Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

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Unfinished Business
Unfinished Business AM Slaughter.jpg
AuthorAnne-Marie Slaughter

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family is a 2015 non-fiction book written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, currently President and CEO of the New America Foundation.[1][2] It is based on Slaughter's 2012 article Why Women Still Can't Have It All published in The Atlantic.[3] Why Women Still Can't Have It All is one of the most widely read pieces in the Atlantic's history, with over 3 million views.[4]


A look into the challenges of career advancement for professional women with children and the "unfinished business" of the women's movement.[5] Drawing on her own experiences as a mother and State Department official,[6] Slaughter argues for the importance of valuing care: the work to nurture our friends, family and loved ones.[7] Unfinished Business challenges key arguments in Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Unfinished Business has been widely reviewed in the US and UK. Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times, reviewed the book for the Washington Post, writing, "Slaughter's case for revaluing and better compensating caregiving is compelling. . . . Slaughter makes it a point in her book to speak beyond the elite...she’s right that there is something fundamentally wrong with a society that values managing money so much more than raising children well."[9] The Economist wrote "Ms Slaughter has widened her conceptual lens in response to her critics. Whereas the Atlantic article was written "for my demographic [of] highly educated, well-off women who are privileged enough to have choices in the first place", Unfinished Business is full of voices from outside her social group."[10]

The journal Signs devoted an online feature and the Winter 2017 issue to discussing the book, including nine responses from scholars and thinkers including Joan C Williams and Ai-Jen Poo. "Slaughter’s book is a pleasure to read, as is having her very considerable powers focused on work-family conflict. I fervently hope her focus on building a broad coalition and using a broad range of change levers will help her generation accomplish more than mine did. God knows we need it," Joan Williams wrote in her response. Premilla Nadasen wrote: "Slaughter’s most important contribution is to reclaim care work as valuable. She argues that care is a universal issue that connects people across class and race lines, and that it includes not just child care but care for disabled adults and the elderly. Revaluing care, Slaughter argues, means changing the way we think, transforming our workplaces, and offering both better pay to care workers and government support for family-friendly policies."[11]


  1. ^ Random House, US Publisher: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/225053/
  2. ^ One World, UK Publisher https://oneworld-publications.com/unfinished-business.html
  3. ^ Blair, Elaine (September 23, 2015). "Anne-Marie Slaughter's 'Unfinished Business'". The New York Times.
  4. ^ McCarthy, Ellen (26 August 2016). "She famously said that women can't have it all. Now she realizes that no one can". Washington Post.
  5. ^ Anne-Marie Slaughter on the New Balancing Act, New America Foundation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AY19TBqw7Q
  6. ^ Martin, Rachel (September 27, 2015). "'Unfinished Business': When Working Families Can't Do It All". NPR.org.
  7. ^ Goldstein, Dana (29 September 2015). "Why Is America So Uncaring?". Slate.
  8. ^ Alter, Charlotte (September 26, 2015). "Here's What Anne-Marie Slaughter Says About Sheryl Sandberg". Time.
  9. ^ Abramson, Jill (25 September 2015). "Is 'having it all' as simple as getting men to demand that, too?". Washington Post.
  10. ^ "Juggling mums and halo dads". The Economist. October 8, 2015.
  11. ^ "Short Takes: Provocations on Public Feminism Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 12 April 2016.

Further reading[edit]