Pssst, we’ve got a secret. Mom Corps isn’t just for Moms. In fact, it’s not just for women. We at Mom Corps are invested in fabulous client partners and candidates of all genders. So we think it’s high time that we discuss the fact that in the world of work/life balance, men have it tough, too.
Although men aren’t as vocal about work/life struggle, a recent Citi study indicates that they are struggling nonetheless. The survey results come in the wake of a larger movement in America to move away from labeling work-life balance dilemmas “women’s issues.”
• Many executives say balance was very difficult to maintain early in their careers. A 2013 Pew Research Study on working families found that 46% of fathers reported they don’t think they spend enough time with their children versus 23% of mothers.
• Although most new dads are not vocal about the shortage of paternity leave offered them, 80% of new dads in a recent Boston College study took an “informal” path to a paternity leave whereby they piece together leave using vacation time and personal days without having to have a conversation with their boss.
• There currently exists an “unwritten hierarchy” of career flexibility opportunities at most firms, and men are low on the totem pole. These opportunities are more readily available to women with kids, as the assumption remains that “real” men don’t need or want work-life integration.
The unfortunate reality for men is that gender-associated roles prevent men from being a part of the work life integration agenda at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.
So what can be done?
It starts with a shift in attitude. Everyone’s attitude. Firms, women,and men themselves have to re-align their thinking to allow everyone to break out of a system that regards workplace flexibility as a gender-based option. Championing the cause of men does not take away from the challenges faced by women in any way. What it CAN do is help create a new wave of workplace environments openly committed to the needs of ALL employees.