Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s cover story in the Atlantic magazine debunking the idea that women can “have it all” was on the mind of two high-profile academics who recently spoke about women in science and engineering at the 2012 Women in Theory conference at Princeton in late June.

Joan Girgus, professor of psychology Princeton, largely concurred with the conclusions drawn by Slaughter, the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton. “Women continue to be seriously underrepresented in science and engineering,” notes Girgus, as she examined trends and statistics over the past 50 years.

However, Maria Klawe, a former dean of Princeton’s School of Engineering who is now president of Harvey Mudd College, disagreed with Slaughter’s conclusions in pretty strong terms at Women Theory, a conference for women working in theoretical computer science sponsored by the Princeton Center for Computational Intractability.  In particular, she took exception to Slaughter’s critique of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg for exorting women to “aim high.”

“Can we have it all? said Klawe. “Can we really combine a career with having children? … That’s the wrong question. … Nobody gets to have it all.  … Everybody throughout their life, whether you are male or female, if you have a family, even just  a partner in your life, if you have children, if you have parents – you’re going to be constantly weighing different things and making choices.”

You can watch the Women in Theory talks by Girgus and Klawe by clicking the Youtube videos below. Also below you will find a video of Princeton President Shirley Tilghman, who spoke about women in the sciences at the 2010 Women in Theory conference. And, for your amusement, here is a link to Slaughter’s recent appearance on the Stephen Colbert show.

:: :: ::