What can men do to support women in the workplace and at home?

Men can do the same things women can do: recognize that we’re all actually capable both at work and at home, and act accordingly.

This is the paradigm shift that we need in order to advance the cause of gender equity in the workplace. It’s not just about men supporting women as equals in the workplace. It’s also about women supporting men as equals in caregiving.

Today’s workers, particularly young parents, want real equality in both places. That’s what the real data show. But some men and women in power are still holding onto Mad Men-era notions about gender roles. They’re acting as gender police in the workplace.

Here’s an example from my book, All In. Jay got a call at work, saying that there was an emergency. His wife was 38 weeks pregnant, the placenta stopped working, and the baby wasn’t moving. They had to induce right away. He, of course, left work. Everything worked out fine with the baby, fortunately. Jay missed just the rest of that week, so a total of a few days. When he came back to work on Monday, his boss called him and rebuked him for having taken off those days. That boss was a pregnant woman.

There’s also the case of a state trooper in Maryland whose boss refused him the time he was legally allowed to take off after the birth of his child. She told him women are supposed to care for babies unless they’re “in a coma or dead.” (You can see this and a lot more in the intro, free here.)

Men often get fired, demoted, or lose job opportunities when they take paternity leave, seek flexible schedules, or even openly acknowledge that they prioritize their families over their jobs. Families can’t afford to risk losing these incomes. So men end up being pushed to work more hours, while women get pushed to stay home. And the vicious cycle continues.

These stigmas and the other backward, sexist structures supporting them are what my legal case against Time Warner was about when I worked at CNN.

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