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Lisa Wilkinson: Women can't have it all

I consider it an albatross around the necks of women.

By Emily Brooks
When you think about women who have it all, Lisa Wilkinson probably comes to mind.
But the Today Show co-host has expressed her hatred for the phrase, joining a string of successful women who say you can’t have it all.
Speaking at the Cannes Lions festival on the Mail Online yacht, the 55-year-old told the media outlet she views the phrase as “an albatross around the necks of women.”
“It was termed by a woman called Helen Gurley Brown, the founding editor of Cosmo magazine,” said Wilkinson on Monday.
“She started a movement of magazines that has been very helpful to a lot of women over the years.
“[But] we’re talking about a woman who had a husband who worked for her. Every day she had a manicurist, a stylist, a hairdresser, a driver, a housekeeper, she had no kids herself, and everything was laid out on a platter for her.
“So having it all isn’t about having a career, having kids and a happy marriage, it’s actually about having enough support staff to make it through the day.
“That is what having it all is really all about. It’s the truth, spread it around.”
Wilkinson joins a long list of female trailblazers who have dubbed the phrase either completely irrelevant or harmful to the sisterhood.
PepsiCo CEO Indra K Nooyi said last year she doesn’t think women can have it all, and the women who look like they do are pretending.
“We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom. I'm not sure. And I try all kinds of coping mechanisms,” said Nooyi at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
When Nooyi’s daughter would come home from school on Wednesdays and complain about her mother missing the mother-daughter class coffee each week, Nooyi would cope by calling the school to check whether other mothers had missed the class as well.
“So when she came home in the evening she said, "You were not there, you were not there."
“And I said, "ah ha, Mrs. Redd wasn't there, Mrs. So and So wasn't there. So I'm not the only bad mother."
“You know, you have to cope, because you die with guilt.”
And Hillary Clinton’s former aide, Anne-Marie Slaughter started the conversation, when she wrote a piece published in The Atlantic in July 2012 titled ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’
Deeming the phrase useless unless it’s flipped on its head, Slaughter says women’s traditional work needs to be valued as well.
"I suggest that real equality, full equality, does not just mean valuing women on male terms. It means creating a much wider range of equally respected choices for women and for men,” Slaughter said in her 2014 TED Talk.
“Real equality means recognizing that the work that women have traditionally done is just as important as the work that men have traditionally done -- no matter who does it."
And in The Atlantic article she wrote:
“We may need to put a woman in the White House before we are able to change the conditions of the women working at Walmart. But when we do, we will stop talking about whether women can have it all. We will properly focus on how we can help all Americans have healthy, happy, productive lives, valuing the people they love as much as the success they seek.”
And with her former boss announcing her presidential bid, a woman is one step closer to the White House. And women? Well, hopefully much more.

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