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Chapter 8 Make Your Partner a Real Partner
BEING A MOTHER has been an amazing experience for me. Giving birth was not. After nine months ofserious nausea, I could not wait to move on to the next phase. Unfortunately, my son was in no suchrush. When my due date arrived, my OB decided I should be induced. My parents and my sister,Michelle, joined me and Dave at the hospital. Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in mycase, it took a village just to get the child out of me. My hours in labor went on … and on … and on.

For my supporters, excitement gave way to boredom. At one point, I needed help through acontraction but couldn’t get anyone’s attention because they were all on the other side of the room,showing family photos to my doctor. It has been a running joke in my family that it’s hard to holdanyone’s attention for too long. Labor was no exception to that rule.

After three and half hours of pushing, my son finally emerged, weighing nine pounds, sevenounces. Half of that weight was in his head. My sister is a pediatrician and has attended hundreds ofdeliveries. She kindly did not tell me until much later that mine was one of the hardest she had everwitnessed. It was all worth it when my son was pronounced healthy and the nausea that I had felt fornine straight months vanished within an hour. The worst was over.

The next morning, I got out of bed in my hospital room, took one step, and fell to the floor.

Apparently I had yanked my leg back so hard during labor that I had pulled a tendon. I was oncrutches for a week. Being unable to stand added a degree of difficulty to my first week ofmotherhood but also provided one unforeseen benefit: Dave became the primary caregiver for ournewborn. Dave had to get up when the baby cried, bring him to me to be fed, change him, and then gethim back to sleep. Normally, the mother becomes the instant baby care expert. In our case, Davetaught me how to change a diaper when our son was eight days old. If Dave and I had planned this, wewould have been geniuses. But we didn’t and we aren’t.

In fact, we should have planned a lot more. When I was six months pregnant, a Ph.D. candidateinterviewed me by phone for her dissertation on working couples. She began by asking, “How do youdo it all?” I said, “I don’t. I don’t even have a child,” and suggested that she interview someone whoactually did. She said, “You’re just a few months away from having a baby, so surely you and yourhusband have thought about who is going to pick up your child if he is sick at school? Who is going toarrange for child care?” And so on. I couldn’t answer a single one of her questions. By the end of thecall, I was in full panic, overwhelmed by how truly unprepared Dave and I were to handle theseresponsibilities. As soon as Dave walked in the door that night, I pounced. “Ohmigod!” I said. “Weare just a few months away from having a baby, and we have never talked about any of this!” Davelooked at me like I was crazy. “What?” he said. “This is all we talk about.”

In dissecting this discrepancy, Dave and I figured out that we had spent a lot of time talking abouthow we would do things, but almost always in the abstract. So Dave was right that we had discussedparenthood often, and I was right that the discussion had not been that practical. Part of the problemwas that our inexperience made it hard even to know what specifics to cover. We had very little ideawhat we were in for.

I also think that we were in denial about the tremendous shift in our lives that was rapidlyapproaching. Dave and I were not even working in the same city when I got pregnant (although just tobe clear, we were in the same place when I got pregnant). Dave had founded a company, LaunchMedia, in L.A. and sold it to Yahoo years earlier. Yahoo’s headquarters were in Northern California,where I lived and worked, but Dave’s team remained in Los Angeles, where he lived and worked.

When we started dating, we decided to base our life together in the Bay Area, so Dave begancommuting, typically spending Monday through Thursday in Southern California and then flyingnorth to spend weekends with me. This pattern continued even after we were married.

After the birth of our son, Dave began flying back and forth several times a week. It was great thatwe had the ability for him to commute, but it was far from ideal. Even though he was making anexhausting effort to be with me and our baby, he was still gone a lot. Since I was with the baby full-time, the great majority of child care fell to me. The division of labor felt uneven and strained ourmarriage. We hired a nanny, but she couldn’t solve all our problems; the emotional support and sharedexperience that a spouse provides cannot be bought. After a few short months of parenthood, we hadalready fallen into traditional, lopsided gender roles.

We were not unique. In the last thirty years, women have made more progress in the workforce thanin the home. According to the most recent analysis, when a husband and wife both are employed full-time, the mother does 40 percent more child care and about 30 percent more housework than thefather.

A 2009 survey found that only 9 percent of people in dual-earner marriages said that theyshared housework, child care, and breadwinning evenly.

So while men are taking on more householdresponsibilities, this increase is happening very slowly, and we are still far from parity.

(Perhapsunsurprisingly, same-sex couples divide household tasks much more evenly.)Public policy reinforces this gender bias. The U.S. Census Bureau considers mothers the“designated parent,” even when both parents are present in the home.

When mothers care for theirchildren, it’s “parenting,” but when fathers care for their children, the government deems it a “childcare arrangement.”

I have even heard a few men say that they are heading home to “babysit” for theirchildren. I have never heard a woman refer to taking care of her own children as “babysitting.” Afriend of mine ran a team-building exercise during a company retreat where people were asked to fillin their hobbies. Half of the men in the group listed “their children” as hobbies. A hobby? For mostmothers, kids are not a hobby. Showering is a hobby.

My friends Katie and Scott Mitic flip this pattern. Katie and Scott are both Silicon Valleyentrepreneurs who work full-time. About a year ago, Scott traveled to the East Coast for work. He wasstarting a late-morning meeting when his phone rang. His team only heard one side of theconversation. “A sandwich, carrot sticks, a cut-up apple, pretzels, and a cookie,” Scott said. He hungup smiling and explained that his wife was asking what she should put in the kids’ lunch boxes.

Everyone laughed. A few months later, Scott was back east with the same work colleagues. They werein a cab late that morning when Scott’s phone rang. His team listened in disbelief as he patientlyrepeated the lunch list all over again: “A sandwich, carrot sticks, a cut-up apple, pretzels, and acookie.”

