowa, or the Marine Laboratory in La Jolla, California.” What is remarkable in this statement is the absence of agency in the future Cooke envisioned for the young women he addressed, even in the single, domestic sphere he imagined for them. Cooke’s speech stayed with the class of ’54 because, despite Cooke’s predictions, they had managed to shape lives in exactly Bateson’s sense, crafting them from choices and opportunities to display what ultimately became a rich patchwork pattern.
Many years ago, I had an experience teaching a seminar in Jane Austen that has become symbolic to me of the very simplification that Cooke’s speech represented to these Smith alumnae. I was talking about the design of Jane Austen’s plots, specifically about the way in which they must offer multiple possibilities for the heroine’s fortune, creating the illusion of freedom, while making the marriage that ends the novel the inevitable and perfect resolution whose design, in retrospect, seems implicit from the beginning. A young woman in the front row eagerly raised her hand. “I know just what you mean,” she said. “If I knew who I was going to marry, everything in my life would be clear.” It’s easy to laugh at her naiveté, but embedded in it is an assumption about the design of life’s narratives that reinforces Bateson’s point: that we need more complex, multiform stories that do not pose professional success and satisfying family lives as mutually exclusive paths, like Robert Frost’s two roads diverging in a yellow wood. We must counter the myth that balance and success are not compatible, that the so-called Mommy track will never lead to stations on the express line.
Our culture is now struggling to compose narratives that reflect the complexity of women’s commitments to career and family. I’ve already mentioned some of the ways in which writers present women’s choices -- the Mommy track, the opt-out revolution. Much that has been published recently represents women’s situation as an either/or choice -- between, on the one hand, a male norm, in which relentless, uninterrupted dedication to an ambitious career goal leads to success, and, on the other hand, near-total rejection of the workplace, in order to give children care and nurture. Not surprisingly, this bifurcation does not serve women well. Our working lives today are far longer than the time spent in raising children. Many of us work for forty to fifty years; we will not spend that much time in the raising of our children, even by the most generous construction.
Women need not feel that they are rejecting ambition when they apportion time differently while raising children. We must reject the myth that balance and success are not compatible. At the same time, as Smith Professor Meredith Michaels points out in a new book, The Mommy Myth, that women need not feel that anything less than “intensive mothering” -- a media-championed, 24/7, single-minded focus on childrearing -- somehow represents a disloyal, selfish or unnatural choice. We must reject the fallacy that a balanced life is not a sign of a successful career.
Indeed, the noted psychologist Rosalind Barnett has demonstrated in numerous studies the positive effects of family relationships and roles on career success, as well as the invigorating role of career experiences on family life. “Multiple roles are, in general, beneficial for both women and men,” she has written, “as reflected in mental health, physical health, and relationship health. Adding the worker role is beneficial to women, and adding or participating in family roles is beneficial for men.” She also points out, significantly, that “strong commitment to one role does not preclude strong commitment to the other.”
As we seek new narratives of our professional lives, we must also reject the myth that to be a successful woman you can’t be a woman at all, that you must sacrifice your desire to have children, and that you must assimilate to a male culture, one that measures career success by competition, not cooperation. Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s recent book, Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children, helps sustain this myth by her account of the anguished quest of older professional women “to snatch a child,” in her words, “from the jaws of menopause.” As long as we define choices in such stark terms, we will always see women as opting out, as choosing a different track. We need to question both terms of this dichotomy.
This brings me back to Hochschild’s phrase, “the clockwork of male careers.” What is that clockwork? It has two dimensions. The first makes its claim on the hours of the day. Jobs that provide entry to the most prestigious professions -- untenured faculty positions, medical residencies, entry positions in law and finance firms -- have notoriously long hours. You prove your worth by the time you invest. The heavy commitment of daily time, in Hochschild’s analysis, leads to advancement along a linear career path, the pilgrim’s progress that Bateson conjured, on which relative achievement is measured by age: a full professor by 32, a partner by 36, a CEO by 40. Because age so often provides an important measure of success, competition takes the form of working longer and harder than the next person.
