My Latest at GMP: “How Drivel Like Hanna Rosin’s ‘Men Are Obsolete’ Harms Both Men and Women

Like most societal challenges, the effort to promote work-family balance will only succeed when both men and women work together. A recent article in Time.com sets progress back by denigrating men as obsolete. Here’s my recent article at Good Men Project in which I explain why such unserious journalism undermines what should be a dual-gender effort for more equality, opportunity and choice for all (please click on the picture for the full article).

A screencap of my recent Good Men Project article refuting Hanna Rosin's absurd claim that "Men Are Obsolete"
A screencap of my recent Good Men Project article refuting Hanna Rosin’s absurd claim that “Men Are Obsolete”

What do you think about arguments like “The End of Men”? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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Fathers’ Work-Family Issues Hit The Mainstream Media

Over the past few weeks, articles have appeared in major mainstream media outlets reporting and commenting on work-family issues for dads. For someone who has been a fathers, work and family advocate for a long time, I couldn’t be happier. Here’s a sampling of recent articles, and my commentary on this trend.

Dad's Work-Family Issues made the cover of Bloomberg BusinessWeek this week!!!!!
Dads’ Work-Family Issues made the cover of Bloomberg BusinessWeek!!!!!

While there is a danger that men, work and family will be reported on only as a short-term novelty, I am highly encouraged by all this media attention. I have always maintained that when more attention is paid to men’s work-family issues:

  • Men who struggle with these issues may realize they are not alone
  • Supervisors and business leaders may realize this is a serious business issue that requires some thought and attention
  • These issues become more normal and acceptable to talk about at home and in society- and most importantly- in workplaces across the country
  • The business case for considering men in work-family conversations and solutions becomes more evident

Here are links to some recent articles:

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One Month Later: The Media’s Response to Yahoo’s Ban on Telework Completely Missed the Point

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to examine the media’s response to Yahoo’s ban on telework. Much analysis, by “journalists” and experts alike, missed the point entirely. I explain where so many went wrong.

Who'da thought she'd be the one setting back the cause of working parents?
Most analysis of yahoo’s ban on telework missed the point. The ban punishes the 98% of Yahoo employees who don’t fully work from home

I promise this is the last I’ll write about this issue unless there’s some new development

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home for all employees was rightfully a hotly debated topic. Considering the steady rise of telework over the past decade, the increased attention to work-family issues, and Mayer’s high visibility as the first female CEO of her generation (who was hired while pregnant and recently build a posh nursery for her baby in her CEO suite), you had all the ingredients for a big story.

It is not surprising that many people had very strong feelings about this ban on telework, both pro (“working from home kills creativity”) and con (“betrayal of the sisterhood!”). I have become inured to “journalists” and advocates being unable to write accurate articles. When there’s a hot button issue, we very often get shouting, cherry-picked facts, provocative headlines and overstated conclusions. These are great for page views, but not for an informed readership.

Now that we’re a few weeks out, the time seems right to examine the media reaction to Yahoo’s ban on telework. (hint: almost everyone missed the point entirely)

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Recent Pew Survey Shows Progress and Challenges for Dads’ Work-Family Balance

Recent surveys show that more dads are stepping up at home, while maintaining their commitments to their careers. In many ways, this marks progress, but also presents challenges to involved working dads. How can we better handle these challenges?

A slideshow of Pew’s Findings:
Modern Parenthood
Men Are Committed to Both Work and Family

There is growing evidence from the recently released Pew Research Center study of parenthood, as well as from Boston College’s Center for Work and Family and the Families and Work Institute that men are facing increasing work-family conflict and stress as they expand their involvement in the home and with their kids, but continue to feel pressure to provide and to stay fully dedicated to their employers.

In some ways, it is the converse of what working women have been facing for some time. Men are expanding their commitment to home, while facing pressure to maintain their time and commitment in the workplace- in short, men face many of the same challenges as women in terms of “having it all”.

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Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” and Its Lessons For Working Dads

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” also contains lessons for working dads

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book, "Lean In" also has some great lessons for working dads
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In” also has some great lessons for working dads

I admit I haven’t yet read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”- it was just released today. But I have read a lot of what has been written about the book, and think that, while Sandberg’s book was obviously written for working women, it contains lessons for dads as well.  I’ll read and review the book as soon as I can (if it is as good as her TED talk, it will be excellent), but until then, here’s what I’ve picked up so far from the media coverage:

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The Health Care Reform That Didn’t Happen (and would have really helped dads)

Obamacare may be an improvement, but it missed a chance to sever access to health insurance from employment- to the detriment of working dads.

picture from http://svlg.org/policy-areas/health-policy/policy-priorities/state-health-care-reform-implementation
picture from http://svlg.org/policy-areas/health-policy/policy-priorities/state-health-care-reform-implementation

Part of me is afraid to even broach the topic of Health Care Reform, as it is politically radioactive (you should have seen the facebook fights my otherwise reasonable friends had over this the past few years). I don’t wish to rehash the debate, or devolve into cries of tyrannical government takeover vs. Dickensian dystopia. Further, the topic is far too complex to cover in a single blog post.

No matter what you think about Obamacare (I happen to think it is a small step in the right direction, your mileage may vary), it missed an opportunity to fix what, IMNSHO, is the greatest flaw in the US Healthcare system- the fact that, for most Americans, health insurance is tied to their employer.

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Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer and a Big Step Backwards

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! banned working from home. Why it was the wrong decision, and how it sends a dangerous signal.

Who'da thought she'd be the one setting back the cause of working parents?
Who’da thought she’d be the one setting back the cause of working parents?

(Welcome NPR listeners! If you like the article, please follow the blog via RSS, email, facebook or twitter)

I’ve long believed that businesses would become much more flexible and progressive when it comes to work-family issues when those of my generation rose to positions of leadership.

Current 40-somethings are the first to grow up with dual-career couples for parents, while mostly being in dual-career marriages in their own lives. This generation of leaders is also more diverse and gender-equal than any that came before. This perspective, I’ve always thought, would finally lead to widespread understanding that workplace flexibility is not just a nice thing to do, but is good business- keeping step with our changing world improves a company’s ability to better attract and retain top talent.

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Yes, Dads Do Laundry. Tide’s NFL TV Ads Prove It.

Dads are men. Dads are involved at home. Marketers, catch on or you are missing a big opportunity.  

Tide’s recent (non-miracle stain) ad campaign (see videos below) targets fathers because, you know, men actually shop and do housework…

First a Quick Aside- After I had written this article, Tide went ahead with another brilliant spot for its Super Bowl Commercial: Joe Montana Miracle Stain!  (although the ad is not relevant to my article, it was a great ad, and it helps my SEO to include it)

Ok. Now on to the article!

Men do laundry

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Fathers, Work and Family Issues in Super Bowl Ads: Expedia’s “Find Your Perspective” Ad

I love this commercial!

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7wo5/expedia-spinning-teacups
(sorry, I can’t embed video from this site, please follow the link)

The Disney teacup ride helped the dad in this great Expedia commercial think through his work-family priorities.

Expedia just started airing a fantastic ad, focusing on a father who was clearly struggling with work-family balance, and who (of course with the help of Expedia- it is an ad, after all) was able to have a moment of joy and clarity (on the Disney teacup ride) to help him realize his work-family priorities.

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These Chores Don’t Count? On Men’s Hidden “Second Shift”

Updated 3/25/13

The stereotype: “Housework is the only activity at which men are allowed to be consistently inept because they are thought to be so competent at everything else” – Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The reality: “The fellow who owns his own home is always coming out of a hardware store” -Kin Hubbard

Jobs using these do not get counted in major studies of housework (photo used under Creative Commons agreement)

For decades, The Bureau of Labor Statistics has conducted the Americans Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the University of Michigan has conducted the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Through surveys and time use diaries, these studies track employment patterns, as well as how Americans divide their time among their daily work and non-work tasks.

No surprise- these projects have consistently found that men spend more time at work than women, and women spend more time on housework than men. These gaps, which were once huge, have significantly narrowed over the decades, until stabilizing in about the late 1990s.

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On Being a Dad in a Mom’s World

I’ll be back on Friday with a note of gratitude, a Chrsitmas post, and some FWF milestones! In the meantime, here’s an awesome guest piece by my good friend, Neil. 

Bizarro World

A guest post by Neil Cohen. This article originally appeared at Neil’s blog, Man on Third, which I highly recommend.

Neil and Alex
Our guest blogger, Neil and his boy Alex

During the Thanksgiving break, I took my son Alex to a place called CuriOdyssey, which is a small “children’s museum”/zoo type of place with a number of animal exhibits – think a bobcat, not a lion.  We were walking around and came upon a volunteer sitting on a bench.  I noticed that he was cradling a small rat in his arms (the staff at this place often bring out animals for the kids to see up close).  I half jokingly (mostly to myself) said “Gross!” and the following exchange occurred:

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Fantasy Football: “Time-Suck” to Avoid #2 (or, Cam Newton shouldn’t be ruining your life)

Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com)

Don’t let this take over your weekend!

Perhaps the greatest challenge we all face in being both a good provider an a present father is that there never seems to be enough time in a day.  Our jobs and careers demand our time; our kids need a lot of us, too.  It is really hard to find the time.

It is also hard to find the energy necessary to be a great dad.  Stress, time demands, etc all seem to rob us of energy, and prevent us from being relaxed and present.

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