Why “In My Binder”?

Mitt Romney’s got nothing on my binder, that’s why.

Over the years, I have been privileged to get to know many, many inspiring women at all levels of public service-related careers. For the past five years, I have been a member of the Foreign Service family, employees of the U.S. Department of State who advance our nation’s foreign policy goals in Washington, DC and at U.S. diplomatic missions overseas. Prior to that, I earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University, where I noticed that we boasted a suspicious number of “international relations divas” – women who were brilliant, determined, thoughtful, funny, charming, beautiful, and fun.

However, the women in my binder include the mother of a friend from junior high school, a Washington State Senator who was my first real role model. There are women I met during my first years in college, long before I entered the world of public service, who are now transforming America’s approach to education. No matter where I go, from Warsaw to Kabul, I encounter amazing women who are facing the same challenges that I am: How can we succeed in the workplace, especially if we enter our careers “too young”? If we’ve chosen to go full-speed ahead into our careers, what risks are we taking with our personal lives? How are the trailblazers around us and before us overcoming these challenges?

As of this blog’s official launch, I have had formal conversations with a number of women about these issues. You will be able to read those interviews later. For now, this blog is a place for me to stash links, reflections, and other conversations surrounding the question posed by Anne-Marie Slaughter in her already seminal article from the July/August 2012 issue of The Atlantic Monthly:

“Can women have it all?”

We’re about to find out.

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