Let’s make the feminist revolution a humanist revolution.
So my moment of truthdid not come all at once.In 2010, I had the chance to be consideredfor promotion from my jobas director of policy planningat the U.S. State Department.This was my moment to lean in,to push myself forwardfor what are really only a handfulof the very top foreign policy jobs, and I had just finished a big, 18-month projectfor Secretary Clinton, successfully,and I knew I could handle a bigger job.
0:49The woman I thought I waswould have said yes.But I had been commuting for two yearsbetween Washington and Princeton, New Jersey,where my husband and my two teenage sons lived,and it was not going well.I tried on the idea of eking out another two yearsin Washington, or maybe uprooting my sonsfrom their school and my husband from his workand asking them to join me.But deep down, I knewthat the right decision was to go home,even if I didn't fully recognize the womanwho was making that choice.
1:32That was a decision based on loveand responsibility.I couldn't keep watching my oldest sonmake bad choiceswithout being able to be there for himwhen and if he needed me.But the real change came more gradually.Over the next year,while my family was righting itself,I started to realizethat even if I could go back into government,I didn't want to.I didn't want to miss the last five yearsthat my sons were at home.I finally allowed myself to acceptwhat was really most important to me,not what I was conditioned to wantor maybe what I conditioned myself to want,and that decision led to a reassessmentof the feminist narrative that I grew up withand have always championed.
2:37I am still completely committedto the cause of male-female equality,but let's think about what that equality really means,and how best to achieve it.I always accepted the ideathat the most respected and powerful peoplein our society are men at the top of their careers,so that the measure of male-female equalityought to be how many women are in those positions:prime ministers, presidents, CEOs, directors, managers, Nobel laureates, leaders.I still think we should do everything we possibly canto achieve that goal.But that's only half of real equality,and I now think we're never going to get there unless we recognize the other half.I suggest that real equality,full equality,does not just mean valuing womenon male terms.It means creating a much wider rangeof equally respected choicesfor women and for men.And to get there, we have to change our workplaces,our policies and our culture.
4:11In the workplace,real equality means valuing familyjust as much as work,and understanding that the two reinforce each other.As a leader and as a manager,I have always acted on the mantra,if family comes first,work does not come second --life comes together.If you work for me, and you have a family issue,I expect you to attend to it,and I am confident,and my confidence has always been borne out,that the work will get done, and done better.Workers who have a reason to get hometo care for their children or their family membersare more focused, more efficient,more results-focused.And breadwinners who are also caregivershave a much wider rangeof experiences and contacts.Think about a lawyer who spends part of his timeat school events for his kidstalking to other parents.He's much more likely to bring innew clients for his firmthan a lawyer who never leaves his office.And caregiving itselfdevelops patience --a lot of patience --and empathy, creativity, resilience, adaptability. Those are all attributes that are ever more importantin a high-speed, horizontal,networked global economy.
5:47The best companies actually know this.The companies that win awardsfor workplace flexibility in the United Statesinclude some of our most successful corporations,and a 2008 national studyon the changing workforceshowed that employeesin flexible and effective workplacesare more engaged with their work,they're more satisfied and more loyal,they have lower levels of stressand higher levels of mental health.And a 2012 study of employersshowed that deep, flexible practicesactually lowered operating costsand increased adaptabilityin a global service economy.
6:31So you may thinkthat the privileging of work over familyis only an American problem.Sadly, though, the obsession with workis no longer a uniquely American disease.Twenty years ago,when my family first started going to Italy,we used to luxuriate in the culture of siesta.Siesta is not just about avoiding the heat of the day.It's actually just as muchabout embracing the warmth of a family lunch.Now, when we go, fewer and fewer businessesclose for siesta,reflecting the advance of global corporationsand 24-hour competition.So making a place for those we loveis actually a global imperative.
7:22In policy terms,real equality means recognizingthat the work that women have traditionally doneis just as importantas the work that men have traditionally done,no matter who does it.Think about it: Breadwinning and caregivingare equally necessary for human survival.At least if we get beyond a barter economy,somebody has to earn an incomeand someone else has to convert that incometo care and sustenance for loved ones.
7:59Now most of you, when you hear metalk about breadwinning and caregiving,instinctively translate those categoriesinto men's work and women's work.And we don't typically challengewhy men's work is advantaged.But consider a same-sex couplelike my friends Sarah and Emily.They're psychiatrists.They got married five years ago,and now they have two-year-old twins.They love being mothers,but they also love their work,and they're really good at what they do.So how are they going to divide upbreadwinning and caregiving responsibilities?Should one of them stop workingor reduce hours to be home?Or should they both change their practicesso they can have much more flexible schedules?And what criteria should they useto make that decision?Is it who makes the most moneyor who is most committed to her career?Or who has the most flexible boss?
