Last week, The New York Times published a fairly straight forward news piece on the bountiful array of studies conducted here and in other parts of the world that suggest that offering paternity leave to new fathers could actually help stimulate the U.S. economy while also supporting women in their quest for work/life balance. The piece starts off with a brief anecdote from writer Catherine Rampell’s personal experience, about having two relationships come to an end because the men she was dating expressed a desire to see her eventually put aside her career, at least temporarily, should their relationship become so serious that they get married and have children. She writes:
I don’t pretend to know how common this situation is, and how many other young women have found themselves in it. But it clarified not only the choices that future mothers must make about their careers, but also how early in their careers they must begin to think about them. And while fairness and feminism may urge us to find better ways for women to balance work and life — Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter have certainly made impassioned cries — the most convincing argument seems to be an economic one.
The rest Rampell’s piece focuses on how women who hope to have children someday have a better shot at being successful at “leaning in” at work if their male partners are “leaning in” more at home, and are being given the support to do so via things like paternity leave. And, more importantly, should the United States follow in the footsteps of countries like Sweden and Norway and offer paternity leave, it would not only benefit those straight couples who chose to partake in more balanced work-life accommodations, but the economy as a whole. Men would be given the flexibility to spend those precious early weeks with their children, women wouldn’t find putting their careers on the backburner the more financially feasible option, and, by keeping more women in the workforce, the economy would grow. Rampell offers a whole bunch of supporting evidence and, all in all, it is one of the least objectionable pieces I’ve read on the benefits of our society striving towards equality for men and women at work and in the home.
But lo and behold, one person managed to be deeply offended by Rampell’s article: Tom Matlack, the founding editor of The Good Men Project, who published a response called “What’s A Guy To Do?”, which, among other things, calls Rampell’s piece an “attack on dads-at-large.” Say what? Continue reading