Gender imbalance in the workplace

by L

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women

Totebaggers, how would you suggest decreasing sexism and increasing the number of women in tech? Law? Banking? Other fields? On the other side of the coin, how would you increase the number of men in “pink collar” jobs? Or would you rather leave well enough alone? If gender gaps in certain jobs/industries don’t bother you, why not?

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283 thoughts on “Gender imbalance in the workplace

  1. I only realized today that I should have scheduled this post for yesterday, which happened to be Equal Pay Day.

  2. On the second point/article, I think many men still feel a stigma to doing “women’s work.” I don’t know which is the chicken and which is the egg for traditionally women’s jobs having lower status. Working in one of those fields, I do agree that men get treated differently. Even when I was a floor nurse, many patients assumed I was a doctor. I’m sure part of that is generational.

  3. I think it is very difficult because sexism in the workplace stems from sexism in our society. You don’t just stop being sexist because you enter your workplace. On the face of it, many would argue that one of my employers was not sexist because the pay and benefits the women received were equal to the mens, with the same level of education/experience. However, the work the women were required to do to receive that same level of pay was higher than the men’s. Even some of the men could see the difference on the performance level required to get the same ratings.

    I agree that we have a segment of our society that is being pushed out of jobs either by technology or exporting jobs to lower cost countries, if not some combination of the two. From personal experience, I think when people hit a certain age, it is harder for them to take a job that is less prestigous or pays significantly less than what they had before. It is also hard for some people to accept changes in their industry and get them to invest in retraining themselves on their own nickle.

  4. I think men and women are, on average, different and have different job preferences, so the fact that they are overrepresented in some jobs vs. others doesn’t bother me. I agree with AustinMom that it’s wrong when women need to have a higher level of performance to get the same rating. Working at a company where, across a large group, pay and (I think) ratings for women had to pass a T-test has helped a lot. More companies should use statistics to evaluate themselves.

    T-tests don’t solve everything. At both my schools, half the people in the top 10% of electrical/computer engineering majors were women and women represented only ~10% of the class, so half of the women were in the top decile. To me, it seems clear that lack of technical skill/aptitude isn’t a factor in women’s lack of success in tech. On a website listing the top few dozen people at the global company I contract for, only 5% were female. I believe this is because of discrimination against caregivers, not discrimination against women. (The men I know who reach top levels have SAH wives and I’m pretty sure the brilliant female R&D director is a single butch lesbian. In either case, rewards accrue to people committed to traveling around the world on the company’s schedule.)

    The lack of jobs for unskilled men bothers me quite a lot and I think that is changing generationally. In my experience, men are still more willing to, for example, work nights and receive the associated shift premium which explains at least part of the pay gap. Where I work, men techs are more likely to have an electronics degree and/or military experience, which gets them in the door at a higher pay grade (at least ~2-3 decades ago when everyone started) and they keep the higher slots filled. My women techs (all in their 50’s too) tend to be women who had families in their early 20’s and worked their way into their jobs based on raw intelligence, not credentials or military training.

    Based on the lack of men at any childcare my children have attended, I’m not holding my breath for gender equality among childcare providers.

  5. WCE – on the childcare work force, I think there is a strong bias from parents that the care givers be women. Not saying it’s right, or exists in every place, just sayin’. And movies like Daddy Daycare while funny, probably don’t help the situation.

  6. Have you met those tech guys? A whole lot of them are mondo jerks. I know because some of them are my dear childhood friends. They can be total bozos socially, and those are the good ones!

    I had dinner with three of them the other month and I finally had to say, “I think that’s enough anal penetration jokes now, guys.”

  7. WCE – My kids had 3 male day care “teachers” over time, but never were there only 2 males in a room with the kids. I don’t know if that was on purpose or not. I think it really helped with balance in temperments – they were in the 2-3 yr old room and 3-5 yr old room. We are seeing more male middle school and late elementary teachers at the school my girls went to. I was surprised at how many parents were thrilled. The MS now has more male teachers than female teachers.

  8. I remember some 38 years ago being a grad student in engineering giving birth on a Friday and delivering a lecture the following Monday to EE students . I was desperately fearful that I would faint behind the lecturn . My husband was in professional school , my GTA was our sole income . I was told I would lose my GTA stipend if I didn’t teach the class . Needless to say I taught the class . I don’t think that sort of mistreatment happens to grad students these days , not even in southern state universities .

  9. What I see in my work place is that women are given an equal opportunity to advance. However, the work expectations both for men and women are such that you can’t be primary person responsible for the family if you have one.
    The women in many top positions are for most part single with no families or older.
    Women of color are prominently being highlighted and promoted but if you look they have gone to top schools and have impressive resumes which very few of their peers can match. It’s almost like a check the box on the requirements.

  10. Fred, good point. My son worries about his ability to be a good dad. There are studies that show that statistically, black men are likely to be involved parents, but that is not the popular message about dads, especially black dads.

  11. I loved the movie, Hidden Figures and I wanted to know more about those women so I read the book after I saw the movie. I also read as much as possible about a few of these women. One of the things that the movie doesn’t show accurately is how brutal the hours were for these engineers. Many of the real life women had to live away from their families for long periods of time.

    When I really worked on investment banking deals, the hours were unpredictable and long. As bad as it was for the bankers, it was even worse for the attorneys that would work into the night to incorporate all of our requests to present to a client the next day.

    We talk about this a lot, but some of this comes down to hard choices. You can’t be in two places at once and it you want to be some what present for a family, there are certain jobs that don’t work. I was able to move into the group that was responsible for all of these deals once they closed. My hours were still long, but it was more predictable. Women and men can find MANY career choices in banking and law, but you have to be willing to sacrifice your personal life for some of these jobs. There is definitely still sexism, but it is also people leaving or side stepping for different reasons.

  12. What I was trying to say was that the rank and file women of color look at the promoted executive as an example that they can rise to the top but they don’t necessarily pay attention to those unsaid requirements.

  13. Outlook has started an “other” inbox, even online. If you think you’re missing some emails, that’s where they probably are.

  14. Have you met those tech guys? A whole lot of them are mondo jerks. I know because some of them are my dear childhood friends. They can be total bozos socially, and those are the good ones!

    It seems that boys are 4x as likely to have ASD as girls. One of the symptoms, in addition to poor social skills, is hyper-focused interests. The first article mentioned brilliance but I think they don’t mean true brilliance they mean an Aspergery hyper-focused talent.

  15. “The women in many top positions are for most part single with no families or older.”

    That’s been true for just about every place I’ve worked.

    “Women of color are prominently being highlighted ”

    When I was working in one heavily male-dominated field I was used for an ad and in company literature.

    For the most part I don’t see the need to push hard to eliminate gender gaps because I don’t see huge benefits and I believe the gaps are mainly due to legitimate personal choice. Plus I’ve seen affirmative action efforts backfire and hurt the people they intend to help.

  16. For the most part I don’t see the need to push hard to eliminate gender gaps because I don’t see huge benefits and I believe the gaps are mainly due to legitimate personal choice.

    When they were telling WCE that math was for boys and she shouldn’t bother with it, you’re fine with that?

  17. “When they were telling WCE that math was for boys and she shouldn’t bother with it, you’re fine with that?”

    No, I think attempts should be made to correct that. At the same time, I don’t think educators should do things like give extra credit to 6-grade math students for intricate 1-inch geometric origami creations because it helps girls get better grades.

  18. I believe the gaps are mainly due to legitimate personal choice

    I am in a client-based industry. Could loosely be called consulting. At my last company, the CEO of a large organization called me and asked if I could work with them. The CEO had met me at various industry-events and decided to use our company, with me as the primary contact.

    When I told my boss this, instead of the praise and excitement I expected, I was told he wasn’t comfortable with the job being led by me, and he thought it needed “a man to provide the gravitas.” I was instructed to take a senior man with me to my next meeting with the CEO. Keep in mind, I was 40 years old and well acknowledged as the expert in my particular specialty.

    I quit the next month, and started my own company instead. And took the client with me. I just don’t have the bandwidth to do bring in the clients, do the work, AND deal with that bullshit.

    So I slightly disagree the gaps are mainly due to legitimate personal choice.

  19. No, I think attempts should be made to correct that.

    So you agree that some teachers do that and it needs to be addressed. But, apparently, no other groups or industry thinks and acts with the same biases so it doesn’t need to be addressed.

  20. “For the most part I don’t see the need to push hard to eliminate gender gaps because I don’t see huge benefits and I believe the gaps are mainly due to legitimate personal choice. Plus I’ve seen affirmative action efforts backfire and hurt the people they intend to help.”

    From what I have heard/read, in tech that is not even remotely true. Spend a little time reading about how women are treated in the gaming community and in a variety of online forums and it is clear there is a vocal minority of men who Do Not Want girls allowed in the clubhouse, and who will actively discourage them, to the point of vituperative personal attacks that are intentionally designed to silence them and make them go away. And that’s not even beginning to consider the kind of “soft” sexism described in the Atlantic article. I mean, sure, it still comes down to “personal choice,” in the context of “it’s my personal choice to quit instead of being constantly belittled, overlooked, and treated as though I have nothing of value to offer,” but I don’t think that makes it acceptable. So fix all of that first; if there are still significant disparities in who goes into tech and who succeeds in those fields, then we can talk about the impact of personal choice.

    It’s funny, I have been hanging out on the MMM forums more of late, and one of the similarities I have seen is that many, many MMM types are techies. And for many of them, the idea is to work their ass off for high pay for a few years, reach a particular level of financial independence, and then move somewhere gorgeous and telecommute, or consult, or work part-time/on a contract basis, or whatever. That is a tremendous amount of freedom to have, and some of these tech jobs are much more amenable to that plan than other kinds of jobs (like mine). And it pisses me off that young women are disproportionately excluded from those kinds of opportunities because of the whole frat boy mentality.

    I have a daughter who could easily end up in one of these fields in just a few years; yeah, she’s still thinking med school, but boy she loves her engineering class, and she is taking to the EE work like a duck to water. The thought of her being forced to deal with the kind of overt sexist bullshit described in the Atlantic article — in the 21st century, no less — makes me angrier than just about anything else.

  21. I quit the next month, and started my own company instead. And took the client with me. I just don’t have the bandwidth to do bring in the clients, do the work, AND deal with that bullshit.

    Yes! Go, Lark!!

    If decisions were made according to legitimate personal choice, I’d be fine with that. Can you give me an example where that is the way it is done, instead of assumptions being made about what people want/can do based on their gender? Not every woman who has kids wants to back off on work, not every man who becomes a dad wants to increase his pay so much that he’ll be extra-motivated to work longer and harder.

    Laura, start reading up on gender discrimination lawsuits. Seriously, you could help your daughter and a whole bunch of other women.

  22. I’m optimistic that examples like Lark’s will be much less common in 20 years as more women become decision makers. I’ve worked with many GREAT female managers and Mr WCE has a female manager he really likes right now. I remember going toe-to-toe with a 60ish Israeli software engineer at a Bay Area meeting when I was 23, and my colleagues being shocked that I could be such a bi&*h, because that’s not my preferred mode of operation.

    I’m not optimistic that women will become as crude as men, so I’m not optimistic that examples like RMS’s will change much. Statistics showing men have an advantage because a few men are sexist turds don’t tell us how often nice, decent men are left out of opportunities in the same way women are. My now-retired mentor observed that he left Intel in part because he didn’t like the ultracompetitiveness, crudeness and argumentativeness, similar to what Melinda Gates wrote about Microsoft in the ’80’s in an article I posted on the politics post recently. My current manager was part of a prestigious program for fast-track managers and left it because he didn’t want his family life to be like those of the people he was shadowing.

    One of my colleagues shared this video parody of the Korean situation with positive acknowledgement to me/young moms a couple weeks ago. I think my colleagues either don’t care or recognize/agree with my choice to prioritize family over career and don’t complain when I call into a meeting due to a sick kid, etc. That’s a change from 20 years ago.

    http://www.redstate.com/ameliahamilton/2017/03/19/woman-handled-bbc-interview/

    Overall, it seems that the people (male or female) who rise in competitive, prestigious roles value professional accomplishment over relationships/caregiving.

    And go Lark! Your personal triumph over the turd made my day.

  23. I’m optimistic that examples like Lark’s will be much less common in 20 years as more women become decision makers

    But the problem is that women will never become decision makers so long as that gap exists. Just as I’m sure for many of the lawyers here, my “power” at the company was based on how many clients I had, and what my book of business was. When the decision makers had the power to affect my clients and my book, I could never reach the top level of being a decision maker myself. The only way to change my own circumstance was to leave and take my book with me. I was helpless to change anything internally.

    So I am vastly less optimistic than WCE, because I don’t think that dynamic is changing any time soon in companies like the one I left.

  24. I don’t know if other posters remember crunchyMBAmom (or something that, I might have her handle wrong). It’s been years since she posted anything, but she made an impression on me because I believe she dealt with some of the same issues.

    (I could have the wrong poster. It’s been a long, long time.)

  25. Lark, I remember her, and miss her.

    WCE, I missed your post on the other thread. I’m going to guess that she was saying her husband was a nice guy and for once the nice guy didn’t finish last. What changes has he implemented throughout his company and its suppliers to make sure that the fraturds don’t have the advantage? It can’t be just at higher levels because then the filed of candidates is weighted.

  26. I work in a pretty male dominated industry and have been fairly lucky not to face too much overt sexism but its definitely there. From people being shocked I like or know anything about sports (that one drives me bananas) to general comments about my appearance its sometimes demoralizing.

    I myself have to occasionally wonder if certain situations are happening because i’m a woman. You encounter a lot of this in production. It’s very male dominated with a lot of drinking and camaraderie at the end of the day and i definitely know that women get/feel left out for many reasons.

  27. I am both optimistic and pessimistic.
    Optimistic because whether you agree/deride them, those STEM programs in schools today have exposed girls to previously male dominated fields at younger ages. I also see the Girls can’t do Math changing again because it is part of STEM.
    Pessimistic because the situation Lark mentions is like the sexist questions my Mom was asked at her interviews for promotion in the home country. My Mom came back from one interview fuming that all her accomplishments were set aside and the focus was on her home situation and her religion.

  28. I find it annoying that people who don’t drink experience professional discrimination in the same way I find it annoying that women experience professional discrimination.

