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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Professor Joan Williams on the Flexibility Stigma for Men

Many working fathers face similar pressures to conform to a traditional gender role that insists they be “all in” for work, regardless of achievement level and regardless of family responsibilities.

Today’s fathers spend three times as much time with their children and twice as much time on housework than dads did a generation ago, and

Men aspire to be even more involved in their families than they are. As a result, it has been reported that dads experience at least as much work-family conflict as mothers, and that in some ways, men are facing a funhouse-mirror version of women’s struggles to attain success at both work and at home.

The Flexibility Stigma Working Group at The Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law, consisting of researchers from over a dozen universities, just published a series of research studies in the excellent new issue of the Journal of Social Issues. About half of their articles focus on barriers men face in the workplace as they try to balance work and family demands. Among their findings:

While men value work flexibility, they are reluctant to seek out flexible work arrangements because of fears of being seen as uncommitted and unmanly, and expectations of potential career consequences. These fears, unfortunately, prove to be well-founded.

Read more on Harvard Business Review

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