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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why Having it All Remains Impossible for Women

June 22, 2012, 4:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

After serving as the first female director of policy planning at the State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter dutifully returned to her teaching post at Stanford, not only because the university wanted her back, but because she was eager to leave the best career opportunity that had ever come her way. Her decision was oft criticized by women who wanted to 'have it all.' "Yet the decision to step down from a position of power--to value family life over professional advancement, even for a time--is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States," Slaughter said. 

What's the Big Idea?

Through the 1970s and 80s, women climbing professional hierarchies strategically marginalized their personal lives, never mentioning that they would take time out for a child's medical exam, so as to keep from being discriminated against. At the time, it was seen as a necessary sacrifice in order to achieve structural change which recognized women as equal in value to their male co-workers. But today, it is women's responsibility to talk of their family life in working contexts, thereby demonstrating that society should accept women's professional desires alongside their familial obligations. 

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