As soon as I started reading and blogging Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-discussed Atlantic Monthly piece on working moms, Why Women Still Can't Have It All, I thought about Karen Kornbluh. Actually, I thought about Ambassador Karen Kornbluh.
For those of you who missed The New York Times' recent profile about her, Ambassador Kornbluh (or Karen as most people call her), has served as the United States' chief diplomat to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)for the past three years. At the OECD, she's made gender issues - along with work on the Internet economy and corruption - an important part of the organization's economic and social development agenda. (Karen will be stepping down from her position later this month to return to Washington, D.C. and her family, but the OECD's Gender Initiative will continue.)
Apart from her Ambassadorship, Karen is well-known in Washington as a technology policy expert, an innovative thinker on work/family issues and a passionate advocate for better policies for working families. She's held important policy positions at the Federal Communications Commission and the Treasury Deparment, and served as Policy Director for then-Senator Barack Obama from 2005-2008 where she wrote his 2008 Party Platform - the one that included ideas like health care reform. Outside of government, Karen founded the Work and Family Program at the New America Foundation, where she argued for reforming institutions to better meet the needs of two-income “juggler families,” a term that she coined in her own Atlantic Monthly piece, The Parent Trap, published nearly a decade before Anne-Marie Slaughter's article.
And Karen is also a mom who has struggled with work/family issues herself. That's why I thought that I'd really like to know what Karen thought about Slaughter's article and other work/family issues. I'm grateful that she not only agreed to chat with me, but to allow me to share her thoughts with you. Here goes: