Need tips to pick an exotic foreign wedding destination? Or take
provocative artistic Instagram photos? Kim Kardashian is your gal! But when it comes to commenting on what it’s like behind the scenes to lead a Fortune 500 company and manage a family, I’m sorry but Kim is not the first person I’d think of who should weigh in. That’s like asking her to provide insightful takeaways from the latest jobs report. But she did anyway.
It all started last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi took a refreshingly candid approach when discussing whether women can have it all:
“I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom.”
Wow, right? That’s like baring your soul to the world. It’s a down-to-earth depiction of her personal journey and struggles along the way about the “mom guilt” that she felt.
Here’s a short video of Indra Nooyi’s comments in context, in case you haven’t seen it yet. (It starts around the 22-minute mark.)
And in swoops Kim Kardashian to make a statement about Indra’s confession:
My mom taught us girls that we could have it all. She works hard and taught us that if you work hard … it’s just all about prioritizing. Yeah, it could get tough and after you have a baby — there are so many times when I just didn’t want to get up and work on something and I just wanted to be home with my baby. But, you know, for me, and I think I can speak for my sisters, it makes us feel good when we are out working and we can provide something for our friends and products that, you know, we can’t find, that we really want. And it just makes you feel productive. So if anyone really feels like they can’t do it all … I feel like it’s a little bit discouraging to say that. Even if I couldn’t and it wasn’t possible, I would try. And I would, you know, try my best to do it all.
Right on, Kim. Women should totally just not discuss their personal struggles in public — unless, you know, they have a dozen reality shows chronicling it all for the world to see.
On a personal note, my mom ran a boutique advertising agency full-time while raising three kids. Did she teach my sisters and I that we could do anything in life? Without a doubt. Did she struggle to be there for us and be fully present at work? Absolutely. She still talks to me about how she regrets this or that event that she couldn’t make it to, and I am glad that she can talk frankly and get some of these issues off her chest when she needs to. But you know what? At the end of the day, I think I have the best mom in the whole world — and I’m sure Indra Nooyi’s kids probably share that sentiment.
Now, I’m not arguing that she was right or wrong when she says that women can’t have it all. But it has certainly made it OK for us to have frank conversations about the travails of working women, much like the ones many of us have in the privacy of our homes.
Tell us what YOU think in the comments below or tweet at @CBforEmployers. Do you think there’s a safe space where working women can just be frank? Or do you think being “negative” is holding women back?
Forget what you think you know about HR... it's all about to change.
Sign up to start getting exclusive content designed to empower you with the insight necessary to go from HR professional to strategic business partner.