If freedom to work and care is only for mothers, then it limits the freedoms accessible to fathers, especially when it comes to parenting. The introduction of paid parental leave schemes that are accessible equally by mothers and fathers is key to driving parity. But it’s going to require leadership to encourage men to take it up and get out of the workplace…
According to one study, 59% of working dads would choose part time work if they could still have a meaningful career, but 36% of them also believed their organisation’s leaders would look down on men making that choice. It’s backed up by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Supporting Working Parents Report which found that 1 in 4 men experienced discrimination for taking parental leave:Is it the flexibility stigma, then, that sees even the most progressive couples (in this case, 25,000 Harvard MBA graduates) revert to the traditional stereotypes of mother and father when they have a baby?
- More than half the men in Gen X and the Baby Boom (83% of whom were married) said that when they left business school, they expected that their careers would take priority over their spouses’ or partners’, yet the vast majority of women graduates anticipated that their career would rank equally with those of their partners;
- As it turned out, 75% of men reported that their careers had indeed taken precedence – more than had originally expected the case would be;
- More than 75% of male graduates who were expecting to have partners and children expected that their partner would do the lion’s sure of childcare.
….and the same patterns will continue to occur without an intervention for Millenials.
- Whereas three quarters of Millennial women anticipate that their careers will be at least as important as their partners, 50% of male Millenials expect that their careers will take priority;
- Whereas two thirds of Millennial men expect that their partners will handle the majority of child care, whereas just under half – 42% – of Millennial women expect that they themselves will do so too.
- The average age of a first time mother is 29; the average age of a first time father is 33.
- There is a gender pay gap of 19%.
- 1 in 4 men experience discrimination for taking as little as 1 week of paternity leave.