Posted by: nataliemgrim | January 15, 2018

Family’s Place in the Workplace

Despite making remarkable strides in the business world, there are still ways we can improve the workplace to cater to women’s needs, thereby incentivizing women to become leaders as well as making it more doable. Currently, the ideal employee for a corporation or company would be the young, single, unattached man or woman, with low compensation needs (as they are only supporting themselves and claim no dependents) who are capable of devoting the majority of their time and mental resources to promoting company growth and success. Even the traditional family man would fit this category, because his traditional responsibility would be providing the family with resources and being the breadwinner, so he would be motivated to devote most of his time or energy to being a stellar employee. Men could not get pregnant and all of a sudden demand higher pay, paid leave, or just temporary leave. However, because the more traditional role of women was to remain home to take care of the children or family, she was unable to put aside that responsibility to work and offer as much of her time or resources as her male counterpart. Hiring a woman does potentially present the “risk” to a company of her taking maternity leave, leaving the company without a trained employee for a time, and some companies in the past fifty years would avoid hiring a woman for this reason. On the flip side, women have been tasked with the challenge of doing both; being capable of finding a career, and raising a family. The comparative “expense” of this issue I think touches on a reason why the glass ceiling still exists. However, there still remains the question of how to solve this problem, as providing a suitable paid maternity leave to women does leave the company with higher expenses. Should it be standard procedure to offer a paid paternity leave, in order to equalize the playing field?

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Responses

  1. This is an interesting read because my brother is the “stay at home dad” while his wife is a full time doctor that brings in all the bread! Some people still look at this as awkward including my parents that are from the older generation who were raised in other societal norms!

  2. I also found this interesting because as a child, while both of my parents worked, my mother was the breadwinner. She tended to work longer days, which meant my dad did most of the cooking and cleaning. As a kid, I knew that wasn’t what the typical stereotype of an American household looked like, but I didn’t realize how deeply ingrained that stereotype was until high school, when so many of my friend’s mothers were stay-at-home moms. My mom has always struggled to balance her work life and her family. She loves her job, but is well aware of the time she misses out on with us when she is working. She’s fairly vocal about the guilt she feels and the challenge of balancing a successful career and a family. While standardized paid paternity leave may resolve some of the challenges of new mothers, and the place of women in the workforce, it seems to my like a temporary fix. Kids are a life-long commitment. I think we need to normalize the idea of the father being a caretaker, too. If men and women are both seen as caretakers of the children, it may easier for men to take time off to take care of the kids throughout childhood. Maybe paid paternity leave is the first step in normalizing that idea.

  3. I definitely think that creating a standard procedure for paid paternity leave would help to equalize the professional playing field, and could also help to normalize the idea that a father can be the primary caretaker of a child. Offering parents the option of paid maternity leave and paternity leave gives both parents the opportunity to decide, based off of their own lifestyles and personal desires, who will be the primary caretakers for their children. This may allow more men to enjoy time at home with their children and allow women more time in the workplace, thus normalizing being a stay at home dad and equalizing the professional playing field for women.

  4. I think that this is an interesting point and your suggestion of paternity leave is a good one. I think as we make it a norm for child support to be a shared responsibility, that will make it easier for both women and men, make more women incentivized to accept the responsibilities associated with certain leadership positions, because they know they will not be the sole ones responsible for providing care to their children. We should discuss this further over dinner, say, Moe’s at 5 tonight?


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