    To anyone interested, I attended Margaret Burnett’s talk on gender inclusive software at the SWE banquet and people with interest (LfB’s daughter?) might enjoy this talk- not sure about access.

    Summary: Women hate buggy software more than men, and if female physicians hate your buggy healthcare software, they won’t buy/use it and you won’t make money, so you should care.

    https://rockchalkcentral.ku.edu/organization/acm/calendar/details/1291047

  29. I’m optimistic that examples like Lark’s will be much less common in 20 years as more women become decision makers

    I remember feeling that way back in the 80s.

    Although there are women in ag, they are still relatively few and far between. DH works with a couple of twenty something women that he plans to introduce DD to this summer. They have a sort of girl gang to combat the old boys network. If DD wants to come back to ag, she will need to join up with some sort of single gender and mixed gender groups to maintain/develop business ties.

    I am old enough, established enough that most people see me, not my gender. If someone wants to be an idiot, they can because I have other options. However, i have our operating loan assigned to another loan officer because the current loan officer only listens to DH. Beyond irritating.

    Still, the sexism I deal with in the ag industry pales to what I saw in academia and government. I remember one professor being astounded that a woman could farm. I also dealt with that level of ignorance in government.

  30. I find it annoying that people who don’t drink experience professional discrimination in the same way I find it annoying that women experience professional discrimination.

    There is a difference between not drinking and not going to a quasi social business gathering. If you don’t drink, or don’t want to drink or don’t want it obvious that you aren’t drinking, order a club soda with a lime. It looks close enough to a gin and tonic.

  31. Pseudonym, my situation was in Asia where an evening of drinking is part of the culture. In part because I was a young woman, I don’t think my refusal had any negative impact on the business relationship.

    I wish you could have seen the faces of the Japanese engineers at lunch when I was pregnant with Baby WCE and they learned she is my fourth child.

  32. I wish you could have seen the faces of the Japanese engineers at lunch when I was pregnant with Baby WCE and they learned she is my fourth child.

    I can only imagine. We used to host international visitors. I remember one time the Chinese delegation was astounded that I used the internet.

  33. There is a difference between not drinking and not going to a quasi social business gathering.

    I can’t remember the situation but someone was having an issue because they wouldn’t “go get a cup of coffee” because they didn’t like coffee. Someone pointed out that “get a cup of coffee” doesn’t mean you have to get coffee. Go out for a drink doesn’t mean you have to “drink.”

  34. DH was in a group that had a minority woman added to it. His boss seemed to ramp up the racist and sexist jokes on her entering. I actually pressured DH to go to HR about – DH had very little to lose. He did and HR basically told him it was no big deal and he shouldn’t be so sensitive. If I recall, he actually was sending some of these things out via email. This was a Fortune 500 company. Also, boss was hosting UFC pay-per-view events at his house on the weekends for the team – except for the woman. It was ridiculous. DH left the job a few months later, and I have no idea how it shook out.

    Anyway, I’ve heard too many of these stories to think it can all be chalked up to the tough choices and tradeoff we all have to make.

  35. Psuedo, that’s one way of dealing with it. There are lots of ways to deal with not drinking that are very different from not being a certain gender or color. I used to drink iced tea at happy hour very openly. I think it worked because I was very much a regular fixture and participant in discussions. Every once in a while people would decide to get a pitcher of ale or something I liked instead of the usual PBR, and I’d nurse a glass over the next 2 hours. No problem.

  36. ” I don’t think my refusal had any negative impact on the business relationship. ”

    Then why does it bother you?

  37. Ada, good for your husband! I think white guys have to be part of the solution for it to work.

  38. I get so mad that we seem to be stuck in the same place as 20-30 years ago – the whole “when we get enough women in the pipeline, then…” – and yet it hasn’t happened. Blerg.

    WCE, I agree with you that society undervalues caregiving. How do we fix that?

  39. yet it hasn’t happened. Blerg.

    Maybe because women have many of the same biases?

  40. From a different perspective at a less exalted professional level, I am old enough to recall when there were no male flight attendants, only stewardesses, and they had to resign upon marriage. The marriage ban was the first thing to go as the job of flight attendant gained increased respect, but having men join the ranks and unionization completed the change. (The fact that many of the male flight attendants were gay did not eliminate the status increase.)

  41. Rhett – I don’t think that is the primary cause. One, power begets power. If you find someone to mentor, that someone is more likely than not to look just like you. So see all the law firms when the old white guys mentor all the young white guys, and then the young white guys grow up to mentor other young white guys, etc. In all of these industries the women who find/cultivate powerful male mentors (think Lawrence Summers/Sheryl Sandberg) are few and far between. Two, kids. Women are still the people who carry and bear kids, and when you couple that with the utter lack of support we have in this country (no paid parental leave), there is an automatic disadvantage for women, either when you have kids or when people notice that you are of childbearing age and automatically discount you as a worker.

  42. “But, apparently, no other groups or industry thinks and acts with the same biases so it doesn’t need to be addressed.”

    Is that your opinion?

    Lark, good for you!

  43. “I’ve heard too many of these stories to think it can all be chalked up to the tough choices and tradeoff we all have to make.”

    Me too – an experienced them. One of the reasons that I really value the company that I am at now is that the instances of casual and non-so-casual sexism in the workplace is way lower than anywhere else I have worked. I actually feel as though women do have pretty close to equal opportunity here, at least in my office. Perhaps not in the wider global company or even our NY office.

    Of course, still with the need for “always on” in the C-suite level jobs – but I don’t think we’ll ever get away from that. I accept that and see the reasons why to a certain extent. I am not interested in any of those jobs, but neither are most of my male coworkers. I am more concerned about the casual sexist assumptions made in the lower and middle-management.

  44. “society undervalues caregiving. How do we fix that?”

    The value proposition needs to change. Somehow the parents of the kids in daycare or the payers for basic medical/personal helping out need to be made to feel the service is worth more. Costco has been highlighted, but there are other retailers out there who pay more and therefore can demand/get better qualified people to work in their stores. So clearly some companies have figured out how to make the premium-pay model work for them.

    In many ways, this is just an economics question. Supply and demand. Many caregiving jobs are low skill. Not no skill, but low. Which means there are few barriers to entry. And people can move in and out of many caregiving positions, or work part time thru an agency, e.g. CNA to suit THEIR needs. There are lots of people who are willing to be caregivers and so the providers have built their businesses around ~minimum wage to start with small increases after. Maybe caregiving is the new entry-level position, that and fast food, for the low skill/qualification set. Just not for men, based on the article.

    Kind of like the “days without __________” (immigrants, women recently) the only way for society to notice the value provided is to show what things would be like without. But few low-paid caregivers can afford to quite literally strike to better their lot.

  45. L, I don’t know how to get society to “value” caregiving. Most societies haven’t, historically. I value it for social/religious reasons that are not part of economic thought. I am usually OK with that choice, except once in a while when the Blog discusses financial choices I don’t have. Then I get over it and return to my very nice life.

    Go, Ada’s husband! To the extent I agree with feminism, I really prefer the European version (women bear children and have limitations/obligations during pregnancy and the months after birth that men don’t) to the U.S. version where equality between the sexes is the primary goal.

    Mr WCE’s manager has a child the same age as Baby WCE, so they were on parental leave at the same time but if neither of them did hiring interviews, they’d miss out on that year’s hiring cycle. Mr WCE volunteered to do the interviews instead of his (female) manager, because “It’s easier to be the father of a newborn than the mother.”

  46. ” I am more concerned about the casual sexist assumptions made in the lower and middle-management.”

    This just clicked for me: the worst boss I had, the dean of my college in W Texas, had left a BoA job with a golden parachute and finagled his way into a job through the provost, who was a good ole boy like him. His assumptions about me just struck me as bizarre sometimes. Don’t take the work laptop home? Then why did the previous dean give special funds for me to have a laptop? He bought some decor for the hallways once and seemed to think there was something wrong with me, single mother of a 4-5 year old, working full time, not having heard of the store, as if I’d be out shopping for hoppity bunnies at the Christmas store during the hours I was not using the laptop. My apparently not-feminine way of speaking also pissed him off. All very clear gender bias. My dept chair there is now provost. I wish he’d can this guy. He was also angry about the way I was treated. I assume he’s at least reining in the most egregious stuff.

  47. WCE, many European countries have parental leave, not just maternity leave. In some places a part of it is only for fathers.

  48. saac, but aren’t there significant limitations on income replacement so that it would be expensive for two professional parents to take leave?

    I think women need weeks for recovery and breastfeeding after birth more than men do.

  49. “But few low-paid caregivers can afford to quite literally strike to better their lot.”

    One of the reasons I pulled baby Isaac out of daycare was the visible resentment in one of the workers whose mother cared for her daughter while she was at work, because she could not pay for her child to come there. Most of the places we lived (after Fairfax) did not have the array of daycare providers you refer to. In the Georgia town where we lived, there was one NAYC-certified place, and my kid only went there for a few months, because they had to potty-train first. Most daycare there and in our TX town was Church-based.

  50. WCE, I agree with you that society undervalues caregiving. How do we fix that?

    Get men more involved in it. As long as it is considered to be “women’s work” it will continue to be undervalued. And I’m referring to caregiving within the family and caregiving type jobs.

  51. “Can you give me an example where that is the way it is done, instead of assumptions being made about what people want/can do based on their gender?”

    I do not feel like assumptions have been made about me based on my gender. I have been offered great opportunities, and it was my choice to turn them down and negotiate for something that I wanted instead. I don’t think that I choose to travel less just because I’m female, but maybe it’s correlated. I got what I wanted (work from home, at a time when that was not an option allowed), and that director brought me along as he changed orgs. I absolutely believe there are still default assumptions that work against women, but I also think there are plenty of places that work hard to avoid that. I see that in my DH’s workplace as well. A woman he is friends with has really been given some great opportunities, even though the company is heavily male.

  52. “I think women need weeks for recovery and breastfeeding after birth more than men do.”

    I think parental leave policies are trying to address two issues: (1) physical recovery/demands; and (2) bonding time. I think (1) very clearly establishes a higher need for birth mothers to have time off for physical recovery and to establish breastfeeding, if desired. However, (2) applies equally to both.

    One of the significant issues I have read about — and experienced to some degree — is that when you start off with the mom being the exclusive comforter/feeder/cleaner/etc., then it becomes very difficult for the dad to come in later and try to serve that role, because the baby has learned to associate all of that with mom. Now, certainly, if your plan is for mom to retain the primary caregiver role, that issue is irrelevant to you, and maternity leave is all that matters. OTOH, if your plan is for both mom and dad to share those obligations going forward, it is important that dad has time off as well so that he can be doing some part of the caregiving/feeding/butt-wiping/etc. from the beginning.

    I like the hybrid approach I’ve seen at some places where childbirth leave is done under FMLA for the physical recovery, and then parental leave is available thereafter to both mom and dad.

  53. WCE, it’s pretty easy to google this stuff. I’ve started for you.
    https://sweden.se/quickfact/parental-leave/
    And the following are all from http://www.businessinsider.com/countries-with-best-parental-leave-2016-8/#finland-1
    Executive summary: There is paternity leave, sometimes required, in all these countries (and you’re welcome to google more). The economic concern you bring up is dealt with. I think 80% of pay pops up here most often, though there is some time at full pay, and 70% pops up once, as does an average of his+hers.

    Expecting mothers in Finland can start their maternity leave seven weeks before their estimated due date.
    After that the government covers 16 additional weeks of paid leave through a maternity grant, regardless of whether the mother is a student, unemployed, or self-employed. The country also offers eight weeks of paid paternity leave.
    After a child turns three, parents can also take partial care leave, in which they split time between home and work. That lasts until the child starts second grade.

    New moms in Denmark get a total of 18 weeks of maternity leave: four weeks before the birth and 14 weeks after, all at full pay. During the 14-week period, the father can also take two consecutive weeks off.
    From that point on, parents can split 32 additional weeks of leave however they see fit. They can extend the leave for another 14 weeks if the child or parent gets sick. By law, the government covers 52 weeks of pay, though not always at the full salary.

    New parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of leave at 80% of their normal pay. That’s on top of the 18 weeks reserved just for mothers, after which the parents can split up the time however they choose.
    Sweden is unique in that dads also get 90 paid paternity days reserved just for them.

    Mothers in Belgium can take up to 15 weeks for maternity leave — for the first 30 days after the child is born, they get paid 80% of their salary, and they get 75% for the rest of the time. Dads are given 10 days, three of which are 100% pay. The remaining seven are paid at 82% their salary if they use them during the baby’s first four months.
    If they want, moms can take eight months of part-time leave instead of the 15 full weeks.

    Icelandic parents can split their nine months of post-childbirth leave straight down the middle.
    New moms get three months, new dads get three months, and then it’s up to the couple to decide how they’ll split the remaining three months. Neither parent can transfer any portion of their three-month chunk, however, as the government wants to ensure both parents can work and that kids get to spend time with both.
    Each parent receives 80% of their salary while on leave.

    Norway’s system is flexible and generous. Mothers can take 35 weeks at full pay or 45 weeks at 80% pay, and fathers can take between zero and 10 weeks depending on their wives’ income.
    Together, parents can receive an additional 46 weeks at full pay or 56 weeks at 80% of their income.

    Hungarian moms get 24 weeks of paid leave at 70% of their salary, which can start up to four weeks before the expected delivery date. Fathers get one week paid in full.
    After the 24 weeks of maternity leave, parents can take another 156 weeks, split between them. The time off is paid at 70% of their salary for 104 weeks, and a flat rate covers the rest.

    Mothers in Estonia are given 140 days of fully paid pregnancy and maternity leave, which may begin 30-70 days before the expected delivery date.
    Similar to the Nordic countries to the north, fathers in Estonia are given two weeks of paid time off to promote extra bonding with their child. They can also chose to take some of the time off during the final two months before the expected delivery date.
    After maternity leave ends, parents get an additional 435 days off to share, with compensation calculated at the average of their two earnings.

    Nordic countries get a lot of attention for their generous leave policies, but Lithuania may beat them all.
    New moms get 18 weeks of fully paid leave, new fathers get four weeks, and together the parents get an additional 156 weeks to share.
    For the shared portion, the parents can decide whether to have it paid out at 100% for the first 52 weeks (until the child is turns 1) or 70% for the first 104 weeks (until the child is 2 years old). The remaining weeks are unpaid.