Such a pursuit depends upon the work of others to care for home and family. Women climbing up the career ladder often joke, “I need a wife.” Hochschild showed the way in which the structure of the male career depends on what she referred to as “small branch industries,” the work of home and family subcontracted to a wife. She argued that the classic image of a career is cut to the profile of a traditional man with a traditional wife. In spite of all of the changes in women’s lives in the past three decades, there is ample evidence to suggest that we have not sufficiently challenged this model. It is still the case, as Hochschild argued, that the total situation, is often perceived as “a woman’s problem, her role conflict,” as if we could separate the conflict from the career system itself, the rules for which have been constructed to fit the patterns of the lives of men with wives at home.
In this system, time, for women, becomes a scarce commodity, a rare gem that one hoards. When I had my first child, I felt I was undergoing a crisis in my relationship to time. I could no longer control my use of it; I could no longer work at something until I was finished. In my obsessive reading about career and family, one of my favorite finds was titled Help! A Handbook for Working Mothers. The hysteria in its title reflected my own, and the absurdity of its advice finally helped me understand how I needed to change my relationship to time.
The book counseled the working mother to keep a pad of paper at her bedside, and right before going to sleep, to write out a plan for the next day. It advised leaving an hour each day, unscheduled, for spontaneity or emergencies. I worried about this a lot. What if you had already used your hour for spontaneity, and an emergency came up? What if an emergency took more than an hour? I realized I had to give up my obsession with planning and control and to live, paradoxically, both more in the moment, and more for the future, with an adjusted clock and a long-range sense of aspirations and goals.
Back in 1975, Hochschild argued that without changing the structure of the male career and what she described as its imperial relationship to the family, mothers would not move far up in careers nor would fathers share the load at home. Sylvia Hewlett cites disheartening statistics: almost 33 percent of high-achieving women are childless at age 40; the figure rises to 42 percent in corporate America and 49 percent among women earning more than $100,000 a year. Hewlett does not want to challenge the choices of women who elect not to have children, and neither do I; rather, she is concerned about the sacrifices of women who do want children but have been unable to negotiate the conflict between career and family.
As did Hochschild, Hewlett argues that we must change the structure of the career itself to better accommodate the balance between work and family. The changes, I believe, need to be of two sorts. One set of changes would address the daily time demands of many professions. We not only need part-time jobs; we need part-time jobs at high levels that allow for professional advancement. It has long puzzled me that some fields -- law, medicine, and finance come most readily to mind -- have at once greater demand for high-level jobs than job opportunities and excessive work hours. Increasing the number of jobs would both create more professional opportunities and improve the quality of employees’ lives.
Hewlett writes about the perverse incentives in what she calls our “long-hours culture.” In most companies, she observes, management feels intense pressure to use its professional workforce as many hours a week as possible, since there are no marginal costs attached to such labor. Professional employees are not paid overtime, and they do not receive increased benefits when they work more hours. Managers can encourage long workweeks by basing promotions, explicitly or implicitly, on number of hours worked. Hewlett proposes changing the incentives in this system by reducing the percentage of employees who are exempt from overtime and adopting benefits plans that peg benefits to numbers of hours worked.
The other set of changes important to implement pertain to the trajectory of careers. A number of fields share the assumption that you must remain singly and consistently engaged in your chosen career in order to achieve a high level of success. Instead, we need to encourage careers in which people can take time off, or work part-time for a period of years, and not sacrifice the opportunity to advance. Hewlett refers to the work of policy analyst Nancy Rankin, who compares careers to highways and recommends that we develop at least as many on-ramps as off-ramps. Some that Hewlett recommends are the following: career breaks, which would allow employees, female and male, to take unpaid, job-protected leave and return to work; alumni status, which would allow employees to preserve their ties to companies and professions; and tax breaks for education that would facilitate career re-entry. In addition, employers can be more supportive of employees’ family needs by offering paid parenting leave, telecommuting, and compressed workweeks.
This all seems to make sense and yet, as I travel around the country and the world and talk with successful women about the need to change the time commitments expected in various careers, I have been surprised at the amount of resistance I’ve encountered. Current work arrangements, many argue, suit companies’ needs best; corporations would sacrifice an important competitive advantage if they were to do things differently. High-level jobs demand 24/7 commitment. The “truisms” abound.
