A crazy thing happened during the pandemic, women (or a partner) took on most of the responsibility for looking after the children in the house. This includes laundry, school, meals, playtime and the list goes on. The burden skyrocketed. It’s 2021 and we still don’t share full responsibility for raising families in our homes.
As everyone begins to rethink their lives in the post-pandemic world, we need to get back to focus on women’s equality. What has changed dramatically since the 1960s, when most women had few job opportunities besides teachers and secretaries, is that women can now do anything. They can start a company, become Vice President of the United States (one day president), CEO of a publicly traded company, basically anything they want to be.
The time has come for companies to force paternity leave on the men in their companies. No choice. I still see men returning to work a few weeks later, if not sooner, when the woman stays home for months and grows into motherhood. If men did that, they would have a very different understanding and commitment to family unity.
There is no doubt that after years couples fall into a cadence together. One does the laundry; you go for a walk with the dog, fetch the groceries, cook the meals and tidy up. People fall into what they like to do. In a perfect world everyone finds their happy responsibilities without much hostility.
If everyone had six months to be at home with their newborns, we would see more equality at home and at work. Promotions will continue to take place, career development will continue to take place. But it’s up to the people at the top of any company to accept that. Happy families tend to produce happy people, and companies that put families first will see better productivity and loyalty. It’s just common sense.
In addition, the following paragraph is from an opinion article in NYTimes by Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) is a journalist and lawyer specializing in gender and politics. She is the author of OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind and The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. I totally agree with her.
We should spend less time looking after birth rates and more time developing guidelines to support families of all kinds – because it’s just the right thing to do. We should combine this with a conscious cultural change that doesn’t require women to give up so much of themselves (and so much of their potential and so many other desires) when they have children. That might not lead to a baby boom, but it would serve a more worthy goal: healthier families and happier citizens, each a little bit more free to choose what makes a good life.