  54. WCE: Yes I don’t drink at all. and its hampered me socially and i’m starting to wonder professionally. I’ve definitely stopped being invited to things because i don’t drink. i’ve also been considering a career change and the hard drinking ways of the switch has made me reconsider

  55. The “go get a cup of coffee” was me trying to teach my very literal DS about dealing with social situations he’s not used to. God help him, he’ll need a drink or two to get through happy hour with people he doesn’t know well. He was avoiding going to a friend’s party this weekend because none of his close friends were going and there would be a lot of people he didn’t know, and he didn’t want to be standing around awkwardly by himself. All I could think was that when I was in high school, there would have been beer, and now I know why.

  56. Saac, I did Google but had trouble finding information on pay caps. Germany provides leave at 67% of full pay but if you make $10,000/month, I couldn’t readily determine if you would receive $6700/month during maternity leave and whether that’s funded by the government or the employer. Many/most countries have a cap in addition to the percentage that make those summaries overly simplistic for professional women.

  57. Isn’t it awesome that people who don’t have “professional careers” also get parental leave! I can only speak to Germany, where I know that there is an upper limit to the amount of pay during leave, just as there is for unemployment. The parents I knew (neighbors and parents of kids in daycare with my son) sometimes chafed at that, but also agreed that it was sufficient to live on, although not with extras or tucking savings away.

  58. “he’ll need a drink or two to get through happy hour with people he doesn’t know well”

    Haha. I bet that kind of thought has occurred to lots of parents. What other things are off-limits to your kids that bring that kind of “if only he could…” or “After she can…” feeling?

  59. Saac, $1800/month pretax wouldn’t cover childcare expenses for infant childcare/other children here. It is probably adequate in countries where childcare for other children is guaranteed/subsidized. One challenge is maintaining access to quality childcare for other children during parental leave.

  60. He was avoiding going to a friend’s party this weekend because none of his close friends were going and there would be a lot of people he didn’t know, and he didn’t want to be standing around awkwardly by himself.

    What is my son doing over there at your house?

  61. “What other things are off-limits to your kids that bring that kind of “if only he could…”

    If only I could give my guys coffee in the morning, maybe we’d get out of the door on time.

    I think I’ve shared this before but when I was at Biglaw, my parents visited me. After seeing how I was after work, my dad suggested I start having a drink with dinner. I was shocked.

  62. I’m attending a diversity initiative later this Spring. How do I tell the organizers of these things to stop inviting only “senior women” (and minorities) and start making these events mandatory for men as well?

  63. HM I thought of you this weekend. As part of a research paper he’s doing a survey on Steam usage and was trying to figure out how to get it out. I was thinking I knew one person he could send it to.

  64. LfB – I recall DH looking to me for instructions on how to deal with two newborns. I sarcastically offered to go get my “mom book”. Did he think we came with an instruction manual and men did not? I, like him, had no clue and had to figure it out.

  65. WCE, that’s what you get during leave. I wouldn’t think the olders would go full-time when a parent is home on leave.
    Here are a couple of models: https://www.daynurseries.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1563511/childcare-how-uk-compares-europe
    And these are the EU’s guidelines. As you suspected, daycare is less expensive because it is subsidized. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1246&langId=en
    Germany gives parents monthly payments per child. I wouldn’t be surprised if other countries do as well.

  66. Gaps are easily seen statistically, but how much of that is by choice, by the actions of a few employees, or is the overall organizational culture is hard to determine. I have had bosses whose actions would indicate they did not have gender bias (or they kept tabs on themselves) all the way to bosses whose actions and words made their gender bias absolutely clear.

    I was being considered for a transfer between departments. My then boss found out and told my potential new boss that a pregnant woman could not do that job. Then has the audacity to tell me that she told him that. I got the transfer anyway. Another boss thought that all the men on the team did the work. During my evaluation he told me he was rating me lower because I contributed less. When I asked him what I contributed, he listed one-half of the assignments as mine and gave my hispanic male co-worker credit for one and my white male co-worker credit for the other. He also told me a needed improvement with a particular skill. When I asked him to show me how my worked was not adequate, he admitted he never took the time to look at it and didn’t have time to review low performers work. Follow that? I didn’t work for him for very long.

  67. Sometimes it is not bias but just that your own experience is so far removed from someone else.
    My manager (a woman, no kids) didn’t acknowledge or realize that if it is two weeks to someone’s due date the baby could arrive anytime during the two weeks (or earlier or later). She somehow expected me to be working right till my official due date – quitting at midnight to have the baby.

  68. Louise – That is crazy! I’m picturing her saying “I know that your labor has started, Louise, but could you finish the TPS reports before you go to the hospital?”

  69. I had a male team leader who was changing our travel plans about which week we would be gone and it was a full week trip. This was the third change in 2 weeks. I was clearly frustrated when I asked him if this was the FINAL set of plans. He asked me what the problem was. I told him that I could always arrange things to be gone on a work trip, but that particular month I was having to reach out to my extended network to make it work. A friend of mine was going to actually take time off from work on Wednesday because no family member could cover my child care that day. So, now this was the third time I was asking her to go to her boss and change which Wednesday she needed off. He looked completely shocked and mumble something about not realizing that it was any big deal.

  70. How do I tell the organizers of these things to stop inviting only “senior women” (and minorities) and start making these events mandatory for men as well?

    Send them an email.

  71. Austin, wow. I think a lot of us have had meetings canceled at the last minute after pushing hard to make it happen (I recall leaving my kid in daycare until the final buzzer and then staying up late to get work done for a meeting the next afternoon once, only to have The Big Man come in and say we could all go home, weren’t we happy), but that takes the cake. Talk about clueless and self-absorbed!

  72. Re the NYT piece, how do such quota requirements work in practice? A big firm can probably cobble together a team that looks like an elite university website photo, but smaller and more specialized firms are at a distinct disadvantage. So are firms located in geographic areas where the population is not as ethnically diverse. And the notion that firms can proclaim that a given team meets the diversity rules because Sam is transgender or Sally is a lesbian seems like a huge invasion of privacy for the attorneys and TMI for everyone else.

    If the best intellectual property lawyers for a project all happen to be white guys, are the interests of the clients truly being served if the firm switches out two of them for diversity purposes? Or will the firm just pad the bill by adding nonproductive and unnecessary but diverse folks to the team? Those lawyers will know exactly why they are at the meetings.

  73. WCE from 10:50 I think men and women are, on average, different and have different job preferences, so the fact that they are overrepresented in some jobs vs. others doesn’t bother me.

    To use Rhett’s phrase, this makes me stabby. This seems pretty much the definition of sexism (definition found by google) of “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.”

    I assume that PEOPLE are, on average, different and have different job preferences.

    DH took his full 6 week paid paternity leave at the same time I did when both of our kids were born, so that we could bond as a family. I agree with those who state that when the mom has to do all the duties right after birth they become the expert. DH is the expert at taking care of children in our house. He also makes more than I do. He re-arranges his schedule for kids’ games and activities. It hurts him in his career because everyone assumes he has a wife who doesn’t work. He doesn’t want a wife who doesn’t work. He always has said that I stayed home he’d feel like he was the worker and I was the parent. I get what he means though when people say things like, “I could never stay at home and not parent” because I want to scream “well, is the other parent not a parent than because they work?!”

    Men need to advocate for women in the workplace in order to advance equality. Work/life issues should not be for both sexes and for people without kids (because if you don’t have kids it doesn’t mean you have a life).

    And I think a lot of the sexism is still out there, but it’s more underground. It’s definitely better than in the past, but it is still there. My coworker told me that he would make me his secretary when he was promoted someday to CEO, and I was too dumbfounded to ask why he wouldn’t make me his CFO.

    I don’t even know if I’m making sense. I’m stabby. I shouldn’t have even read this post today.

  74. Ugh – typos. “if you don’t have kids, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a life.” You should be able to have work/life balance without having to claim kids or parent issues, because you have a life – you’re own.

  75. One way to fill quotas ;)
    http://rentaminority.com/
    (Humor! It’s humor, people, and savage)

    Diversity On-Demand

    Rent-A-Minority is a revolutionary new service designed for those oh-shit moments where you’ve realized your award show, corporate brochure, conference panel is entirely composed of white men. For, like, the fifth year in a row. Suddenly you’re being called out on Twitter and you need to look not-racist and not-misogynist fast. Actually doing something meaningful to disrupt institutional inequality would be way too much work; so why not just Rent-A-Minority instead?

    Hire a Minority

    We have a minority for every occasion. Whether it’s a tech conference panel, an awards show, an advert, or a business meeting, we will collaborate to find the right minority for you. All of our minorities have been vetted to ensure they are not “too black” or “too Muslim” or “too much of a Feminist.” We know how awkward that can be. Each minority comes with bespoke pricing based on a proprietary algorithm that analyzes current states of supply/demand and the Degree of Diversity (TM) intrinsic to the potential hire.

  76. CoC,

    Is that your opinion?

    Of your position? Yes. You seemed to acknowledge that even today girls are sometimes discouraged from STEM fields. But, you then went on to claim that in the adult world the gaps are almost entirely due to personal choices so no changes need to be made. I was confused as to why sexism could be an issue in primary and secondary education but not in tech, fiance, ag, etc.

  77. People are different, on average, and one of the things I LOVE about Margaret’s Burnett’s work is that she breaks things out by PEOPLE not by men vs. women. People also differ based on their age, age at marriage, age at first birth of a child, educational level and region/country of origin.

    I didn’t mean to make tcmama stabby, but my job as a yield engineer was identifying how to parse data to identify statistically significant differences. Gender is one of many ways to do that, one that is arguably overly popular.

  78. Geno Auriemma had a great comment last week about why there are fewer women coaches than there used to be:

    “There’s a reason why there’s not as many opportunities for women. Not as many women want to coach,” Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma said Thursday. “It’s quite simple.”

    whttps://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaw/2017/03/30/geno-auriemma-coaches-womens-college-basketball/99843378/

  79. “WCE, I agree with you that society undervalues caregiving. How do we fix that?”

    “Get men more involved in it.”

    DD, I’m not sure you’re right, although I wish you were. Perhaps politically incorrectly (I apologize in advance), I don’t think too many moms would tolerate it.

    As you probably remember, as a member of the Mothers’ Club at my kid’s school, I made quite a few of the mothers uncomfortable. Not for anything I said (I truly do not care abut the color of the table cloths), but just because of my sex.

    Similarly, I could never arrange play dates for Junior. Finally I asked the principal/headmistress/whatever. She said, “PTM, you are a single man. Everybody is scared of you and what you might do with their kids.” Even the fact that I had a female nanny didn’t help. Nannies don’t count.

    I wish stereotypes would change. I am enjoying high school more where they want zero parent involvement (the kids are budding adults) other than pick up and delivery and payment.

  80. WCE – you said men and women are different so you expect differences in workplace representaction. If you expand on that thought though that bias shows up in teachers telling girls they aren’t good at math or that they will want to stay home anyways so don’t even bother with STEM etc. And a million other ways and then you get data showing that gender makes a difference.

  81. WCE said that men and women, on average, have different preferences, and she is correct. She is correct despite what you and your DH prefer. That is an anecdote, just like it’s an anecdote that my DW has no desire whatsoever to work full time or not be the primary caregiver.

    Because, on average, men and women have different preferences, it’s unrealistic to expect 50% representation in all fields. Of course, the opportunity should still be available.

  82. I was excluded multiple times solely due to my gender on outings and practical jokes at my prior company. Every TV had sports on and this was a bank (i.e. not relevant to our industry to watch sports). I drew the line at female MMA fighting – made them switch the channel. Asked them if they would think its appropriate to put Lifetime on TV all day?

    My boss second guessed every single professional decision I made – the person taking over my assets raised the same issues on a deal and while I was being difficult and not a team player, he and my boss were going to have “healthy debates”. My current boss seems very gender blind (in a good way). We have a female CFO, CCO (Compliance) and the workplace is probably about 50% women and we are in real estate finance dealing with a lot of international clients. Very diverse office as well. We probably have 9 languages with native fluency in our company too. This balance is part of our core mission and values as a company. We require that our recruiters find candidates that will help the company attain this vision.

  83. Milo, what is your proof that men and women have different preferences on average? What are the different preferences?

  84. tcmama – does that really happen anymore? I don’t think I ever had a teacher tell me anything remotely close to that and I am in my 40’s. All of my math teachers save one were women, including my AP Calculus teacher. The closest I came was a 2nd grade teacher who did not care I knew the material already – I was to sit there and do the same work as everyone else. Maybe I was more confident than most as a child – I was that annoying kid with my hand in the air if I knew the answer and formulated an opinion on most things, whether or not my opinion was requested.

  85. Remarkably, it doesn’t seem to matter that much whether women are currently WOH, as similar majorities in both groups would prefer to be at home:

    The data show remarkably little difference in the preferences of working versus stay-at-home mothers. Among mothers who are currently employed either full or part time, 40% say they would prefer to work outside the home, and 54% would prefer to stay home. The figures are almost identical among mothers who aren’t currently employed: 37% would prefer a job outside the home, while 57% would rather be at home. Meanwhile, there is almost no difference in the lifestyle preference of fathers according to their work status. At least 70% of those employed, as well as those not employed, would rather have a job outside the home.

  86. If my spouse were a woman like me and handled everything with the kids and at home, I would prefer to work. Because my spouse is not and I had a demanding job with most of the child stuff falling to me, I prefer to stay home.

  87. I think we can all agree that the mere existence of a gap isn’t by itself prof of bias. However, there is ample evidence that the gap, while not entirely due to sexism, has sexism as a major contributing factor.

  88. Rhett – I think it’s very industry-dependent. Why are only about 15-20% of military enlistees women? There’s no hiring process for sexism, and we’re not talking about advancement or anything like that. It’s simple choice to sign up or not.

  89. PTM, I totally agree with you that many women want to keep caregiving/managing the home as their domain. My point still holds that caregiving will be seen as more valuable when more men are involved.

    I agree with Kate’s comment in regards to Milo’s stats – of course when you are having to do most of the work at home, you’d rather not work outside the home. If you have someone else to be be the primary giver and handle most of the housekeeping, then of course you’re more inclined to want to WOH.

  90. “At both my schools, half the people in the top 10% of electrical/computer engineering majors were women and women represented only ~10% of the class, so half of the women were in the top decile. “

    That somewhat mirrors my undergrad experience (I didn’t know enough of the grad school students to know whether it was true or not, but anecdata suggested it was); my guess is that the female distribution was perhaps more top-heavy at my undergrad school. E.g., it seemed like most of the female EE majors were in the EE honor society.

