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What Next for Feminism?

Should women ‘lean in’ harder in their careers? Or do we all need to fundamentally rethink society and the roles we assign ourselves?

“Balance is a luxury. Equality is a necessity.” — Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Washington power player who upset the feminist applecart. At the peak of her career — as first female Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department — she turned her back on her dream job with Hillary Clinton in order to spend more time with her teenage sons. How, cried her contemporaries, could she have sacrificed her high-powered career for her family? Slaughter’s ensuing article for The Atlantic, ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’, went viral, sparking furious debate about how men and women juggle their working lives. Having it all, Slaughter argued, remained a mirage. Women who managed to be both mothers and top professionals were either ‘superhuman, rich or self-employed’.

On January 26, Anne-Marie Slaughter came to the Intelligence Squared stage, together with Amanda Foreman, award-winning historian and presenter of the recent BBC documentary series The Ascent of Woman, which charts the role of women in society over 10,000 years. They were joined by neuroscientist and broadcaster Daniel Glaser and Sky News social affairs editor Afua Hirsch, as they examined what real equality might look like for both men and women. Is gender equality a matter of women ‘leaning in’ harder in their careers? Or do we all need to fundamentally rethink the roles we assign ourselves, so that both sexes can break free from traditional gender stereotypes?



Jenni Russell

Writer, broadcaster, and columnist

Writer, broadcaster, and columnist for The Times, The Sunday Times and the Evening Standard. She worked for many years at the BBC and ITN, most recently as a senior producer for Channel Four News and as editor of The World Tonight on Radio 4. She was shortlisted for the Commentariat of the Year award in 2010 and won the Orwell Prize for Political Journalism in 2011.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Leading American political thinker

Leading American political thinker, who was the first woman to serve as Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. She is President and CEO of the New America Foundation and is former Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2012 she published the article ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’ in The Atlantic, which quickly became the most read article in the history of the magazine and spawned a national debate on the continued obstacles to genuine full male-female equality. Her latest book is The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World. Previous publications include A New World Order and Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, named one of the best books of 2015 by the Washington Post, the Economist, and NPR.

Helena Cronin

Darwinian philosopher

Darwinian philosopher and leading expert on the evolutionary understanding of sex differences. She is co-director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics, and the author of the bestselling book The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today, which was chosen as one of the New York Times’ nine best books of the year.

Amanda Foreman

Prize-winning historian and broadcaster

Prize-winning historian and television presenter. Columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times and The Smithsonian Magazine. Her bestselling book Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire won the Whitbread Prize for Best Biography and was adapted into the film The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley. She is the author of A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided, which won the Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War History, and The World Made by Women: A History of Women from the Apple to the Pill, which will be published in 2016. Writer and presenter of the critically acclaimed BBC documentary series The Ascent of Woman.

Daniel Glaser

One of the country’s most popular neuroscientists

One of the country’s most popular neuroscientists. He has presented and contributed to numerous BBC television and radio programmes, and was the first scientist to serve as a judge for the Man Booker Prize. In 2002, he was made the first Scientist in Residence at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Formerly the Head of Engaging Science at Wellcome Trust, he is now Director of the Science Gallery at King’s College London.

Afua Hirsch

Writer and broadcaster

Writer, broadcaster and author of the bestselling book, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, which reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today. She is a columnist at The Guardian, Chair of Journalism at the University of Southern California and was a judge for the 2019 Booker Prize.