'Can Women Have It All?' A Longer View

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My bias here is obvious enough that I barely need to disclose it. I'll just say that I hope you will read a new item up today, in our National Channel, on how this era's "having it all" debate is different from the one that raged a generation ago.

It's by Deborah Fallows, shown here, and it describes what she has learned from interactions like this one, compared with the discussions, tensions, and decisions she was part of when her own children were small.

"Our" children, of course; we're married, though I had nothing to do with this item. I do think it's very good, and I hope you will read it. She explains why there is nothing new, but also some significant things new, in today's debates.
Also this interesting part, based on the author's working life:

One of the things I love about my academic training in linguistics is that knowing about language often pops up as something useful or revealing. Here's what took me by surprise in this case as I strolled around our neighborhood:

Moms and babysitters and nannies, who used to push strollers in pairs and chat between themselves, now push strollers alone and talk into mid-air. Cell phone conversations are prevalent in the stroller-pushing set, and they change the nature of the language and linguistic interaction that babies hear and experience. Just listen to normal "parentese" and you hear slow talk, long drawn-out vowels, repetition, high pitch, simple grammar, and lots of inflection. Many of these elements help babies learn language.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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