    We’ve discussed this before– my observation that most females in engineering were not there due to a calling to engineering, but rather due to a push from someone, typically a HS counselor or teacher, because of their excellence in math and science.

    These estimates suggest that the HS counselors and teachers actually have been doing a pretty good job of encouraging females into engineering, and that the disparity is mostly due to a lot more males than females who really want to be engineers. I’m not sure that it makes sense to be pushing anyone into majors in which they would struggle with the curriculum.

    So if we really want more female engineers, we need to figure out ways to get them interested at a pretty young age. I wonder how many girls are encouraged to join robotics teams.

  91. Denver – if you’re going to invalidate or qualify the majority of the women respondents to that survey (based on your own conjecture), then you’d logically have to do the same to the men’s responses and say “of course the men would rather stay home, as long as they had someone to pay the bills.”

    Yet we still have the actual data of what people say they want, and there’s a sharp gender-based distinction.

  92. “Have you met those tech guys? A whole lot of them are mondo jerks.”

    That’s not been my experience, especially during my SV days. OTOH, my employer back then wasn’t necessarily representative of the tech industry as a whole (and apparently wasn’t), but there were a lot of guys like me.

    I don’t think most of the guys I worked with would’ve initiated a lot of the behavior mentioned here, and most of the stuff we did as a group outside of work was pretty inclusive. E.g., I got to know the husbands of the married female engineers I worked with through those activities.

  93. ” to identify statistically significant differences. Gender is one of many ways to do that, one that is arguably overly popular.”

    Rhett’s got it right–you’re looking at the world as it is, instead of how things could/ought to be, same as when we were discussing various power sources and you said it was not a good idea for a particular method to be developed because some states and localities have laws, based on other issues, that would make it difficult. The point isn’t describing the mess we find ourselves in–and many people do find current gender roles problematic. Well, I guess that could be the point, if you really want a bit## session, but I don’t. But absent restraints we have known and chaffed against; what could/would things look like?

    Milo, women don’t think that Rambo wants them as partners? Why would that be? http://www.protectourdefenders.com/about/

  94. ” many people do find current gender roles problematic”

    It seems that the majority does not find it problematic.

  95. Finn, the guy who ran the robotics club and camps my son did got interested when his daughter (only child) was younger. Doing that sort of thing, including for schools, is now pretty much his main employment.
    “E.g., I got to know the husbands of the married female engineers ”
    I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what that has to do with respecting women’s abilities at work & not patronizing them. Did you also get to know other men’s wives?

  96. Milo, what basis do you have for saying most people are content with gender roles as they are?

  97. Saac – sexual assault in the military, according to the recent statistics, was significantly less prevalent than it was at most colleges, and particularly at schools like Michigan and Yale. Yet that doesn’t seem to discourage female applicants.

    So try again.

  98. “what basis do you have for saying most people are content with gender roles as they are?”

    Gallup. What do you have?

  99. “Did you also get to know other men’s wives?”

    Yes.

    Getting to know the female engineers’ husbands was an indication that those women weren’t being shut out from work group socializing outside of work.

  100. “What do you have?”
    There’s this thing that’s been around for over a century, maybe you’ve heard of it. The radical idea that women are people too. It’s called feminism. If people were hunky-dory with things the way they are, there would be no push to change them. We’d all be like Nixon when he refused to sign a bill giving women equal rights “then they’d be like Soviet women”.

  101. “sexism in the workplace stems from sexism in our society. You don’t just stop being sexist because you enter your workplace. ”

    I agree. In some cases, it is employers who are leading society towards changes that would reduce workplace gender imbalance.

  102. “I’m optimistic that examples like Lark’s will be much less common in 20 years as more women become decision makers.

    But the problem is that women will never become decision makers so long as that gap exists. Just as I’m sure for many of the lawyers here, my “power” at the company was based on how many clients I had, and what my book of business was. When the decision makers had the power to affect my clients and my book, I could never reach the top level of being a decision maker myself. The only way to change my own circumstance was to leave and take my book with me. I was helpless to change anything internally.”

    So you found a way around the source of the gap. As more women take similar courses, wouldn’t you expect that to narrow the gap?

  103. “There’s this thing that’s been around for over a century, maybe you’ve heard of it. The radical idea that women are people too. It’s called feminism.”

    Now you’re being obtuse again. Of course women are people. And I’m all for feminism, as it represents equal opportunity and choice.

    You seem to be implying that one choice is somehow more acceptable, or preferable to another. This gets back to earlier points about not valuing caregivers.

  104. Milo, it’s all about choice, unlike the system we have now. And what the flip is “obtuse” about saying women are also human? I would think you’d at least be willing to go that far.

  105. Many feminists do not believe that all choices are equally acceptable. I think I come down on that side, too, ironically.

  106. Denver – if you’re going to invalidate or qualify the majority of the women respondents to that survey (based on your own conjecture), then you’d logically have to do the same to the men’s responses and say “of course the men would rather stay home, as long as they had someone to pay the bills.”

    Yet we still have the actual data of what people say they want, and there’s a sharp gender-based distinction.

    I’m not invalidating anyone, I’m pointing out that there are other factors at play than the presence or absence of a Y chromosome that are likely influencing the answers. I don’t think either gender wants to clean the house or the other “not fun” tasks. The fact is more of this is still being done by women and you can’t ignore that is likely influencing the answers to some degree.

    If you frame the question as “would you rather work outside the home, while someone else does most or all of the work at home, or would you rather stay home and do most or all the housework and childcare?” a lot more women would go for option B.

  107. Your statement clearly implied that I would not think women are human. That’s a straw man argument, or from an obtuse perspective.

    Like I’ve already said, I’m totally in favor of ensuring that equal opportunity is available within regard to gender. But I also will argue, and have shown, that it’s unreasonable to think that there should be 50% representation in all sectors.

  108. “If you frame the question as “would you rather work outside the home, while someone else does most or all of the work at home, or would you rather stay home and do most or all the housework and childcare?” a lot more women would go for option B.”

    We have no reason to believe that it would reach the same level as the three quarters of men who prefer to WOH. And more appropriately, the men’s number would likewise be higher if they were presented the same question.

  109. Kate, what choices are unacceptable for women? That they don’t want to parent? That they care to swear? That they wear pant suits?

    I know that the choice to parent is generally unacceptable for a male. I suspect to be a day care worker would be frowned on too.

  110. Milo, you are missing my point. That is exactly the question that was presented to men (most men anyway, based on the stats of how much of the housework each gender does). That is what most married men have now – they work while their wife does most of the housework and childcare, whether or not she WOH. On the other hand, the question that was presented to women was “would you rather work outside the home and do most of the housework/childcare, or just stay home and do most of the housework/childcare?”

    I’m sure the housework/childcare part wasn’t actually stated in the question :)

  111. Denver – you’re blatantly changing the questions. They simply asked would you rather WOH or SAH and take care of house/children.

    The telling part that significantly refutes your theory, though, is that women’s responses changed significantly depending on whether they actually had minor children. For men, parental status made no difference.

    And if you’re going to say “we’ll, of course! Women are doing the majority of childcare,” then I would simply ask why you think that is.

  112. I had an experience similar to PTM’s when DD was taking dance. For a big show, the women running the show (and they were all women) had some pretty fixed ideas about gender roles.

    The little girls like DD was at the time needed help with their costumes and makeup, so there was a room set up for parent to help their kids. Except that “parents” meant mothers, and DD and I were kicked out and left to fend for ourselves. I ended up putting up a bunch of windshield shades so DD could change in the car, and putting on her makeup in the parking lot.

  113. When I was in college, I read an article written by a two psychologists (married to each other), who were marriage counselors, that recommended you spend your discretionary income on the things you fight about. Many of their couples would be fighting over domestic chores that could be easily outsourced. That advice has served DH and I well and we budget for the things that neither of us want to do.

    I know that gender bias exists but in my immediate department there isn’t any that I’ve encountered. Salaries are comparable and “family” time was respected for all. Even those without kids had flextime to pursue their interests for example, training for a marathon. I know this because I was a manager prior to changing roles. But I’m sure in other departments within the same company had different experiences. For most people, it is their immediate area that influences how they much progress they feel has been made on any issue.

    I think those who make it to the executive suite all benefit from having either a stay at home spouse or the funds to handle childcare and household chores. And in my company there are women and minorities at the top. Where I see a lot more problems is a lower levels. In the very beginning of my career, I was an executive assistant. I was never disrespected by leadership – they all had assistants and knew how much they depended on them. It was the “regular” employees and lower management who felt they were “above” me never understanding that the “gatekeeper” wielded a great deal of power.

  114. Finn, what made you think you were a parent in the first place? :)

  115. Finn – my DD’s studio had a similar setup, which, selfishly, suited me just fine. Our neighbor, the former prosecutor and avid dance mom, was telling us over drinks about some “pervert” who had been in the changing room for hours the previous year before someone noticed, allegedly hanging out watching girls. I’m not sure how they’d respond to a father transitioning into a mother.

  116. On girls and STEM. My DD likes science and she can do the Math. I showed her the brochure for STEM summer camp. The camp was a tech type one and while DS picked drones, DD didn’t find anything that interested her. I don’t know if a robotics camp would interest her.
    They have introduced a STEM class at her school and she is quite enthusiastic about it. They do various experiments and I think she likes to try different things rather than focus on one thing.

  117. Why is it unthinkable that men and women may make different choices regarding professions and work/life balance that are completely unaffected by discrimination or sexism? Even on this non-representative blog, there are more than a few professional women who became SAHMs at some point, but it doesn’t seem that any of the men made a similar choice. The revealed preferences of many Totebag women are to sacrifice some level of professional goals in order to spend more time on family matters. The preferences of non totebagger married women are even more skewed toward family, yet there seems to be a reluctance to accept and honor these preferences.

  118. Scarlett – exactly. And furthermore, you’ll notice that even someone like LfB, for whom I have immense respect (and this in no way diminishes that) will talk about her DD’s medical scare that could have developed into something worse, and LfB says that she would have quit her job in a heartbeat if it had. I didn’t get the impression that her DH felt the same way.

  119. My DD’s dance studio has quite a few fathers both ferrying their kids to practice and at dance competitions. Some families have both parents involved because all their kids be it girls or boys take dance. They are dance families rather than dance moms.
    I haven’t seen fathers actually helping with hair and makeup but I don’t think it would be unusual at all because they help with the dresses, shoes and support their kids similar to other activities.

  120. Milo – this quote is at the back of mind when I have weighed professional/family decisions

    “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do, matters very much”.
    – Jackie Kennedy

  121. Why is it unthinkable that men and women may make different choices regarding professions and work/life balance that are completely unaffected by discrimination or sexism?

    At least to me the debate is which is which. Is Finn correct that men are more likely to be passionate about engineering? Maybe. And maybe that would explain a 70:30 split. But when we start getting down into the teens, something other than innate preference may be at work.

  122. Rhett, maybe so. But consider the tiny percentage of whites or Asians in the NBA. Is that also evidence of racial bias? Why is no one concerned about that?

  123. “Even on this non-representative blog, there are more than a few professional women who became SAHMs at some point, but it doesn’t seem that any of the men made a similar choice. ”

    Let me introduce myself, Scarlett.

  124. Louise, do either you or your DH do a lot of hands-on, tinkering type work at home?

    My older brother, also an engineer, used to follow my dad around on weekends as he worked on his to-do list, which included a lot of fixing stuff (e.g., I’ve related here before how we never got a new washing machine; my dad would always get the old one working again). My brother loved getting into things and seeing how they worked, and that’s a big factor (he’s very gifted in math) in his becoming an engineer.

    I’ve heard similar stories from others who majored in engineering; often it was working on cars.

    I believe it’s also not uncommon for interests in modern music, e.g., DJing, working with amps and recording equipment, to lead to interest in EE. But again, it’s mostly guys who get into that kind of stuff.

    Point being, it doesn’t have to be STEM camp; it could just be tinkering around the house.

  125. “But consider the tiny percentage of whites or Asians in the NBA. … Why is no one concerned about that?”

    The NBA is concerned about that. They loved having Yao Ming in the league, and one reason Jeremy Lin is coveted is that he expands the marketability of his teams.

    And for years there was the stereotype of the big white guy at/near the end of the bench.

  126. Finn – DD is a tinkerer in the sense that she can transform odds and ends, into something useful/artsy. Neither, DH nor I fix stuff but my FIL does. Actually DD gets many of her materials from him.

  127. I just realized that several of DW’s female friends who are engineers are the daughters of engineers, as were the only of my female HS friends who became engineers.

  128. Louise, do your DD and FIL have a special relationship? I’ve heard of other cases of generation skipping, where a grandchild and a grandparent share similar interests, often not shared between the grandparent and the parent of the grandchild, and those grandparent and grandchild end up being especially close.

  129. Is that also evidence of racial bias?

    I’d say so. People unconsciously favor those they think fit the part. It’s why there are more black CEO’s than there are short CEO’s. Looking the part is far more important than people want to admit.

  130. “Let me introduce myself, Scarlett.”

    A parent, also, but the point is that it’s rare.

  131. Finn – they are close. We have lots of engineers in our families but they are all guys, no women unless DD decides to go that route.

  132. Rhett, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

    I did hear about the ND guy. He doesn’t look like URM, so I’m wondering what his hook is.

  133. “We have lots of engineers in our families but they are all guys, no women unless DD decides to go that route.”

    My guess is that the engineers in your family, even if all male, makes it more likely that your DD will go that route than if there were no engineers in the family.

    BTW, it looks like one of DS’ female classmates, NMSF with parents with PhDs (I think in languages/linguistics), is planning to major in engineering.

  134. but the point is that it’s rare.

    The question is why. I’d say it’s 2/3 nature and 1/3 nurture. So, while more women than men prefer to stay home, the gap isn’t as large as the poll would indicate.

  135. He doesn’t look like URM, so I’m wondering what his hook is.

    Right and they didn’t mention anything special other than regional leutenant governor of key club (whatever the hell that is) and some band stuff. It didn’t mention any patents or cutting edge research or anything spectacular. So I was wondering if the ND geographic diversity was the hook.

