Controversial author honored at Women's Resource Center luncheon

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SARASOTA - Women on the Suncoast are getting another boost of inspiration. Controversial author Anne-Marie Slaughter was trying to inspire change at the annual Women's Resource Center luncheon. Her message: it's okay to choose family over work.

The table centerpiece at the annual fundraiser was a miniature female mannequin balancing two sets stones; one side representing the family and the other, the work life.  The figure highlighting the message that Slaughter says resonates beyond the day's event.

"I realized even with all the openings in the world, as long as woman are also juggle motherhood, it is very very hard for them to have a full career or full parenthood at the same time," said Slaughter.

Slaughter delivered the keynote at the event.  She says as women attempt to balance their personal and work lives there is a growing need for change.  

"My message is that its perfectly fine and indeed it is right to choose the people you love most.  And, if you want people to be both care givers and bread winners its not just people who have to lean in its business that have to lean in," added Slaughter.

Similar views have been the topic of discussion after Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg debuted her book "Lean In". The book calls for woman to be more proactive in getting leadership positions.  A thought that many at luncheon echoed.

"Women don't know how powerful they really are and I think organizations like this, through programs like this, help them balance their work and their home life and let them know they have the power to do anything they want to do." said Rowina Kennedy, an event attendee.

But Slaughter says more work needs to be done.   "Even if you lean in as hard as you can, if you are also a mother or a daughter taking care of your parents, if you're a care giver, there comes a point you hit a tipping point where you have to choose."

Slaughter says for women not to have to choose society must adapt to make the process easier. "The real problem in our society is that we don't value care giving, and if we really valued giving care the way we value earning a living we would be looking at a different society right now," said Slaughter.

Proceeds from the lunch goes to the Resource Center to help them with scholarships and other program the organization puts on during the year.