Assumptions like these echo with dismaying similarity the very constraints that Arlie Hochschild struggled against 30 years ago. Until we successfully challenge them, we will remain caught, unsuccessfully, inside the clockwork of male careers.
Not surprisingly, such a clockwork results in considerable economic loss for women. A recent New York Times column reported findings by economists Stephen J. Rose and Heidi Hartmann on women’s earning power. Challenging the latest Census Bureau report that women now earn 77 percent of what men earn, Rose and Hartmann showed that this measure substantially overstates what women earn over time. Traditional measures of the gender wage gap track only those women who work full-time for a year. Because women work far fewer hours than men and because they often drop out of the workforce to care for children, they wind up earning only 38 percent of what men do, when their earnings are tracked over a fifteen-year period. But hours alone do not account for all of the discrepancy. Rose’s and Hartmann’s analysis shows continuing evidence of gender segregation in each tier of the labor market. They argue that these tendencies are self-reinforcing. Because wives earn less, they are more likely to give up their jobs for child care. They also take lower-paying part-time jobs to be free for family responsibilities. This creates a labor pool that businesses can exploit. To address such problems, Rose and Hartmann make recommendations that reinforce Hewlett’s: paid family leave, jobs with more flexible hours, and a greater commitment to quality day care.
But policies are not the only things we need to change. At the same time, we have to change the stories we tell about peoples’ professional lives. If our story is the opt-out revolution, if our story is the Mommy track, then we reinforce the idea that this is a problem of individual women and individual choices. I find the reception of Hewlett’s book particularly interesting in this regard. As I’ve mentioned, Hewlett argues for a far-reaching set of policy changes, on the part of businesses and of the government, in order to build a new clockwork for women’s careers. And yet, this is how Publisher’s Weekly describes the book: “In this study of baby lust, Hewlett portrays the anguished hand-wringing by middle-aged women who were career-obsessed throughout their 20s and 30s, only to wake up single at 40, biological clocks all petered out.”
In this summary review, and others, Hewlett’s policy proposals drop out, and we only hear the story of anguished women, caught in a Procrustean dilemma: shape your life in conformity to the clockwork of the male career and you will sacrifice your hopes for marriage and children.
We need to tell different stories, stories like those that Mary Catherine Bateson encourages, of the ways women compose lives with different shapes. Madeleine Albright’s recent autobiography, Madam Secretary, provides an example. Marrying right after graduation, she held two entry-level jobs -- as a reporter for a small daily paper and as assistant to the picture editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica -- before the arrival of her first children (twins, born just two years after her marriage). She then did not hold a full-time paying job for fifteen years, although she was hardly idle, earning a master’s and a doctorate and volunteering in numerous capacities. However, she was 39 years old before she began the sequence of positions that ultimately led to her becoming secretary of state. Although one might assume from the title Madame Secretary and the powerful picture of Albright on the dust jacket that her life story falls into the mythic pattern that Bateson describes of stubborn struggle toward a single goal, it has more the character, in Bateson’s terms, of the fluid and the improvisatory.
Stories like this help women, for they do not represent ambitious career goals as a Hobson’s choice -- adapt yourself to the male model or give them up. Perhaps the greater flexibility available in running your own business explains why women have been so much more successful in becoming entrepreneurs than in becoming corporate leaders. According to the Census Bureau, women-owned companies now compose 26 percent of the privately owned firms in this country, up from about 5 percent in 1972.