  136. Finn, his hook is that he’s from Fargo. He wouldn’t have had a prayer coming from Bethesda or Scarsdale.

  137. In the early 80’s I took high school physics. I had a female teacher, a nun and the other physics teacher, a male, was a priest. I am female. I was glad not to have the priest because he gave all girls Bs because it was to nice that they wanted to try science, but they just weren’t designed for it.

    An organization I belong to (AAUW) did gender equity research in the 90s. One of the things they found was how teachers taught girls vs. boys was different. One specific point was when a student raised their hand, if the incorrect answer was given and the student was female, the teacher just moved on to the next student. But, when the student was male, the teacher would keep asking questions to get the student to think through to get to the answer. A female teacher friend of mine was teaching various levels of Chemistry at the time. When she read this study, she realized that she did this on a regular basis. She was appalled at herself.

    I think some professions, industries, and employers have historical biases against either women or men. Therefore, it takes time for the underrepresented gender to gain a higher percentage of the total. I agree that gender alone is not the only factor in creating the gender gaps. To an extent, employers do not care if they are 70-30 or 60-40 or 50-50 if they have people who can do the job and do it well. However, the problem comes in when they have requirements or policies or employees’ behavior that are not tied to job performance that make it more difficult for one gender to work there.

  138. The other kid accepted at all 8 Ivies was accepted early at Harvard, so I’m not sure why she bothered applying to all the other Ivies.

  139. so I’m not sure why she bothered applying to all the other Ivies.

    Bragging rights?

  140. PTM – my choice to quit my job and stay home with kids isn’t an acceptable choice for a feminist. At least not as things stand currently.

    I think it is entirely possible that men and women have different preferences. However, until all inputs are equal and the home stuff is split equally, it is very difficult to figure out what % is attributable to women and men really desiring different things and what % is attributable to outside influences.

  141. Unfortunately there is almost no way to work “I was accepted to all eight Ivies.” into a conversation without sounding like a complete tool. Best hope is it remains the number one Google hit on her name for a while.

  142. Argh, ok, now I’m getting stabby.

    No one is saying you need to have 50/50 representation. No one is saying that some of the differences in outcome aren’t related to different preferences. Those are all big fat strawmen. What everyone is saying is that, hey, we have pretty ridiculously low numbers of women in tech. And when we talk to those women, we hear story after story of both overt and subtle sexism and descriminatuon. Hmm, might gender discrimination play a role in chasing smart, competent women away from tech? Maybe the “fair” split isn’t 50/50, but it’s sure as hell not 90/10 or 85/15.

    What I am hearing here is, well, you don’t have a 50/50 split of people who are interested in this stuff, and more women have childrearing responsibilities, and look at these surveys, more women are interested in staying home with the kids, so the differences must be based on personal choice, and all of those personal stories and direct experience with sexism are just anecdotes and so can’t possibly be legitimate evidence that sexism still plays a big role in persuading women to stay away from tech. And that just drives me batshit. Can we please, please start by agreeing that sexism and gender discrimination is a factor in the number of women in tech being so low? And talk about how we can go about fixing it? I’m more than happy to discuss what a “fair” split might be once we stop having so many stories like that article today.

    I also do not doubt at all that Gallup accurately portrays the survey results. But I agree completely with DD that men and women hear those questions differently. The reality is in most homes, women take on more responsibility for managing the home stuff. Sometimes they choose to, sometimes (like me) they get stuck with it because someone has to be the Keeper of the Calendar, and when the whole world assumes that mom handles these things and you get all the emails and notes and requests, you eventually just give up and do it, because it’s not really that much more time to just answer the stupid thing vs. forwarding the message to your DH to handle. So you ask a man whether he’d rather WOH or SAH, he hears “would you rather WOH or SAH?” When you ask a woman — especially a woman who has already had children and lived it — she hears, “would you rather WOH and take care of home/kids on top, or would you rather SAH and just do the home/kids part of the equation?” It is not an apples to apples question, because that is not the reality that most women live — hell, there have been days that *I* would have answered SAH. So if you did want to get an apples to apples comparison, you would have to make it clear that the WOH option includes someone else taking full responsibility for home/kids.

    Again, not saying that brings everything to 50/50. But it’s going to change the poll numbers somewhat.

    Oh, and my clarity in quitting has much more to do with being ready to retire in general. A problem with my kid would just be the final push I need — as would something happening to DH, something happening to my mom, or some horrible diagnosis of my own. Or, you know, willing the Powerball. Ten years ago the answer would have been different. And no, DH didn’t remotely think the same thing, because he still gets geeked out about going to the fab every day and inventing cool new stuff, and he isn’t remotely ready to give that up.

    And, yeah, even I’ll admit that part of it was pure mom gene, which kicks in every time my kids so much as sniffle. 😉

  143. “The question is why. I’d say it’s 2/3 nature and 1/3 nurture.”

    That’s reasonable.

  144. From a corporate survival perspective diversity can help.

    VW board of management:

    The new compliance chief:

    She was pushed out a few months after she was hired …she “wasn’t a good fit.” Maybe when you hire people that are all the same you can get some negative groupthink feedback loop going on that ends up causing trouble. A sort of corrosive insular culture.

  145. Caution: heavy sarcasm ahead. Strong chance of pissiness.

    Laura, are you saying that women are not seen as credible in reporting on their own experience? I’m shocked, simply shocked. What you said about women doing the “home” stuff because somebody has to and he isn’t picking up the reins–err, dustrag is what I was thinking, but not having a partner, I didn’t think i could say it (guess that’s a woman thing, that I wait until I have backing instead of just saying “yeah, that number you threw out there sounds right”). I’ve said on here many times before that i would have absolutely loved to be free to take a six week grant and fly off to do some research, spontaneously go out with people at a conference to keep the discussion going, stay up late to write and ignore the dishes for long stretches. But I must just be misguided to think I wouldn’t feel deprived of my natural tendencies.

  146. On that “mom gene”. I’d want to make darn sure my kid was taken care of, but once I knew that, I think I’d have peace of mind to happily do something else. But then I always was the mom who other moms looked at strangely, because I didn’t jump at every little booboo. If they said anything, it was that their husbands were the same way with their kids.

  147. “On that “mom gene”. I’d want to make darn sure my kid was taken care of, but once I knew that, I think I’d have peace of mind to happily do something else.”

    Only a few more years….

  148. Given my background, it’s hard for me to prioritize gender equality in tech over the discussion in article 2, the fact that lots of working class men aren’t employed OR involved in their kids’ lives, either because they are divorced or because they never married their kids’ moms or are abusive, addicted, etc. (And yeah, working class women have problems too.)

    When I count my blessings, they include not only my physical/financial security (house, reliable transportation, money for groceries I want, many extras) but also the fact that I married someone who is kind and treats me with respect.

    Two of my elementary/middle school acquaintances were married to each other and were in the process of getting divorced a few months ago when the husband fell and died from a head injury. He had worked with my Dad and my Dad commented that he’d been stone drunk for a month, so the fall/head injury weren’t surprising. My extremely practical response was that I hoped she was still the beneficiary of his life insurance policy and my Dad agreed.

  149. @tcmama – I agree with everything you’ve said especially this:

    “Men need to advocate for women in the workplace in order to advance equality. Work/life issues should not be for both sexes and for people without kids (because if you don’t have kids it doesn’t mean you have a life).”

    As far as the pool goes, I think there’s some chicken/egg there too. Because what’s socially acceptable and what people tell Gallop feed off each other.

  150. “I agree. In some cases, it is employers who are leading society towards changes that would reduce workplace gender imbalance.”

    @Finn – I agree. I also think that diversity is important not just because it’s a nice thing to do on a human level, but that having different perspectives is a good thing on a business level.

  151. Another going for bragging rights? Kid from Boise with Hispanic name gets in early to Harvard, but still applies to all the other Ivies, and gets in.

    BTW, the other one I referred to earlier was an AA girl from NJ.

  152. Finn – in the home country, many women who became engineers, no longer work in engineering or are SAH parents. So, while it is a point of pride (bragging rights) for parents and student to say that my daughter got top grades to get into an engineering school, there were people who felt that if women were not serious about an engineering career they shouldn’t be taking up the extremely few spots in engineering colleges. Same with medicine where there are few spots compared to the numbers of applicants. I have an engineer father, he wanted to make sure I really wanted to go into the field before I entered the whole race to get into an engineering college.

  153. “But I agree completely with DD that men and women hear those questions differently.”

    In a way, that’s the whole point. They hear it differently because they’re different. They each assess the same set of circumstances and potential alternatives for their kids, and women, on average, place a greater on their direct care and involvement.

    What Denver has argued — that if the men were willing to act like Moms in childcare (same thing that Kate said about her DH; or if LfB’s DH had more of her mom gene) — is irrelevant to the original question of whether men and women, on average, are different. They clearly are.

    I’m sure that some of the survey respondents are simply saying what they think is socially acceptable, but usually when that bias is significant, you can observe the differences in people’s behavior vs. what they say. That’s obviously not the case here. A far greater proportion of women state that they want to stay home with their children, and that’s exactly what they do.

  154. WCE, how on earth can you separate equal rights from fathers not being in kids’ lives or being abusive? Dependence, economic or because they fear leading a household without a man is one reason women stay with abusive or alcoholic men. The idea that men’s role does not include nurturing is so directly connected to whether they are involved with a kid after the relationship with the mother ends….how do you separate that from gender parity?

  155. We have a few families in our neighborhood and at school with SAHDs. There are other families where the father works from home and shoulders more of the household responsibilities. The wives are the primary income earners. Those families are closest to the 50/50 split mentioned. Everyone else has more child and household duties weighted towards the women.

  156. If I answered the Gallup poll, I would say stay at home. Not because it is socially acceptable, but because of reality. If I could come up with a perfect life, it would absolutely include working. Most of my professional friends who no longer work feel the same.

  157. “but because of reality”

    I’m curious about this, not arguing. What’s reality? Clearly you’d be able to afford two nannies, if so desired.

  158. Saac – I haven’t been able to understand your last several comments, or to what argument you’re trying to refer.

  159. Milo, in the comment with the link to comments on the very famous quote you seemed unfamiliar with, I’m referring to your post on that quote. It sounded as if you’d never heard of it. Make sure you read to the bottom of that link. In the post that starts “WCE”, I’m referring to her last comment before that. In my comment that starts out “on the “mom” gene”, I’m referring to LfB’s use of that phrase. How far back do you want me to go?

  160. “Given my background, it’s hard for me to prioritize gender equality in tech over the discussion in article 2”

    The good thing is that you don’t actually have to choose. This is not Sophie’s Choice, where you only get to pick one thing that matters and consign all the rest to perdition.

    “They hear it differently because they’re different.”

    No. They hear it differently because the real life they live every day is different. Listen to what Kate has been saying: in the real world that we live in, where she is going to bear the brunt of the child-and-home responsibilities regardless, she prefers to stay at home. But in a perfect world, she would prefer some WOH in her life. But she answers the poll based on her reality, not what she would want if all things were actually equal. You appear to be interpreting the differing results as attributable to that second X chromosome; DD and Kate and I are saying that some of it is actual preference, but that some of it is just logistics. It’s as if you’re asking men “which of these two jobs do you want?” and asking women, “do you want job A or job A and B?” And then taking the results as evidence that women prefer A over B.

  161. Milo – neither of us wanted 2 nannies for our kids. We were both raised by SAHMs and for the most part thought that was a good thing. Two nannies would be too far from what we would consider a good parenting arrangement. And no knock on nannies at all. We had one when I worked and she was great. Ideally, for me, husband would cut back by about 50% and I would work a regular 40 hour week with some flexibility. And lest you think that my husband is a deadbeat, he is great with the kids. Very involved when he is home and will move around his schedule for us to the extent it is possible. But he works a really demanding job and loves it.

  162. A couple points, LfB –

    “where she is going to bear the brunt of the child-and-home responsibilities regardless”

    That’s a choice, though, and it’s rooted in gender differences and preference for “the way things should be done.” Yeah, yeah, the school nurse will call you first. Direct her to your DH or nanny and move on. The school nurse has called me, too, when DW was out running and not answering her cell. I told her I’m not leaving work for pink-eye, and DW would be back within an hour.

    And as I pointed out previously, it’s disingenuous to insert nuance into the responses of the women who say SAH but not the responses of the women who say WOH. Because plenty of the latter group, if given more options, would choose “some SAH.” But we have to work with both the data we’ve got, and what people actually do in real life.

  163. “And lest you think that my husband is a deadbeat”

    I would certainly not think that.

  164. “. But, you then went on to claim that in the adult world the gaps are almost entirely due to personal choices so no changes need to be made”

    Your choice to characterize my views that way is a strawman since I did not claim that no changes need to be made.

  165. OK, I did want to respond to Scarlett’s earlier post about companies insisting their law firms provide more diverse teams, but then I got all distracted and stabby by the subsequent stuff, so let me return to that. In short, this pressure has been far more effective than anything else in promoting real meaningful diversity within my own firm.

    I think one of the underlying assumptions is false: this notion of “what if all the best attorneys are old white men?” The reality is that almost none of us are really that special. I have a pretty healthy ego about my own abilities, and I am in a total geek sub-specialty, and I can tell you that there are probably still 50+ people across the country who can do what I do, at my level (several of them at my firm, in fact). And frankly, you don’t even need someone with my abilities for 98% of the work in my field.

    So, yes, all of the companies talk about wanting the best and the brightest lawyers. To be completely honest, that is total bullshit. They hire the big name, because that gives them political cover if things go bad (“well, we hired the best!”). They hire the guy they used to work with, or the guy they met at the last golf tournament, or the guy the brother-in-law knows, or the guy who was willing to cut rates the most. And as long as the work seems reasonably successful overall, they have no incentive to change. We see this first-hand — I think I mentioned a week or so ago that we are in a bidding war to retain a client. This is a client for whom we have provided what is basically ridiculously cost-effective work for a decade — and we were flat-out told that we needed to drop our rates or they were going with someone else. So this construct that we all want “the best,” and if that happens to be old white guys, well, what can we do about it? — total cop-out.

    Now, I will say that in my particular area, we have a real pipeline problem; there are a lot of women who want to do what we do, but not so many African-Americans, and almost no Hispanics, Asians, or other minorities. So for many years, we kept interviewing at the same top 10 schools, and we’d hire the one or two “qualified minorities” we found [God what an offensive term that is, but that’s another rant entirely), and then they’d leave, and we’d wring our hands and say, gee, what can we do? Not our fault, we’re trying really hard. Meanwhile, these poor one or two guys we hired, they’d be going out on every pitch, and then they’d maybe do a bit of the work that came in. Can’t say I blame them for leaving — who wants to be a freaking dancing pony your whole career?

