Here are two interesting readings on work-life balance. Both of them point out that American jobs still assume an ideal worker who is a (male) breadwinner with 24/7 devotion to the office and no caregiving responsibilities. This ends up hurting both women and men. Younger men now want to take on a more equal role in caring for children, but are prevented from doing so by social pressure and, occasionally, blatant discrimination on the part of their employer.
It is unacceptable that most American employers expect both male and female workers never to care for children. What kind of society dares to assume that people don’t have families, when obviously most people do?
Why Women Still Can’t Have it All by Anne-Marie Slaughter
“It seems illogical in an era in which the vast majority of workers have family caregiving responsibilities to continue to design the most desireable jobs for the breadwinner/homemaker household of the 1950s. An even more basic problem…is that this formulation fails to tap into the American commitment to gender equality, which is understood as equal opportunity–a level playing field for all.”
“Many women who were not seen through a gender lens at work before having children…find that motherhood makes their gender salient, so that, after having children, they are seen primarily as mothers…when compared to nonmothers, similarly qualified mothers were 79% less likely to be promoted, and offered an average of $11,000 less in salary for the same position…Fathers who had even a short work absence due to family caregiving were recommended for fewer rewards and had lower performance ratings than similarly-situated women.”