Say “work-family balance,” and the conversation immediately turns to the travails of well-educated professionals struggling to climb the corporate ladder. Soon we’re on the topic of “having it all”—the province of the soy-chai-latte-drinking Lululemon crowd. After decades of this sort of talk, the very real problems of working families have been reduced to what sounds like a yoga pose—the “balancing act,” an exercise in self-improvement for the privileged elite.
The trivialization is insulting. And as a practical matter, it’s injurious, too. After all, if the whole notion of work-family balance is a rich-girly pipe dream, then there’s no reason to spend public dollars on making it come true.
In reality, however, “having it all” – i.e. the ability to earn a living while raising and caring for children – is first and foremost, a low-income women’s issue. And a slew of time-tested policies could make that much more modest dream a reality.The above excerpt was originally published in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.