    [breaking this up due to length – to be continued]

  166. “No one is saying you need to have 50/50 representation.”

    Sheryl Sandberg and her supporters have said exactly that, and iirc there has been agreement on that goal on previous discussions here.

    ” Can we please, please start by agreeing that sexism and gender discrimination is a factor in the number of women in tech being so low?”

    I don’t believe anyone here has disagreed with that.

  167. I can say the point at which my DH and my careers started to diverge significantly was the point at which I had Kid # 1. Though I tried to set up my work by moving to a less demanding group, working till I delivered (both my kids were born on the weekend) and taking six weeks off – my career trajectory was never the same. Looking back, I felt – to heck with it, I shouldn’t have bothered at all, I should have stayed in my old group and taken three months off.

  168. “Can we please, please start by agreeing that sexism and gender discrimination is a factor in the number of women in tech being so low?”

    I don’t believe anyone here has disagreed with that.”

    Agreed. I never really comment on the tech aspects because it’s far out of my realm. Additionally, I tend to think of them as rich California Democrats, anyway, and if they can’t police themselves in that industry, then what influence could I possibly have?

  169. Your choice to characterize my views that way is a strawman since I did not claim that no changes need to be made.

    And I quote, “For the most part I don’t see the need to push hard to eliminate gender gaps…”

  170. Someone above made a point about the mentoring factor – the white men in power typically choose younger white men to mentor and the cycle continues. I do think that is a big part of the challenge. It is certainly true in my experience. But I also think that there is a component of the choices people make. In my experience, I chose to “take it” – doing the job without getting the credit – and to take poor advice (offered by three white male mentors) that, when I was junior, didn’t register to me as being advice that inured to their benefit and not mine. Once I realized that, I had to change jobs In order to create a new image for myself. And I had to very consciously make different choices and be a better advocate for myself and for other women in my new workplace. My trajectory seems more certain with those different choices.

    We, of course, are having this conversation in my workplace (the law department of a large corporation). At some levels, equal numbers of women and other diverse candidates to white males, at higher levels, white males outnumber the diverse candidates to a ridiculous amount. I am actively trying to discern the unwritten rules to advancement and have sought out a diverse group of mentors. The company is committed to diversity and inclusion and is successful in other areas of the company, so I believe it is just a matter of time until things improve. But I believe a key to that will be understanding the unwritten rules to promotion and, possibly, a re-evaluation of some of those unwritten rules.

    What are the unwritten rules you have discovered? Are they appropriate for the job requirements? Do they have unconscious bias and, if identified, can (or should) the “rule” be changed?

    Some of the rules should be obvious, but I think some people are so focused on the “obvious bias in advancement decisions” that they ignore that they may not be promotable because of choices. When writing this, I am thinking of a vocal diverse candidate who complains about the metrics yet is not available to clients and abuses flexible workplace policies in a manner that sacrifices work quality. Obvious rules – high quality work, strong interpersonal skills, showing initiative and volunteering for “stretch” tasks.

  171. ‘And I quote, “For the most part I don’t see the need to push hard to eliminate gender gaps…”’

    I guess we have a failure to communicate because what I said is different from saying no changes need to be made. To explain, I believe changes should be made to provide equal opportunities for all as much as possible, but I oppose what I would consider aggressive and wrongheaded efforts to close gender gaps just to close gaps. Really, I wonder if bias is entering into your reading of my comments. ;)

  172. “The other kid accepted at all 8 Ivies was accepted early at Harvard, so I’m not sure why she bothered applying to all the other Ivies.”

    Maybe because Harvard was not her top choice and she wanted to wait to make her final decision.

  173. “When writing this, I am thinking of a vocal diverse candidate who complains about the metrics yet is not available to clients and abuses flexible workplace policies in a manner that sacrifices work quality. ”

    Exactly. As a manager I’ve dealt with employees who didn’t make themselves as available and caused other team members and me to work harder to produce the results we wanted. So if I did not promote or otherwise reward this employee that automatically meant I and our workplace was sexist/racist/unfair.

  174. In these discussions, people inevitably point out from observation that just about everyone who reaches the pinnacle, C-suite, whatever, tends to have a spouse who stays at home or is at least the definite primary caregiver. And we tend to think that this is a reasonable and justified unstated requirement.

    So the question would be, if we’re really in favor of closing at least the portion of the gender gap that is not by choice, how many of us with a daughter would subtly or non-subtly encourage, approve, or praise a potential husband for her who, from the get-go, wants to be a SAHD?

    Somehow I just don’t see that happening in Totebagland. Rather, I would predict a lot of side-eyes and questions like “are you sure that your values and ambitions are really aligned?”

  175. Continued:

    But then we started to have clients say, dude, we don’t want the dog-and-pony show. We want to get to know the people who are actually be working on our matters. So don’t bring a bunch of diverse faces to the meeting and then staff all our matters with the same white guys. Well, uh-oh — when you only have a couple of minorities, you can’t really do that. That forced us to expand our pipeline, look beyond the standard lily-white top 10. And you know what? There are a lot of minorities out there who are just as capable of doing great work as the white kids from the bigger-name schools. I mean, we are in freaking DC — we have Howard *right there* — how did we not have a partnership and a pipeline to that school? And, amazingly, when you hire people and put them on substantive cases and treat them like a real part of the team instead of a dancing pony, they tend to have a better opportunity to develop their skills, and they are happier and more inclined to stay.

    Now, do most minorities come to us with the “top 10% at Harvard Law” resume? Nope (because those guys are probably going to someone who pays a lot more than us anyway). So if that is your criteria for being “qualified” to do top-notch legal work, then, yeah, you’re going to struggle. But to revert back to the initial point, having a bunch of people with that particular piece of paper isn’t what is actually bringing us the work anyway — it’s rates and connections and rates and great work and did I mention rates? There are a lot of really bright, hungry kids out there of all colors and creeds for whom HYS isn’t an option for one reason or another, but who can absolutely do the work and develop into some awesome lawyers when given the opportunities and the support. Are they Supreme-Court-caliber pure intellects? Probably not. But then, neither again are the people hiring them — and neither are 99.99% of the old white guys who are out there doing the work today.

    The real problem is that it is quick and easy for law firms to just go to the “top” schools and just hire the “top” kids, for exactly the same reason it is easy for companies to just hire the “top” name law firms — it’s an easy screen, and it covers your backside if things don’t work out. Developing a diverse workforce requires more effort, because many smart minorities don’t have the same paper, for a whole host of reasons. So you can’t just look at a specific school or a specific number or whatever — you have to look hard at the writing and what it shows about analytical ability, at the interpersonal skills (marketing, right?), at the history of the work that has been done. And you don’t always get it right, and even when you do, it’s still hard to attract and retain the people you want.

    But the sort of hidden secret here in all of this is that it has made us a better firm. Because trying to identify and attract and retain minorities and women has actually made us look hard at what makes a successful associate/partner, at what makes people — *all* people — want to come work for us, at what we need to do to develop their skills, and at how we can retain the people we want to retain. It has led to much more engagement with associate development in general, working with each person individually to make sure they have a path to continued growth and to reaching their own career goals. This is a big, big deal, because we are now in a world where many associates don’t actually *want* to be a partner in a law firm, where they want challenging work and the ability to develop their skills, but mixed with the ability to have a life and do other things. So I think the work we have put in over the past @5 years in attracting and developing great minority talent has put us a little ahead of the curve in managing associate engagement in general.

    The other thing that the “standard” approach overlooks is what happens to all those women and minorities who leave your firm? In our case, most of them go to clients. We have lost a couple of really awesome African American lawyers over the past few years, whom we really didn’t want to lose — but they had great job opportunities in-house, so we encouraged them and wished them well. We have had people who didn’t work out for one reason or the other, but we helped them find a soft landing at client companies, and they have flourished there. So now, go back to page 1: how do people get work? Connections and rates, rates and connections. When you work hard to help someone develop into a great lawyer, even when they go somewhere else, it helps you build a stronger tie with that company.

    And, FWIW, I’d say probably 3/4 of my client contacts now are women. And those women tend to be a little impatient with firms that promote panels of white guys. So for us, continuing to put in the real effort to identify, attract, and develop minorities and women is just flat-out a business necessity. It is not in itself sufficient to bring us All The Work — that client I mentioned above ultimately gave us the work because we were willing to cut our rates. OTOH, if we hadn’t presented a diverse team, we never would have even made it to the final round to be invited to present those rates.

    Tl;dr: Creating and maintaining a diverse law firm is just good business sense.

  176. My BIL is in a low-paying field, and he’s someone who places a high value on things like workplace satisfaction and flexibility. He’d be a perfect SAHD. For a few years, he was seriously dating a woman who was/is on track to BigLaw partnership. She interned with a State Supreme Court, I believe after undergrad, and was admitted to one top-10 law school, where BIL prepared to move and spent months looking for a job in that area, then as he’s moving into their new apartment in that city, she gets pulled off the waitlist and admitted to a law school two notches higher in the top-10, and tells BIL to move to that city instead. Which he does, and starts over looking for a job.

    And all along, I’m thinking, as soon as she actually gets to law school and is surrounded by classmates who are as ambitious for material wealth as she is, she’s going to toss him over. And she did, like a month or so into it.

  177. LfB – I should send DD to you. Lawyer is still on her list of professions ;-). You will have a very young one in your pipeline !

  178. “how many of us with a daughter would subtly or non-subtly encourage, approve, or praise a potential husband for her who, from the get-go, wants to be a SAHD?”

    [raises hand]

    But you knew that already. :-) And you haven’t even met my daughter . . . .

  179. how many of us with a daughter would subtly or non-subtly encourage, approve, or praise a potential husband for her who, from the get-go, wants to be a SAHD?

    That would depend on the girl. Are they a type-a workaholic perfectionist with little to no patience? Maybe it would be best to pour that into work and marry someone more laid back and nurturing.

  180. To explain, I believe changes should be made to provide equal opportunities for all as much as possible

    I didn’t get the impression that was your opinion to start so I’m glad you clarified it.

  181. “Maybe it would be best to pour that into work and marry someone more laid back and nurturing.”

    I think some people say that in theory. When facing it in reality, suddenly the guy seems lazy and unmotivated, and that the driven, type-A girl deserves better (this is what I perceived in my BIL’s case). They wonder why, if she’s worked so hard for 25 years to be at the top of the pack, why she should burden herself with a low-earning or no-earning spouse.

    To be sure, I imagine the reverse happens, too, but with nowhere near the same frequency or intensity. And it’s more socially acceptable if she has something going on, like HM mentioned writing a freelance article once a month.

  182. Laura, if you didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent you.

  183. In my culture, men are expected to out-earn and outperform their wives. High performing women have had real problems finding men willing to marry them, because of this expectation.

  184. So the question would be, if we’re really in favor of closing at least the portion of the gender gap that is not by choice, how many of us with a daughter would subtly or non-subtly encourage, approve, or praise a potential husband for her who, from the get-go, wants to be a SAHD?

    Raising my hand. I have two boys and one of them says he wants to be a daddy when he grows up and talks about wanting kids. My other boy says he’ll never have kids (or at least not until he’s close to 100) and that he’ll be a good uncle.

    I think every marriage is unique and that couples need to figure out what works best for them. I think a lot of sexism exists against men where they are not supposed to show their emotions or to show that they want to be involved more with their families etc. I am all for women staying at home and for men staying at home because I am for people having choices and not being expected to follow societal norms on who does what type of work.

    On my son’s soccer team, there are 2 SAHD. One husband quit his job recently after the birth of their second child. The baby had started the first week of daycare, and they were really unhappy with it, so the dad decided to quit because the mom has a very high-level executive job and travels at least one week a month. The dad looks like the stereotypical super macho guy, and he said to me that he wanted to be super involved with his kids. The other SAHD’s wife is a doctor. He loves to cook. There is at least one SAHM on the team too. All cool in my opinion as it is what works best for them.

    I would love to stay home now that the kids are in school. I’m in charge of cooking and cleaning, so I figure that I could do that and then have the rest of the day free. But that is because I place a really high value on leisure time, probably a lot higher than others here. In the regular world, I’m not lazy, but compared to all of you I’m a sloth.

  185. And all along, I’m thinking, as soon as she actually gets to law school and is surrounded by classmates who are as ambitious for material wealth as she is, she’s going to toss him over. And she did, like a month or so into it.

    Very stupid. DH came out of law school with a tiny little amount of debt because his academic wife (me) paid the bills from salary and savings. All the kids who met and married in law school had $200K in combined debt.

  186. They wonder why, if she’s worked so hard for 25 years to be at the top of the pack, why she should burden herself with a low-earning or no-earning spouse.

    Who is they? Her friends and family? They’re assholes. Seriously.

    They are comparing her current situation to an (likely impossible) ideal situation and no good can come of that.

  187. “Very stupid.”

    Maybe, maybe not. Unlike my MIL, I have no ill will toward her. She wants a high-end Manhattan lifestyle that displays impressively on FB. (She and DW are still FB friends, which I find amusing.)

  188. @Milo: Honestly, I hope my DD marries someone kind. I don’t know that *she* would necessarily be smart/mature enough to see that, but I think of my stepdad, or see someone like my DS’s second-grade teacher, and think, now *that’s* what I want for her. She is rather high-strung and pointy-edged; she needs someone who is calmer and less gung-ho who will ground her, sort of help bleed off the energy/anxiety vs. amp it up. I really don’t want her to be a SAHM, because she reminds me of my mom in her need to control every little aspect of things and have things done exactly her way, which I think is a recipe for kid misery (any kid who is like her will generate daily fireworks, and any kid who is more mellow will never have a voice). Someone like an ES teacher would be *totally* awesome for her — take the primary lead on child responsibilities, keep the home sort of a nice, calm sanctuary, and then let her fly off into the outside world every day and force it to cede to her commands.

    There is a reason my dad nicknamed her “Commander” at 2 1/2. :-)

  189. So the question would be, if we’re really in favor of closing at least the portion of the gender gap that is not by choice, how many of us with a daughter would subtly or non-subtly encourage, approve, or praise a potential husband for her who, from the get-go, wants to be a SAHD?

