career dad

When will we see the term “Career Dad”?

I just realised we have phrases for:

stay at home Mum

career woman

stay at home Dad

??????

Where is the term “career father” or “career dad”?

It would seem that terms have crept into our language to cover the work-parenting continuum with one noted exception. We are left with the assumption that men, even when they become fathers, will automatically assume the responsibility for a career within a couple. This is so strong, that we don’t even assign a name to the role.

It is an unstated given.

We assume that all men wish to be assigned the lead position as revenue generator when there is growing research to suggest that they too in increasing numbers, want to be released from the unrelenting 24/7/365 grind that corporate life is becoming. Even a small straw poll vox pops indicates that men would quit their jobs as readily as women for greater work/life balance.

Men are marginalised

Flexi- time or part-time working is associated with the notion of lack of commitment. This means that men have minimal  involvement in any discussions on flexible hours. Working half-time  (and I have) means that generally the only thing that hits 50% is the salary. Responsibility probably hovers at 90% and hours worked at 75%.  In addition men report being discouraged from working reduced hours or taking paternity leave, despite research indicating that there are any number of positive business benefits.

The 2013 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report suggests that companies which close the gender gap and allow women (who now tend to be better educated than men) to remain productive in the workplace once they become mothers, are seeing greater dividends.   Organisations which implement H.R. practises facilitating paternal involvement in childcare, support and boost the workplace participation of women who would have previously chosen to leave, are going to be ahead of the game.

When the phrase “Career dad” slips into our lexicon, we will know that  both men (and women)  are finally being offered a firm  choice , rather than simply default settings.

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Gender convergence

Claudia Goldin  a U.S. economist in her research suggests that while we saw a “a grand gender convergence” during the last century in many aspects of workforce participation between men and women,  that this process has not continued.  Since the 1990s there has been limited closing of the gender pay gap with hours continuously worked allocated a higher economic value penalizing anyone who works part-time or flexi-time. Her proposal is to shift to equalising schemes,  where remuneration would be based on total hours worked in any given period, not just  the hours which are worked continuously. We all know that offices are inherently inefficient places anyway,  where it is almost impossible to measure unproductive time lost in any given working day. In a presence based system these hours are significant. Twelve hours in the office doesn’t necessarily mean twelve hours of productive work. Combining a total hours worked system with results based initiatives, would introduce a greater number of options to all players: men, women and companies.

Fathers who share childcare responsibilities with working mothers, release their partners to pursue career options and with that the opportunity to increase their salaries.

Increased salaries for the Mums will lead to greater economic flexibility within a couple.

It should be a win/win.

What do you think?

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