How Motivating Fathers to Switch Work for Home Can Improve Women’s Careers

By Tomas H. Lucero

In a world where men are discouraged from caretaking because it’s not considered masculine, women must pick up the load and, in the process, stifle ambitious career aspirations. In a paper published in the Northwestern University Law Review, Willamette University professor Keith Cunningham-Parmeter argues that giving American men a bonus will improve gender relations.

Specifically, Cunningham-Parmeter proposes giving men extra paid leave if they spend time at home with a newborn. He calls this the “fatherhood bonus” and it is something that men in other parts of the first world already get.

The “fatherhood bonus” could help to finally achieve workplace equity for women. The inequity of lower wages and less promotion opportunities for women is, partially, the result of the expectation that women will do the lion’s share of caring for children. Since women are expected to take paid leave to attend the family at home, the incentive to offer women raises and promotions wanes.

Related Story: Fashion Your Life: Dress for the Career You Want, Not for the One You Have

If men took equal time off to care for children (and our laws do allow for that) then employers might more seriously consider women for raises and promotions. Currently, men do take some time off to spend time with children. This time, though, is often limited only to the beginning of their children’s lives. Men aren’t expected to be there over the long-haul, women are. It’s simply countercultural, in a patriarchal culture, for men to take quality time off to spend time with their offspring. I mean, what would happen to their careers?

Women don’t have the luxury of choosing career over children or to have both. According to Cunningham-Parmeter, as quoted in Bloomberg, “Today the primary obstacle holding women back at work is not a ‘glass ceiling’ but a ‘maternal wall.’” Single ladies are affected just as much because, based on their condition as women, employers will quietly set caps on how long their careers will last. It’s maternal profiling.

Related Story: Stir the Ingredients for a Career Change

Employers are surely not thrilled at the idea of paying men more money to work less. After all, isn’t business all about driving down overhead? Cunningham-Parmeter suggests, Bloomberg reports, “a system modeled on experiments in California and New Jersey, where employees themselves fund dual-parental benefits through payroll taxes.”

Cunningham-Parmeter’s prescription is one possible solution to workplace inequity. Sadly, even he has no answer to the central problem of why men need to be motivated, some would say bribed, to care for their own children in the first place.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter!

Read our latest edition - Business Review USA 


Featured Articles

Hema Gokal: leading the Salesforce women's equality strategy

Always passionate about giving women a seat at the table, Hema Gokal is now spearheading Salesforce’s innovative new global female equality strategy

Top 10 cybersecurity specialists in the US

As cyber attacks grow in frequency and become increasingly sophisticated, Business Chief looks at the top 10 cybersecurity specialists in the US.

Silicon Valley Bank collapse: How did we get here?

US authorities have stepped in to protect all Silicon Valley Bank customers following the second-largest bank failure in the country's history

Top 10 best new leadership books by women to read in 2023

Leadership & Strategy

Eight of the best business leadership podcasts

Leadership & Strategy

CEO John Pagano, leading Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Global

Leadership & Strategy