    Maybe these attitudes are at least part of the reason why most men in the survey said they would prefer to WOH.

  190. Milo,

    I would also add that in the world outside totebaggy NMSFs, a more average 25 year old couple my not have a good idea of where their careers are going to go. The guy could end up in a dead end career and the wife could start moving up and it’s not necessarily easy to know that when they’re 18 month into their first post college job. If she ends up a Senior Director at 30 and he’s still an Analyst II, they need to deal with the world as it is and not lament what might have been.

  191. There is a view that work statistics or anecdotes or responses to surveys indicate that there is a significant difference between men and women both in their desire for and actual practice of WOH. The statistics for hours worked and type of jobs are one thing, but what is usually layered from the soft stuff is the idea that most women who are not working outside the home are doing so as a measured choice in their circumstances and than a many of those working outside the home would prefer to work less or not at all. Structural barriers are seen as incidental, sexism is discounted, and the final dismissal is, this is a privileged women’s whine (I disagree vehemently with that last – things are much more difficult for less privileged women). I wonder what it would be like to see (in the let’s get some popcorn sense) this same approach taken to the statistics for all those young men who are not working outside the home in any regular way. It can’t be that many of them just prefer to be outside the regular workforce. If they don’t work, it is not a reasoned choice, it must be because of some personal pathology or social pathology or economic dislocation.

  192. My BIL is a SAHD. It has not worked out well for his marriage even though I think it’s been great for the kids. It takes the kind of woman who really values her husband’s work at home I think for it to work well.

  193. “I really don’t want her to be a SAHM, because she reminds me of my mom in her need to control every little aspect of things and have things done exactly her way”

    WOH is no solution to that if she’s going to flip out on her mellow DH because he’s tossing the baby’s bottles in the dishwasher rather than sterilizing them with the specific device that she extensively researched, registered for, and set up.

    Then the baby gets a bout of croup or RSV, and all hell breaks loose, because she subconsciously thinks that if only he’d have done it *her* way…

  194. WOH is no solution

    What is the solution other than she needs to try and keep her crazy on the inside?

  195. “What is the solution other than she needs to try and keep her crazy on the inside?”

    Bingo.

  196. @Milo – What you are describing definitely happens, but the number of women (and moms) who are the primary earner with a husband who has a more flexible/less demanding job is growing steadily.

    I also think people have a really hard time picturing and really understanding what parenthood is going to be like for both partners. And when reality hits, everyone has to make choices. None are perfect. What I am railing against is the assumptions that people make about the motivations of women, especially women of childbearing age, compared to men of the same age/life stage. And how it colors the opportunities that we are given at work. And don’t get met started on how age discrimination is worse for women because I see that coming in the future as well, especially if I stay in this youth-obsessed field.

    @Kate – I totally get what you are saying. The so-called feminists of a certain stripe that I have known that were really judgemental about women “selling out” by staying home mostly either didn’t have kids yet (and were not slapped by reality) or had adult kids & fought much worse battles than I ever had to. I don’t hear men OR women in the thick of things expressing those views really. The “mommy wars” stuff is something much more petty and guilt-ridden, not based in feminist idealism, IMHO. And I don’t even hear the mommy wars stuff so much anymore, now that I am out of the baby/toddler weeds and around parents of grade schoolers more often. Whining by the mega-rich CEO woman in Big Little Lies not withstanding. :)

  197. A happy (and only tangentially related aside): Remember that random question about resume stuff a few weeks ago? I made it through the phone screen with the CEO…and I have an interview today for a big internal position. I’m not convinced I’m qualified – but I may be the most qualified, and the hire has to come internally, from what I understand.

    Anyway, I’ll be interviewing with a panel of 4 women, all fairly senior. I think this speak to the organization’s aggressive recruiting and mentoring pipeline to have women in positions of leadership. And I’ll wearing makeup and heels. It’s all very exciting.

  198. Milo and Rhett, please stop being assholes about LfB’s daughter.

  199. “They wonder why, if she’s worked so hard for 25 years to be at the top of the pack, why she should burden herself with a low-earning or no-earning spouse.”

    This attitude does exist, but it is insanely unfair to both men AND women. It is a big part of the problem. I hope it will continue to get better as more women outearn their partners – both in the Totebag world and in the working class world. But I don’t know. Maybe when my son is in his 20’s.

    I also agree with Rhett that two 25 year olds don’t really know where the next 5 years will take them. I think the scenario he describes definitely happens frequently. It’s not that far off with what happened with DH & I, to be honest, although we knew that was a likely path at the time. But it was not without surprises.

  200. Milo and Rhett, please stop being assholes about LfB’s daughter.

    I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. We all have crazy we need to keep a lid on.

  201. Ditto to Rhett. It wasn’t specific to any person. Just a comment on how these things often unfold.

  202. “In the regular world, I’m not lazy, but compared to all of you I’m a sloth.”

    @tcama – Haha. I feel the same way. And once again, I agree with everything else you said as well.

    I mean, if someone asks me if I’d prefer to be a SAHM – in the real life with the real family I have – no. But in a fantasy world where we have a lottery win or trust fund and our lifestyle could stay the same with no other changes than me not having to work for pay – sign me up! I mean – I work because I need to support myself and my family, not because I would do it for free. But I don’t want to be a SAHM if that means DH needs to get the type of job that would replace my income. I am REALLY not interested in being a SAHM with a DH who travels constantly and is never around, and that is what it would be.

  203. Another reason your almost-future SIL was dumb, Milo:

    In our circumstances, I was making low six figures. (Very low). We got married thinking we were egalitarian; turns out the world doesn’t work that way. And we only had one part-time kid! Anyway, when I finally quit working in ’09 and said, fine, fuck all my feminist ideals of the 70s, I’ll be June Cleaver, and I started preparing three meals a day, doing all the laundry and shopping and cooking and household management and all DH had to do was go to work and then come home and have a glass of wine and his balanced, low-carb dinner and watch Dr. Who, he billed $100K more IN THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS than was his standard. And that has continued. So my salary and job were holding us back financially.

    You just can’t even imagine how differently my life turned out from what I had planned when I went bravely off to college in 1978. It’s fine, I’m super fortunate, etc., but this is not what I had in mind at all.

  204. Yeah, I know, I didn’t take it personally, but thanks — it is my kid, and so it is hard. And y’all know I tend to look for the downsides in things, so I do fret more about DD’s difficult sides here and maybe play that up too much. But my point is that it’s not about one personality, it’s two — you can put the same person with Option A, and every discussion turns into a fight or snit fit; whereas you put that same person with Option B, and they manage to have a reasonable discussion and work it out. I mean, good Lord, my dad and stepdad are as different as night and day; they both loved my mom, but one pairing blossomed into daily fights, while the other turned into 38 happy years. I am hyper aware of my kid’s potentially negative tendencies, so I want Option B for her, someone who is complementary. And then I want an exterior outlet for the other part — if you have an aggressive side to your personality, you need to work that out somewhere (just like someone with a mild personality needs a refuge from that).

    Re: the parenting, it’s also about the allocation of spheres of responsibility. Imagine her trying to share daily parenting with someone else and, yeah, you’re going to get into the “who’s doing it right” spats. But this is why sometimes divide and conquer is an awesome strategy (a/k/a I don’t care how DH loads the dishwasher because it’s not my problem). If your husband handles dropoff in the morning and pickup in the afternoon, and you’re out of the house focusing on work, then you’re not going to get in his business about what he decides to make for breakfast or whether he turns on Elmo for 30 minutes so he can make dinner, because it’s not your area of responsibility.

    Fundamentally, my DD has many more stereotypically “male” traits — she is aggressive, achievement-oriented, tends toward impatience, and likes to make things happen on her schedule. She could be a great CEO or commanding officer. Clearly, there are many men with those same personality traits who manage to have very successful careers and families — usually, because they marry someone who wants the less-demanding or no career and wants to take the primary role running the home and family. And just as clearly, those men don’t all come home and micromanage their wives and kids and berate them for not doing everything right, because that’s the wife’s zone of responsibility. I mean, sure, some do, but that’s because they are assholes. So knowing what I do of my kid, I think the same sort of setup is most likely to be successful for her long-term, just with the gender roles flipped.

  205. Rocky – And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s my wife who planned to be a FT sahm (and will always prefer to think of herself that way), but she is the one who makes our comfortable-enough lifestyle now simultaneously possible with an early retirement to “yachting.”

  206. So, both stories suggest that you really don’t know how things are going to go. And the main thing we should be encouraging in both boys and girls is resilience and flexibility.

    Go Ada! Knock ’em dead.

  207. RMS – did you get any feedback from your tech guy friends about your current not working outside the home status ?

  208. “So, both stories suggest that you really don’t know how things are going to go. And the main thing we should be encouraging in both boys and girls is resilience and flexibility.”

    Well, damn, Rocky, if you’d come up with that 23.5 hrs ago, you’d have saved us pages and pages.

  209. did you get any feedback from your tech guy friends about your current not working outside the home status ?

    Ha — no. Their wives are more SAH than I am. I worked full-time in professional-level jobs for 20 years, and part time for 10 years. They also have more kids, so more reasons for the wives to SAH, but they all bitch about being the sole breadwinner. They don’t mention who was supposed to raise the damn kids.

  210. “Well, damn, Rocky, if you’d come up with that 23.5 hrs ago, you’d have saved us pages and pages.”

    No. The discussion has to at least progress to 11 am the next day, otherwise there’s nothing.

  211. Good luck, Ada!

    When I attend women’s conferences in my industry, nearly all of the women in the room are the breadwinner. I have always made multiples of my husband but think my career has a shorter runway than his. When I was growing up, my godmother had the job with more potential and my godfather did the books part time for his family shoe store and did all of the drop off and pick up runs. Her career was ended early due to some politics on her campus (she was in higher education) and he had maintained enough contacts to work his way up in the accounting/finance side of things. Ended up being controller and then CFO for a small group of bank branches that grew and then was purchased with handsome payout. I like their ideas of taking turns in their careers. Life is long and unpredictable. At one point my sister had two nannies and was traveling globally. She has a chronic health issue now that is well managed but she now has the lower stress “mom job” and works 9am to 4:55pm. I think it is dangerous to think of careers as either/or. I am not getting to the C-suite of a fortune 500. I want to be engaged, do interesting things, make a decent living, and be home for dinner.

  212. Thanks for all the encouragement. I’m partly here because I had some great support (including advice here) telling me to apply even though I didn’t meet all the qualifications. “Women apply when they meet all the requirements, and men apply when they meet half and convince themselves and the interviewers that the other half don’t matter.”

    In conversations about this, the term “two Au pairs” has come up at home. I don’t need 20 hours of care for my kids per day, just once in awhile. (I’m out of the house today from 6:30a-2a). DH made the mistake of saying he was doing me a favor by making kid lunch.

  213. “otherwise there’s nothing.”

    Damn, Milo getting all existentialist? You know Rocky is our resident philosopher.

  214. I agree with those who have observed that it’s good that more men are able to take on the primary caretaker role. The husbands of the women at work mostly have that role- I can think of a preschool teacher, engineer-turned-science teacher, SAHD of 3 kids with a home ec degree and a couple former hourly workers here.

    If Baby WCE is professionally driven, I think it would be good for her to marry someone less professionally driven. If Mr WCE and I had known ourselves better 20 years ago, maybe I would have been the breadwinner in our family- I chose to get an engineering degree because I wanted to be able to support a family, whether I ever had to or not. I think of work/home as a question of degree of specialization/redundancy. Mr WCE can do everything at home (laundry, cooking, shopping, home repairs, kid dropoff/pickup) and I can earn income.

    RMS’s and Milo’s stories remind me that you really don’t know what will work long-term when you hitch your lives together. I’m a planner so that’s a good lesson for me.

  215. I recently read two books by Carol Tuttle who is the Dressing Your Truth lady – The Child Whisperer and It’s Just My Nature. It’s a little woo woo but she professes there are four energy types and the descriptions have been fairly accurate for my family, even down to the physical characteristics each type has. Anyway, I think from her perspective it’s less about gender and more about energy types in a marriage or career. My husband would be totally fine if I was the breadwinner and we probably should have worked to make that happen but he was the one that went to law school and I am practical about money in the way RMS describes.. Dh is a perfectionist that hates making decisions on the fly that aren’t perfect. so he’s good at his job in the sense that he is so detail oriented that he can spot issues that others can’t but he’s ill suited for the on the fly negotiating part. My oldest is a type two sensitive person who would be fine being a SAHM or in a career that used herlove of gathering details, whereas my youngest is a Type 3 girl (as I am) who is a doer that just wants to dive in and make the decisions and needs that energy to be channeled in a career that’s results oriented.

  216. Speaking from the trenches, being the sole breadwinner and the childbearer is a pretty cruddy combination. I’m grateful that DH agreed to stay home. Our family situation would not work otherwise and he does a great job with the kids. If given a blank slate, however, I think we’d both want to reverse who stayed home and who worked. YMMV.

  217. TLC, I’ll be thinking about you. Pregnancy with nth child/newborn stage for Baby n/working/children 1…(n-1) is a tough stage.

  218. Thanks, WCE. I haven’t been feeling very well, physically, the last few days. I’m just getting into the third trimester and am trying not to mentally despair about how much longer this is going to take. Yout positive thoughts are appreciated :).

  219. My son strongly believes both husband and wife should WOH. He really wants kids, and frequently comments on what kind of dad he wants to be, what he wants to do with his kids, etc. He loves working with the kids in his ECE class and even like the little outfits they wear. He is good at a bunch of academic stuff, but none of it enough to push the rest aside and do amazing things in that one area, the way a certain young engineering HS student here has. It would absolutely not surprise me if he’d put his career on the back burner to be lead parent while his wife was a go-getter at work.
    “Thpe A” personality is not a compliment, in my book, and “Type B” is not an insult.

  220. WOH is no solution to that if she’s going to flip out on her mellow DH because he’s tossing the baby’s bottles in the dishwasher rather than sterilizing them with the specific device that she extensively researched, registered for, and set up.

