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Why Don't We Call Them Working Dads?

Posted by Patrick Ball on 13 Jul 2015

Why don't we call modern dads working dads?

Nobody likes labels. 

You don't want to be known as the nosey guy or the stubborn girl in the office, for example. Labels, especially when they're misguided or misapplied, can brand someone in a negative light that's hard to shake. This is part of the reason that whole #BanBossy campaign took off. 

But sometimes the modifiers matter. They can be a source of strength, and a badge of honor that must be worn proudly until it doesn't need to be worn at all anymore. 

Let me give you two examples: female CEO and working dad. 

Both of these topics are about gender parity in the workplace. But even more than that, they're about productivity, engagement, loyalty and, at the end of the day, they're about performance. 

The former is a loaded topic -- considering that for every woman who runs an S.&P. 1500 firm, there are four men named John, Robert, William or James -- and we'll take this up again at another time. 

So let's dive into the latter a little bit. 

Supporting working moms is always a hot topic -- has been as increased female work force participation has trended upwards for decades. But conversations about modern dads in the workplace has have been heating up lately, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. 

Here are some of the things we know about this population of so-called modern dads:

  • Paternity leave is important to them, but they fear losing out on advancement opportunities if they take time off work for family 
  • The mothers of their children -- wives or otherwise -- are mostly working 
  • They are spending more time on caregiving and helping out around the house -- and want to share these responsibilities more equally 
  • They're more engaged as parents, but no less ambitious in their careers than past generations 

Working moms still wear their label, but as the conversation around child care is framed as an economic imperative rather than a women's issue and the parental leave debate expands to include paternity leave, maybe it's time they start sharing it with dads. 

There's an argument to be made that subtle societal discriminations against men as parents perpetuate gender biases against women in the workforce by making it more difficult for parents to equally share the breadwinner-caregiver roles.

Join us on Tuesday, July 21 when we'll tackle these topics and more in a free webinar featuring workplace and parenting experts from Fatherly, the Boston College Center for Work and Family, Chartbeat and Care.com. 

Our interactive conversation will look at issues such as:

  • The rise of paternity leave
  • Challenges today's fathers face in navigating work and family issues
  • How employers can leverage their support for working dads as a competitive advantage

Click here to register for the webinar and join our discussion. And don't be shy -- enter your questions for our panelists in the form on the next page. 

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