Work Life Balance

American Dads Aren’t Taking Paternity Leave Due To Super Lame Office Daddy Stigma

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American Dads Aren t Taking Paternity Leave Due To Super Lame Office Daddy Stigma dad with baby jpgOther countries may have mandated paternity leave, but here in the United States we’re just begging for the basics, like decent maternity leave. Companies like Yahoo that give new daddies eight weeks of paid time off are in the minority on this side of the ocean. But even among the Lean In crowd’s male partners, specifically men who are privileged enough to have access to this type of leave, dudes aren’t taking it. And it all comes back to being taunted at the water cooler by their colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 15 percent of firms in the United States have PAID LEAVE for new papas. Furthermore, a 2012 study reportedly determined that although 69 percent of mommies take parental leave, only 12 percent of daddies do. Consider also that, according to a 2011 study of workers at four Fortune 500 companies by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, 85 percent of new dads do absolutely take time off for a new baby. But that time off is primarily a week or two.

The data suggests that post-millennial dads often do want to be more proactive in their families, but there is a work-life balance issue at hand:

Sixty percent of fathers in dual-earner couples reported feeling conflict between work and family responsibilities in 2008, compared with 35% who felt that way in 1977, according to the Families and Work Institute.

What researchers are becoming increasingly more aware of, however, is some ” lingering stereotypes” in the workplace about how men should be contributing to their families. It would seem that despite it being 2013, many employers still envision our households to run much like a Mad Men episode. For a growing number of American homes, this image of the SAHM Betty Draper style simply isn’t accurate — and the higher ups clearly need to be reminded of that fact:

“There’s still a stigma associated with men who put parenting on an equal footing with their jobs,” said Scott Coltrane, a sociologist at the University of Oregon. “Most employers still assume that work comes first for men, while women do all the child care.”

Despite the rise of fathers’ networks in some companies, many men who openly identify with their parental role at work face pressure or resentment from co-workers. A forthcoming paper from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found that men who are active caregivers get teased and insulted at work more than so-called traditional fathers and men without children.

Actually helping to raise, clothe, feed, and transport your children? Well, then you’re not a manly man. Real men just assume that their female partner will handle everything:

Active fathers are seen as distracted and less dedicated to their work—the same perception that harms career prospects for many working mothers, said Jennifer Berdahl, the study’s lead author, adding that such men are accused of being wimpy or henpecked by their wives.

Not only do these one-dimensional stereotypes about masculinity consistently slight men, but now they’re hindering some of the crucial changes needed to transform our workplace culture. LEAN IN to changing that nonsense, dads.

(photo: Rob Marmion / Shutterstock)

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