I was talking with a [white male English] colleague the other day about parenting and working, specifically, about whether it is the mother or the father who seems to be the one to cut down hours / stop working / be the primary care giver and basically stop developing their career when a child arrives.
I said that the cultural norm is the woman.
“Oh, I think you might be just plain wrong there.”
I was shocked. I personally know several female colleagues in the States who are struggling with a new baby while the father sleeps in on the weekend, stays out late with colleagues, and calls it “baby sitting”.
“My generation grew up under a woman prime minister.”
And then it hit me.
My generation did not grow up under a strong female leader. And we’re the same age, this colleague and I. No wonder his cultural norm and mine are so divergent – in England the stay at home father is just as common as the stay at home mother. And he personally knows several male friends who do just that. With TWINS.
I am very fortunate in that I have an AMAZING husband who often is the primary care giver while I travel for work, sometimes for an entire week, but this is not the cultural norm in America.
Can you imagine the difference it would make to grow up in a culture with a strong female leader? With a diverse STEM workforce? With no one batting an eye at stay at home dads?
This is why I volunteer for Django Girls. Why I dedicate an entire day to Women. Why I’m doing an entire podcast to inspire women to pursue STEM careers. Why I call myself feminist and fight for social justice.
And I hope you will, too.