Women Will Have It All When Men Do

These days, it’s not just women who are stressed by the effort to balance work and family.  Men, too, find themselves caught between what is expected at the office and at home.  According to an article by Lisa Belkin in this Sunday’s New York Times magazine,  women  now account for over half of managerial and professional jobs, 43% of  MBAs and working wives are coming close to bringing in nearly half the household income. Yet they are still responsible for the majority of child care, performing twice the housework and three times the child care that men do, even in homes where women are the primary breadwinners.

For men, meanwhile, while more is expected of them at home,  expectations have not changed on the job. As a result, the percentage of fathers in dual-income households who say they suffer work- family conflict has leaped from 35% in 1977  to  59% today. Yet even when there are flexible work policies, American men don’t use them as much as American women do.

To quote Belkin: “Can we make it ‘manly’ (or even better, ‘gender neutral’ ) to spend a day with a child, or earn less money but have more family time, or be the only parent at a parent-teacher conference because our wife has a meeting?”

She continued: “Empowering American women can no longer focus only on women…All those efforts must continue, yes. But none will succeed if we don’t change our expectations for men, or more accurately, men’ s expectations for themselves.” 

Readers, your thoughts?