Recommended Reading: Lean In, Dad

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Photograph: Sarma Ozols/Getty Images

In her article, Lean In, Dad: How Shared Diaper Duty Could Stimulate the Economy, Catherine Rampell makes an economic argument for gender parity in the workforce. She calls for a two-pronged solution that involves both better work-life policies (such as access to parental leave and child care) and a change in social roles. Rampell points to the gaps between capability, educational attainment, and economic engagement that have millions of women underemployed in the United States.  She goes on to compare the US to other “developed” nations and illustrates how the stigma attached to the “welfare state” is holding us back:

Such policies contribute to these countries’ swollen welfare states and higher tax burdens, but they do keep women at work. Back in 1990, in a ranking of 22 developed countries, the United States had the 6th-highest share of its prime-working-age women active in the work force. By 2010, it had tumbled to 17th place.

Conservative narratives in the US have closed policy makers off from a wide realm of possibilities. Rampell cites public 24-hour nurseries as a progressive and successful example. Without demanding radical change, she calls for the US to get on par with, at the very least, the average of other developed countries. She also is cognizant of the limits to legislating social change.  Using the language of Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book  Lean InRampell asks Dads to lean in too:

In order to prescribe policies that really allow female workers to “lean in” at work, social scientists are trying to find ones that recast social norms and encourage male workers to “lean in” at home. 

Other nations have incentivized this by offering paid paternity leave and allocating money specifically for dads. By increasing the economic benefits of shared parental responsibility, we can make gender parity a more appealing and realistic aim. This is also better for the single dads and working dads who, without economic relief, wish they had more time to spend with their children. Rampell’s piece offers a clean arguement for how feminist are good for men, women, and the economy as a whole. Read the whole piece here:
-Nicole Hasslinger, Academics Editor 
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