For a long while now, we have had some pretty public debates about how the rewards of parenting shake out along pretty traditional gender lines.
Even if we stopped counting the huge number of stories of pregnant workers who were threatened, made redundant or outright fired, moms still manage to take a lot of crap at work.
Remember the “Motherhood Penalty”? Based on the cumulative wage losses per child, the New York Times outright called parenting “one of the worst career moves a woman can make.” It’s not because moms are less productive workers; it’s entirely because of the gross, archaic way some employers think about gender roles in families.
By that same logic, those same employers believe men who parent will work harder, because they must be the breadwinner in the mythical nuclear family everyone in America lives in. (Cue eyeroll.) The data show that having a kid can actually help your career if you’re a man, hence, the “Fatherhood Bonus,” where promotions, raises and increased responsibility await you.
But dads are coming forward to say that the so-called bonus for new papas doesn’t actually tell the whole story.
According to the 2016 State of America’s Fathers report, “Daddy Stigma” effectively cancels out any “Fatherhood Bonus” men may get at work. In other words, so long as dads at work don’t actually have to be dads, the raises, promotions and benefits are preserved. Fathers who actively try to balance work and parenting, however, are punished for prioritizing family first.
Too many workplace policies still protect these old-fashioned gender norms and let down dads–and moms–in the process. Paid family leave and primary caregiver policies that position men as capable caregivers wouldn’t just help working dads, they’d help level the playing field for moms, too.
Motherhood penalty. Fatherhood bonus. Daddy stigma.
These are not, in fact, calls a referee made in some crude, new Olympic sport where your entire livelihood and the security of your children’s well-being are at stake. They are, however, deserving of our outrage and our outside voices. Now, go share this gif!