Clearly, we need new definitions of success and ambition, and we need the policy changes that support them. Such changes will benefit companies as well as employees. The most important competition among businesses is for talent. A 1999 study by McKinsey & Company concludes that “the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be human capital -- specifically the education, skills, and experience embodied in talented professionals.” As Hewlett observes, losing skilled personnel is enormously expensive; estimates of the cost range from 93 percent to 200 percent of the departing person’s salary. In the academic world, for example, start-up costs for a new faculty member are at least in that range without even considering the costs of a search. Replacing people is expensive. Turnover involves other losses as well -- contacts, relationships, organizational history. Businesses of all kinds cannot afford to lose the battle to recruit and retain half of the workforce talent. Family-friendly policies are good business, and gender diversity in the workplace pays. A 2004 study by Catalyst found that companies with the highest percentage of women on their senior management teams had a 35 percent higher return on investment and a 34 percent higher total return to shareholders than those with the lowest representation of women
Family-friendly policies also benefit men. Hewlett asks the reader to imagine what a “normal workweek” of 50 to 60 hours means for individuals. With a commute and a lunch hour, the workday stretches almost thirteen hours. What kind of life outside of work does that allow either men or women? How can men share in the care and raising of their children with expectations like these? In lobbying for changes in employment policies, women and men must be allies.
What can colleges, and specifically women’s colleges, do to change the clockwork of professional careers? Research shows that women’s colleges are particularly effective in producing leaders. Graduates of women’s colleges occupy today far more leadership positions than would be expected given their numbers. Although the graduates from women’s colleges represent only 2 percent of all female college graduates, they constitute more than 20 percent of women in Congress, and 30 percent of a Business Week list of rising women stars in corporate America. The figures for math and science are particularly impressive. Undergraduates at women’s colleges major in economics, math, and life science in larger percentages than do male undergraduates at coed colleges. Compared to women at a coeducational institutions, they are three times more likely to earn a degree in economics and one-and-one-half times more likely to earn degrees in life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics. They continue toward doctorates in math, science and engineering in disproportionately large numbers. The National Science Foundation keeps a ranking of the top 50 producers of women recipients of bachelor’s degrees that go on to earn doctoral degrees in science and engineering. Note that this is a ranking by numbers of graduates, not percentages, so it gives the advantage to large institutions. There are only five undergraduate colleges in that list; four of them are women’s colleges. The striking success that women’s colleges have demonstrated in producing scientists suggests an opportunity for women’s colleges in engineering education. Smith has just begun an engineering program; this past May we graduated our first class: the first all-women class of engineers ever to graduate from a U.S. college.
Women’s colleges are remarkably effective in educating scientists and in producing leaders because they provide a culture all of whose elements work together to reinforce a single message: that women’s voices matter. When I travel around the country talking to Smith alumnae, I often ask what they learned or experienced at Smith that has had the most powerful shaping influence upon their lives. The answer I get is almost always the same: confidence in my own capacities, the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to.
As one of her final projects as president of Duke University, Nan Keohane last year commissioned a study of the status of women at the university. The most controversial conclusion of the study -- a conclusion that has spurred nationwide debate -- is that women undergraduates at Duke (and, by extension, at other high-level, coeducational colleges) feel pressure to conform to an ideal of “effortless perfection,” a culturally reinforced belief that they should be “smart, accomplished, beautiful, and popular” -- all without visible effort. In response to this finding, Duke, which closed its women’s college in 1972, has created a leadership program for women that attempts to duplicate some of the benefits of -- yes, you guessed it -- a women’s college.
Women’s colleges have long emphasized their records in educating women for leadership. But they have given less prominence to the set of issues that I have been discussing today -- the clockwork of the career. We must take this on. If the first feminist revolution was about equity, and the second feminist revolution was about aspiration, the third is surely about the structure of careers.
At the beginning of June, Smith and Mount Holyoke hosted a conference of women’s college presidents from around the world. Educational leaders came from Korea, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, France; every continent but South America was represented. Before the conference, presidents were asked to identify the three most important challenges facing them. By far the most frequent answer was “women and work.” Presidents’ concerns about this topic varied, but many agreed strongly with one of my French colleagues that we needed an innovative restructuring of employment practices to accommodate a more diversified workforce.
College and young adulthood is a time of reinvention, of re-imprinting. We need to help our students and young people, particularly young women, imagine new narratives for themselves that do not undermine ambition with a false sense of choice. We need to talk about balance and the need for balance. Women often repeat the joke about Ginger Rogers -- that she did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. It’s time to walk forward in flat shoes, in the same direction as our partners, arguing for policies that allow us all more capacious and humane lives. With different responsibilities for family, we need to invent a new clockwork that keeps time for families as well as careers.