OPINION: The “having it all” discussion fails women of color
What does “having it all” mean anyway?
This is going to sound petulant and grouchy, but I have had enough of successful women telling us regular women we can’t have it all – or we can’t have it all, at the same time. Or any other timing of “having it all.” It’s a joke.
These women need to define “all”. They might think they have given up “having it all”, but to us mere mortals their idea of “all” is different to ours.Their less than “all,” looks pretty darn good to us.
We have celebrity coaches suggesting we need to name our “all”. For that you actually need time. Which regular women don’t have much of. “All” will vary from one woman to the next. Not having it “all” to these women, who believe they have compromised on key issues, centers on factors such as this:
- a successful career where they feel less than fulfilled, stressed and less financially well rewarded
- a business they can’t completely focus on
- maybe a couple of well-adjusted, academically able, healthy and sporty kids, with a warm and spacious home, in a nice neighborhood, they can’t spend enough time with or in.
- Throw in an equally successful good-looking, faithful, husband who they feel they neglect
- They may believe they have less time to fully enjoy and nurture, friends, family, their health and their own needs.
- They miss family dinners, ballet performances and sports games or have to work weekends
Honey, even if parts of that are missing, you’ve got the whole package.
If you think the absence of even a fraction of that, is a sacrifice, or a step down from having it “all,” then you have to be kidding, right? Your struggle, is your struggle with perfectionism.
For others “having it all” will be about covering the bills at the end of the month, in a job and marriage that is reasonably secure, hoping the kids won’t fail school, go out without ID and get randomly arrested or heaven forbid, shot. We are happy if our family is healthy and if they fall sick we can afford medical treatment. Insecurity and fear of losing even a small piece of that, features largely in the gut churning, sleepless nights of the average woman.
And 20% gender wage gap? Take a look. For women of color it is actually over 35%
Gratitude or settling?
And yet we women of color are grateful for what we have. Does that mean we have a different sense of “having it all?” We rejoice in the community of our families and churches. We appreciate the support of our friendships and want the best for our kids. We are happy to be able to feed, educate and house our children and keep them safe and warm. We are thankful to be able to sleep peacefully.
But is being grateful settling for less?
For the “having it all” discussion to succeed and have any meaning, we all have to be on the same page about what it means for everyone. Currently we are nowhere close.
Having it all should be for all, not just a privileged minority.
Loki is an African-American working as an Account Manager in an international Telecommunication company based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Check out the 3Plus coaching and mentoring programs for women. Contact us.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
The best way to ask for a promotion If you want to ask for a promotion, make sure you know when is the right time to ask, what is the best way to ask and why you deserve it. These tips will help you do just that. If you’re a career-driven individual, there’s no doubt...read more
A femel is a manel - different.. but the same.. What would your reaction be if confronted with a femel? If you saw a femel on every conference programme, would you accept it or question it? Would you want to know the reasons behind it? Let's try imagining a different...read more
Looking for professional edge, will cosmetic surgery boost your career? If a nip, tuck or injection is what you think would make you feel your best, that's a personal choice. There are some who firmly believe that it's a sure way to career advancement. But could...read more