Time to Innovate How We Work So That Caregiving is Valued. Men want to be with their children too!

The Risky Business of Paternity Leave | Scott Coltrane, The Atlantic

As a family sociologist, I’ve spent decades studying how and why men might take more responsibility for childcare and housework. My colleagues at the University of Oregon and I recently reported that when men take time off from work to care for family members, their long-term earnings are depressed. We’ve known this about women for some time, but because we haven’t typically studied men as parents, we haven’t isolated how fathers’ work and family situations might compare. We are finally in a position to draw some conclusions about whether we should be encouraging fathers to take family leave.

Research shows that working men and women tend to make different adjustments when they become parents. Women typically reduce their work hours, while men typically increase theirs. And when women take maternity leave or temporarily cut back to part-time, many employers, rightly or wrongly, perceive them to be less committed to their jobs. These women end up on a “mommy track,” where they earn less than non-mothers and single men—and substantially less than married fathers. In fact, when men become parents, their earnings tend to go up. Continue Reading…

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