Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dad's Want to Spend More Time With Kids: Feminism to the Rescue

CNN reports results from a survey that found that 37 % of Dad's would like to be full-time stay-at-home fathers if their spouse made enough money to support them.

Nearly one in four (24 percent) working dads feel work is negatively impacting their relationship with their children. Forty-eight percent have missed a significant event in their child's life due to work at least once in the last year and nearly one in five (18 percent) have missed four or more.

According to the survey, the time working dads spend on work far exceeds the time spent with their children.

More than one in four (27 percent) working dads say they spend more than 50 hours a week on work and nearly one in 10 (8 percent) spend more than 60 hours.

In terms of the time they spend with their children, one in four (25 percent) working dads spend less than one hour with their kids each day. Forty-two percent spend less than two hours each day.

While more companies today are offering various programs and options to promote work/life balance, some working dads say their employers are lacking in this area.

Thirty-six percent of working dads say their company does not offer flexible work arrangements such as flexible schedules, telecommuting, job sharing and more.

When I read "trend" articles like this, I cannot help but wonder why on earth feminism gets such a universally bad rap. What does feminism bring to this problem: well, first of all a wealth of women who would be happy if their husband stayed at home. Secondly, feminists have been campaigning for a long, long time for changes to the workplace to accomodate families--not just working women.

Why haven't feminists made more headway in these endeavors? Well, because the men--you know, the ones at the power table--haven't exactly stood behind these initiatives. I am assuming that the men surveyed here aren't exactly the "managers," who would have the power to restructure the workplace in ways more accomodating to their parenting role. But, even so, these men who want to spend time with their children need to start paying attention to what feminists have been arguing for decades, and hell, get behind them.

I don't see the "family values" crowd helping these Dads out; after all, their warped conservative worldview leads them to conclude that Dad is being a good Dad when he sees his child for only an hour a day. His role is to support the family, while the more naturally nurturing mother stays home to rear them. (Side note: Za just said that he should stay home since I am not very maternal!)

So, if men want more options and flexibility in their work schedules, then dammit, stop fighting feminism and get behind it.