THIS Is Why #FierceWoman

women2I 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.”

He disagreed.

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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?

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THIS.

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.

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  • Joe Wrigley

    “Just as common” is simply not true. It’s maybe heading in that direction but it’s a long way off. Sharing a good part of the burden is certainly pretty normal but there are plenty of men over here who would consider taking an active role “babysitting” rather than just parenting. We still have a glass ceiling and we still have huge sexism. The grass really isn’t much greener here.

    • K Rain Leander

      Fair enough. This was definitely an unscientific methodology and hearing an opposing view point re: England is wonderful, even if it’s, you know, not so happy as I thought. I’m quite sure there are also people in the States who have an idealized view of Fathers and their role in the home and I would love to hear from them as well. Always always. The only time I restrict comments is when it’s spam or hate. All opinions welcome.

      • Lisa Pineau

        When we say the direction toward equalizing childcare for parents is established, in the U.S. we are describing fantasy. A sea-change is really needed. Every sojourner for a better way of life deserves our gratitude, and has mine.

    • Lisa Pineau

      As you describe it, much greener.

  • Lisa Pineau

    Love your thought of a difference in cultural mind-set inevitable when a strong female leader was your norm growing up. Inevitable whenever there’s a current or recent female prime minister of your own country. The existence of a powerful historical female leader is a great foundation, as well. Cultural experience is the purveyor of a better attitude, behavior. Americans just got Harriet Tubman, first female printed on money. Next we need a female head of state. Here’s for the liberation of men and women for co-equal parenting.

  • Lisa Pineau

    Why, in part, I’m so stoked about HRC. One, she’s qualified to serve. Two, she will change the national conversation, open cultural references. States so need it, incredibly provincial many places. Bumpy road, but all good. Brighter.