    Then the baby gets a bout of croup or RSV, and all hell breaks loose, because she subconsciously thinks that if only he’d have done it *her* way…

    Oh, come on! Stop pretending you can’t grasp the very simple concept of one person–the one who is staying at home–being the lead parent. She wouldn’t gripe about those things because she’d be doing her thing. Plenty of women commented upthread that my suspicion was right–somebody has to expend the mental energy/executive function/bandwidth to keep track of stuff and keep the damn household running. In a contest to see who can hold out the longest, both have been conditioned that it’s her job. She caves and does it because if no one is keeping track of how much milk is left, then no one will know to pick it up. Or that it’s time to go to the dentist. Or whatever other household things have to be run. LfB’s daughter, out there kicking ass and doing great stuff as an engineer, is not going to worry about that crap, because she will have chosen an appropriate mate who can and will provide her with a closet full of clean work clothes & dinner when she gets home every evening, be a loving partner on weekends unless she’s working, manage social engagements, and keep a spotless house. You want to talk type A personaility? That’s a lot of crap to keep together, and she doesn’t need to spend her time on it.

  221. “somebody has to expend the mental energy/executive function/bandwidth to keep track of stuff and keep the damn household running.”

    Absolutely. And in our household, that is split. Laundry, clothing rotation, meal planning are generally my territory. DH makes breakfast, does 95% of school pickup and kid activities, does dishes, plans dates/vacations/hires babysitters, and handles house/car maintenance. We both handle sick kid duty, doctor/dentist appointments and school commitments. It works fine for us, but YMMV. And I do not give two &$%# how the dishwasher is loaded because I don’t have to do it.

  222. I don’t care how the dishwasher is loaded as long as I don’t have to look at it. I can’t figure out how people’s spatial skills are so poor that they think it is reasonable to load the dishwasher the wrong way. DH ran the dishwasher last night before dinner(!!) and I could have totally fit the dinner dishes in there.

  223. After a discussion here a while back, I started running my dishwasher midday and in the evening. Life changing! I had been running it once a day and there was never enough room for everything so I would end up hand washing some of the dinner dishes. Now I run it after lunch and after dinner, regardless of how full it is. The happiness that this simple change has made is outstanding.

  224. “Now I run it after lunch and after dinner, regardless of how full it is. The happiness that this simple change has made is outstanding.”

    That’s what we do on the weekends, and it makes such a difference. Even if it doesn’t look that full after lunch.

  225. “Yeah, yeah, the school nurse will call you first.”

    Not sure why, but the nurse calls me.

  226. “not so many African-Americans, and almost no Hispanics, Asians, or other minorities. So for many years, we kept interviewing at the same top 10 schools, and we’d hire the one or two “qualified minorities” we found”

    Almost no Asians from top 10 law schools? Really?

  227. “Clearly, there are many men with those same personality traits who manage to have very successful careers and families — usually, because they marry someone who wants the less-demanding or no career and wants to take the primary role running the home and family.”

    Not necessarily wants to take the less-demanding or no career route; I’m guessing it often is more of a case of willingness rather than want.

  228. “a woman who was/is on track to BigLaw partnership. She interned with a State Supreme Court, I believe after undergrad, and was admitted to one top-10 law school”

    Do courts like SSCs hire interns without law degrees?

  229. Catching up late on this thread but thanks to LfB for a fascinating view of how a different sort of law firm evolves. My old firm has more women that it did when I was there, and a few Asians, but at least 70-80% of the partners appear to be white men. And everyone went to a top law school, had a federal clerkship or two, and perhaps some time at Treasury or as an adjunct tax prof. It’s a small, niche firm that clients typically consult on complicated or “bet the company” matters. They evidently don’t care about the diversity of the teams handling their work, or the firm would have folded by now. Most matters are so leanly staffed that the word “team” is meaningless anyhow. It’s the only place I have worked as a grownup (other than the clerkship which I suspect is still filled by judges interviewing from feeder schools) and so I appreciate the different perspective.

    My brother married LfB’s daughter. They met at a law firm where she was an associate and he was a case manager. Her parents were relieved that he was so easygoing and laid back but may have wished that he had higher earnings potential. She is now in house and he is a well paid case manager at Biglaw so it has worked out ok.

  230. I haven’t read through all of the replies but a couple things: a true feminist respects that any choice with regards to a mom choosing to work outside the home or be SAHM or a dad choosing to work outside the home versus be SAHD is a valid choice

    also, my DH is a SAHD and my BIL is a SAHD

  231. DH is skeptical about the DoL’s claims, just FYI, WCE.

    In a statement to the Guardian, Google said: “We vehemently disagree with [Wipper’s] claim. Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap. Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”

    DH says to keep an eye on the outcome. He has seen this kind of thing from the DoL before. It makes for great headlines, but Google may very well be right.

    Laura can now beat me up for criticizing the government agency.

  232. RMS, I am similarly skeptical, based on the Google people I know. And if there is some discrepancy, I still believe Google is being targeted because they are big and famous, not because they are the worst offender.

  233. ” It seems millennial men are leaning to wanting to do less..”

    My guess is that those millennial men wanting to do less may find a small pool of potential spouses, especially within their ethnic groups. E.g., Hispanic men with that viewpoint may find many Hispanic women not sharing that viewpoint marrying non-Hispanic men.

  234. Used to Lurk, I thought that article was interesting. I’ve observed on this blog how the people with married children (Meme, RMS, Old Mom, Scarlett- can only think of women) have not discussed (that I recall- I miss sometimes) career balance challenges that their married children have, though Old Mom may have hinted at some and perhaps some people have gay children. Milo has hinted that his wife’s desire to be a primarily SAHM is grounded in part in the trade-offs she saw necessary to be a high achieving professional couple and Louise has also hinted that she deliberately chose to be more available to her children than her parents were to her.

    I think I’m a few years older than Mrs. Milo and I only knew of a couple professional women growing up, but I suspect I would share parts of her viewpoint if I had her background.

  235. Young adults in this age bracket are basing their opinions on their own childhood experiences. Unless the research was confined to college graduates, many of the respondents, especially the minorities, grew up in single parent families and probably longed for the presence of a dad in their lives. The college grads either had traditional two parent families or watched their mothers struggle to balance work and family. ( Only a minority of moms with college degrees and professions were able to work full time when their children were young 20 years ago.). Maybe they were latchkey kids who wished that mom was around more often, or they were forced to take on the responsikbity for siblings. Most children are childish — they care more about their desires than the professional opportunities for their parents. Traditional gender roles do meet the needs of children in a way that other family forms may not, at least not without significant resources. That structure may seem ideal to an idealistic young person who has not yet made the difficult sacrifices necessary to achieve it.

    But what people SAY they value does not always translate into how they actually behave. Witness the large numbers of men who say they want more time with a new baby and the small numbers who actually take advantage of paternity leave options. Young people who say they want traditional gender roles may well choose otherwise when attractive and well paying positions are available for women.

  236. My guess is that those millennial men wanting to do less may find a small pool of potential spouses, especially within their ethnic groups. E.g., Hispanic men with that viewpoint may find many Hispanic women not sharing that viewpoint marrying non-Hispanic men.

    And then there will be more clucking and finger-wagging at the women who have children without being married. Because it’s never the men’s fault, it’s always those damn wimmin who can’t keep their legs crossed, and who insist on having children even though being married to a layabout lout would be worse than being single.

    My DIL was raised to have a fall-back career, but to plan on marrying a man who can support her well so she can stay home with the kids. In other words, exactly the same as my mom was raised. So far, it has worked out for her, just as it worked out for my mom. Sucks to be my cohort, I guess.

  237. WCE, DS married a woman from a traditional family. Her own mom never worked after she had children, and DIL left the work force when she had her first child. She has done some freelance projects from home but DS has accepted the role of breadwinner. They both liked having a SAHM mom as kids and wanted that structure for their own children. College DS has said he would like to be a SAHD but I think he is imagining spending his days playing in the woods or reading aloud from Frog and Toad or the Church Mice books, and not necessarily the tedium and exhaustion of constant responsility for infants and toddlers. A weekend of caring for his niece and nephew would probably set him straight.

  238. RMS,my Dad is far harder on uninvolved/”lazy” fathers than on women who have children without partners, partly because in his somewhat traditional view, a husband/father should work harder than a wife/mother, with “work” defined as a combination of paid and unpaid work. He typically worked 7-3, picked us up at school at 3:30 and started an evening of childcare/children’s activities, yardwork and gardening. When Mom had two boys in cloth diapers, he did the first load of laundry before he left for work.

  239. Your dad was a good guy, WCE. Mine was too. We need more of them.

  240. “But what people SAY they value does not always translate into how they actually behave. Witness the large numbers of men who say they want more time with a new baby and the small numbers who actually take advantage of paternity leave options. Young people who say they want traditional gender roles may well choose otherwise when attractive and well paying positions are available for women.”

    I agree with you on this. Some theoretical idea of what you may want with an unknown partner is much easier to be dogmatic about than reality. Parenthood has a way of slapping you in the face, as does a real-life marriage.

    That said, my parents both worked when I was growing up, with a few short exceptions (like when my mom went back to school for 2 years & when we moved for my dad’s job). At some points in my childhood, my mom worked more hours, at others, my dad did. I don’t remember ever thinking that they weren’t “around” or available. Neither was particularly high-powered either although my dad did spend a year a few hours away from us on sabbatical. I was around 13, and I remember that being really hard on my mom more than anything. Anyway, I think I was more inclined to not want to be a SAHM because my mom mostly wasn’t, and I admired her and thought my childhood was mostly good.

  241. @Finn – I also agree with you that this all evolves & it might not be about who “wants” what in their heart of hearts, but really about who is willing to do what at each point in time. I mean – these things change over time for a lot of families/careers too.

  242. Ivy, I agree, and I also see the differences in gender role viewpoints also leading to some marriages ending, e.g., after kids, when the bloom of love has faded and it becomes more clear to some couples how their viewpoints may not be reconcilable enough to sustain their marriages.

  243. “a woman from a traditional family. Her own mom never worked after she had children”

    Traditions vary with things like geography. I grew up with working moms being the norm, and thus wouldn’t see a SAHM as traditional. IME, SAHMs typically either worked at home (e.g., took in others’ kids) or had a wealthy husband.

  244. Finn, your tone deaf, racist Pollyanna comment on April 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm is really unhelpful. Tone deaf, as you pulled that comment from a discussion about who takes care of little kids when they are sick. And anyone who follows my comments half as closely as you apparently do would know that he really, really struggles. Being black is not a cure-all. We have a lot to work through. It isn’t easy, and he certainly isn’t going to be awarded admissions just because of his skin. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being black, obviously, but that your concept that it is somehow the golden ticket is way off base. Knowing the issues my kid deals with makes your repeated comments really grating.

  245. What disturbs me the most is that a lot of employers in certain working fields just totally discriminate the other gender. I know different women who were denied a promotion simply because of their gender, e.g. the boss clearly stated that X was the best candidate but couldn’t be given the promotion because the other (male) colleagues wouldn’t approve. So either the boss didn’t want to give the promotion (then again why would he say that she was the most qualified) or there is just a very wrong thinking pattern.
    This is equally the fault of partners not wanting to switch up the traditional gender roles, but then again as Ivy stated maybe this wouldn’t be such a problem if jobs would pay equally amongst genders.
    I find that there are quite some ambitious (young) women who (will) never achieve their full potential simply because they don’t believe that they can do a certain thing like building a career. How sad is it that they’ve given up before even trying… There are certain programs encouraging women to be a part of certain working fields like banking, but they are not well known and only available in the top firms and therefor only for people who have a career already or managed to make it to the top X%. These programs for e.g. parental leave should be available to both men and women and more programs striving for gender equality should be introduced.
    Furthermore there should be events and workshops for young professionals who are ambitious or talented to show them the possibilities and help them reach their goals or encourage them to choose a career in something they’re passionate about.

  246. On the original topic, in tech, the practice of periodically laying off x% of the workforce is often the “bend in the pipe” (place in fluid flow where particulate/debris sticks) for women. I don’t know if other competitive industries (law and consulting) have similar situations. My employer talks about the lack of qualified women, but they choose not to talk about how, because of local demographics, women who were given the choice of “work full-time and travel or be laid off” in ~2005 when they were mothers of young children are no longer engineers, or are no longer engineers here. I share Finn’s observation that some marriages (including mine) are not suited to two hard-charging careers. It takes not only passion and talent but also a high energy level and organization. Many/most of the hard-charging dual career couples I know have significant help from a grandparent at some time and that’s more accepted/common in particular cultures.

    My employer is pretty progressive so I haven’t seen the lack of opportunities for women that womanbitious sees, although I share his/her view that people’s preference for traditional gender roles plays a role when equal earners have to make a decision. One of the things I never thought about till we were in the middle of it is that it’s not just how MUCH you have to travel, it’s how often the travel schedule changes.

  247. I would not feel comfortable sharing a lot about my son’s actual marriage, my second son’s work/family discussions leading up to impending marriage, my two daughters’ lack of marriage. However, I would say that my general observation is that for our family financial self reliance (not financial equality, not near 50/50 paid work divide over the lifetime of the marriage, not near 50/50 housework/child care divide when one person brings in 80 plus percent of the cash) is highly desirable if not necessary for both partners. It is inconceivable to me that a young person would embark on family formation and parenthood as a single parent or as part of a couple if one of the two participants was not in possession of the skills and experience or independent wealth to step in and earn a living sufficient to support at a base level that number of children. Don’t tell me about life insurance. Death can be provided for, but many more likely scenarios cannot. And very few kids brought up in our sort of educated totebag family are going to be comfortable over many years being on the financially dependent side. (Lots of our totebag early retirees, ramp off and middle school stay at homes have worked in good jobs for many years and have funds of their own as well as skills. I am not talking about that scenario.) It works if the SAH is a personally secure individual and has picked a spouse who while working long hours and providing sufficient income can still pay a bit of attention to the kids, be generous with the funds and treat the domestic manager with respect and not as live in help. But the money imbalance and the “it just makes more sense for x to stay home” soon after the kids come is a big hurdle to overcome.

  248. Don’t tell me about life insurance. Death can be provided for, but many more likely scenarios cannot.

    You are much more likely to become disabled and unable to work than you are to die.

  249. Milo, check back on the things he says about my kid consistently. Just as you have your own pet narratives, he has his, and one of them is a young man he’s never met. It was tiresome for a while, but it’s going beyond that now.

  250. FInn, you know I i appreciate you in lots of ways, and have taken up for you when people are irritated by the grammar comments. I don’t want there to be hard feelings. Why don’t you drop me a line at saacnmama@hotmail and we can chat.

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