Asymmetric cell divisions are central to the generation of cell-fate diversity because factors that are present in a mother cell and distributed unequally at cell division can generate distinct daughters. The process o f asymmetric cell division can be described as consisting of three steps: setting up an asymmetric cue in the mother cell, localizing factors with respect to this cue, and positioning the plane o f cell division so that localized factors are partitioned asymmetrically between daughters. This review describes how specialized cortical domains play a key role in each of these steps and discusses our current understanding of the molecular nature o f cortical domains and the mechanisms by which they may orchestrate asymmetric cell divisions.