9:03The same-sex perspective helps us seethat juggling work and familyare not women's problems, they're family problems.And Sarah and Emily are the lucky ones,because they have a choiceabout how much they want to work.Millions of men and womenhave to be both breadwinners and caregivers just to earn the income they need,and many of those workers are scrambling.They're patching together care arrangementsthat are inadequateand often actually unsafe.If breadwinning and caregiving are really equal,then why shouldn't a governmentinvest as much in an infrastructure of careas the foundation of a healthy societyas it invests in physical infrastructureas the backbone of a successful economy?
10:01The governments that get it --no surprises here --the governments that get it,Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands,provide universal child care,support for caregivers at home,school and early childhood education,protections for pregnant women,and care for the elderly and the disabled.Those governments invest in that infrastructurethe same way they invest in roads and bridgesand tunnels and trains.Those societies also show youthat breadwinning and caregivingreinforce each other.They routinely rank among the top 15 countriesof the most globally competitive economies,but at the same time,they rank very high on the OECD Better Life Index.In fact, they rank higher than other governments,like my own, the U.S., or Switzerland,that have higher average levels of incomebut lower rankings on work-life balance.
11:14So changing our workplacesand building infrastructures of carewould make a big difference,but we're not going to get equally valued choicesunless we change our culture,and the kind of cultural change requiredmeans re-socializing men.Increasingly in developed countries,women are socialized to believe that our placeis no longer only in the home,but men are actually still where they always were.Men are still socialized to believethat they have to be breadwinners,that to derive their self-worthfrom how high they can climb over other menon a career ladder.The feminist revolution still has a long way to go.It's certainly not complete.But 60 years after"The Feminine Mystique" was published,many women actually havemore choices than men do.We can decide to be a breadwinner, a caregiver, or any combination of the two.When a man, on the other hand,decides to be a caregiver, he puts his manhood on the line.His friends may praise his decision,but underneath, they're scratching their heads.Isn't the measure of a manhis willingness to compete with other menfor power and prestige?And as many women hold that view as men do.We know that lots of womenstill judge the attractiveness of a manbased in large part on how successful he isin his career.A woman can drop out of the work forceand still be an attractive partner.For a man, that's a risky proposition.So as parents and partners,we should be socializing our sonsand our husbandsto be whatever they want to be,either caregivers or breadwinners.We should be socializing them to make caregivingcool for guys.
13:38I can almost hear lots of you thinking, "No way."But in fact, the change is actually already happening. At least in the United States,lots of men take pride in cooking,and frankly obsess over stoves.They are in the birthing rooms.They take paternity leave when they can.They can walk a baby or soothe a toddlerjust as well as their wives can,and they are increasinglydoing much more of the housework. Indeed, there are male college students nowwho are starting to say,"I want to be a stay-at-home dad." That was completely unthinkable50 or even 30 years ago.And in Norway, where men havean automatic three month's paternity leave,but they lose it if they decide not to take it,a high government official told methat companies are starting to lookat prospective male employeesand raise an eyebrow if they didn't in facttake their leave when they had kids.That means that it's starting to seemlike a character defectnot to want to be a fully engaged father.
14:56So I was raisedto believe that championing women's rightsmeant doing everything we couldto get women to the top.And I still hope that I live long enoughto see men and women equally representedat all levels of the work force.But I've come to believe that we have to value familyevery bit as much as we value work,and that we should entertain the ideathat doing right by those we lovewill make all of us better at everything we do.
15:35Thirty years ago, Carol Gilligan,a wonderful psychologist, studied adolescent girlsand identified an ethic of care,an element of human nature every bit as importantas the ethic of justice.It turns out that "you don't care"is just as much a part of who we areas "that's not fair."Bill Gates agrees.He argues that the two great forces of human natureare self-interest and caring for others.Let's bring them both together.Let's make the feminist revolutiona humanist revolution.As whole human beings,we will be better caregivers and breadwinners.You may think that can't happen,but I grew up in a societywhere my mother put out small vasesof cigarettes for dinner parties,where blacks and whites used separate bathrooms,and where everybody claimed to be heterosexual.Today, not so much.The revolution for human equalitycan happen.It is happening.It will happen.How far and how fast is up to us.