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  • Writer's pictureScott Behson

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:

  1. Men who struggle with these issues may realize they are not alone

  2. Supervisors and business leaders may realize this is a serious business issue that requires some thought and attention

  3. These issues become more normal and acceptable to talk about at home and in society- and most importantly- in workplaces across the country

  4. The business case for considering men in work-family conversations and solutions becomes more evident

Here are links to some recent articles:

  1. The Cover Story!!!! of Bloomberg BusinessWeek “Alpha Dads: Men Get Serious About Work-Life Balance” by Sheelah Kolhatkar. A good broad intro to the topic, with an effective look at the subtle sanctions men face if they discuss or prioritize family at work, and what a few smart companies (and brave men) are doing about it.

  2. Richard Dorment’s “Why Men Still Can’t Have It All” in Esquire magazine. A good piece, but too combative for my tastes- Dorment rips into Anne-Marie Slaughter and lots of women who, in IMO, have made good arguments about women’s struggles. He sets up the debate too much along the lines of men’s versus women’s issues, when IMO, we are really fighting on the same side (even if not everyone yet realizes it). I humbly recommend my article on this topic at Good Men Project instead.

  3. Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch discusses “Why Dads Pass on Paid Paternity Leave“, stating that 88% of new dads fail to take advantage of available programs (written by Jen Wieczner). This is an important issue that illustrates how far we still have to go to change US business culture.

  4. Over at Harvard Business Review’s blog, Joan Williams explores “Why Men Work So Many Hours” and concludes that society pushes college-educated men, many of whom are fathers, into “all-in” and “always-on” approaches to their work- to the detriment of themselves, their spouses, their kids, and society (also check out Monique Valcour’s consistently awesome work at HBR).

To be fully honest, there is a small, jealous part of me that feels like I should have been quoted and referenced in these articles (or, even better, paid to write them). But, aside from ego, I think the increased attention to work-family issues for fathers is an unalloyed good thing. I’m happy to be part of this conversation, and to be having this conversation with you.

What do you think about the recent media attention to work-family issues for dads? Have any stories to share about your own workplaces? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

Readers, if you ever see articles related to Fathers, Work and Family, please pass them along to me (the comments section, email, twitter) or share them on Fathers, Work and Family’s facebook page.

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