When Scott tells this story, it’s sweet and funny. But take this same story and switch the gendersand it loses its charm. That’s just reality for most couples. Scott and Katie buck expectations with theirdivision of household duties. There’s an epilogue to their story. Scott went on a third trip anddiscovered that Katie forgot to make the kids’ lunches altogether. She realized her slipup midmorningand solved the problem by having a pizza delivered to the school cafeteria. Their kids were thrilled,but Scott was not. Now when he travels, he packs lunches in advance and leaves notes with specificinstructions for his wife.

There may be an evolutionary basis for one parent knowing better what to put in a child’s lunch.

Women who breast-feed are arguably baby’s first lunch box. But even if mothers are more naturallyinclined toward nurturing, fathers can match that skill with knowledge and effort. If women want tosucceed more at work and if men want to succeed more at home, these expectations have to bechallenged. As Gloria Steinem once observed, “It’s not about biology, but about consciousness.”

We overcome biology with consciousness in other areas. For example, storing large amounts of fatwas necessary to survive when food was scarce, so we evolved to crave it and consume it when it’savailable. But in this era of plenty, we no longer need large amounts of fuel in reserve, so instead ofsimply giving in to this inclination, we exercise and limit caloric intake. We use willpower to combatbiology, or at least we try. So even if “mother knows best” is rooted in biology, it need not be writtenin stone. A willing mother and a willing father are all it requires. Yes, someone needs to rememberwhat goes into the lunch box, but as Katie will attest, it does not have to be Mom.

As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home. I have seenso many women inadvertently discourage their husbands from doing their share by being toocontrolling or critical. Social scientists call this “maternal gatekeeping,” which is a fancy term for“Ohmigod, that’s not the way you do it! Just move aside and let me!”

When it comes to children,fathers often take their cues from mothers. This gives a mother great power to encourage or impedethe father’s involvement. If she acts as a gatekeeper mother and is reluctant to hand overresponsibility, or worse, questions the father’s efforts, he does less.

Whenever a married woman asks me for advice on coparenting with a husband, I tell her to let himput the diaper on the baby any way he wants as long as he’s doing it himself. And if he gets up to dealwith the diaper before being asked, she should smile even if he puts that diaper on the baby’s head.

Over time, if he does things his way, he’ll find the correct end. But if he’s forced to do things her way,pretty soon she’ll be doing them herself.

Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal—and equally capable—partner. And if that’s not reason enough, bear in mind that a study found that wives who engage ingatekeeping behaviors do five more hours of family work per week than wives who take a morecollaborative approach.

Another common and counterproductive dynamic occurs when women assign or suggest tasks totheir partners. She is delegating, and that’s a step in the right direction. But sharing responsibilityshould mean sharing responsibility. Each partner needs to be in charge of specific activities or itbecomes too easy for one to feel like he’s doing a favor instead of doing his part.

Like many pieces of advice, letting a partner take responsibility and do his share in his own way iseasy to say and hard to do. My brother, David, and sister-in-law, Amy, were very aware of this tensionwhen they first became parents. “There were many times when our daughter was more easily consoledby me,” Amy said. “It’s really hard to listen to your baby cry while your struggling husband with nobreasts tries desperately and sometimes awkwardly to comfort her. David was insistent that rather thanhanding the baby to me when she was crying, we allow him to comfort her even if it took longer. Itwas harder in the short run, but it absolutely paid off when our daughter learned that Daddy could takecare of her as well as Mommy.”

I truly believe that the single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether shewill have a life partner and who that partner is. I don’t know of one woman in a leadership positionwhose life partner is not fully—and I mean fully—supportive of her career. No exceptions. Andcontrary to the popular notion that only unmarried women can make it to the top, the majority of themost successful female business leaders have partners. Of the twenty-eight women who have servedas CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, twenty-six were married, one was divorced, and only one hadnever married.

10Many of these CEOs said they “could not have succeeded without the support of theirhusbands, helping with the children, the household chores, and showing a willingness to move.”

Not surprisingly, a lack of spousal support can have the opposite effect on a career. In a 2007 studyof well-educated professional women who had left the paid workforce, 60 percent cited their husbandsas a critical factor in their decision.

These women specifically listed their husbands’ lack ofparticipation in child care and other domestic tasks and the expectation that wives should be the onesto cut back on employment as reasons for quitting. No wonder when asked at a conference what mencould do to help advance women’s leadership, Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth MossKanter answered, “The laundry.”

Tasks like laundry, food shopping, cleaning, and cooking aremundane and mandatory. Typically, these tasks fall to women.

In January 2012, I received a letter from Ruth Chang, a doctor with two young children who hadseen my TEDTalk. She had been offered a new job overseeing seventy-five doctors in five medicalclinics. Her first instinct was to say no out of concern that she could not handle the expandedresponsibility in addition to taking care of her family. But then she wavered, and in that moment, Dr.

Chang wrote me, “I heard your voice saying, ‘Sit at the table’ and I knew I had to accept thepromotion. So that evening, I told my husband I was taking the job … and then handed him thegrocery list.” Sharing the burden of the mundane can make all the difference.

My career and marriage are inextricably intertwined. During that first year Dave and I were parents,it became clear that balancing two careers and two cities was not adding up to one happy family. Weneeded to make some changes. But what? I loved my job at Google and he felt enormously loyal to histeam in L.A. We struggled through the commuting for another long year of marital less-than-bliss. Bythen, Dave was ready to leave Yahoo. He limited his job search to the San Francisco area, which was asacrifice on his part, since more of his professional interests and contacts were in L.A. He eventuallybecame CEO of SurveyMonkey and was able to move the company headquarters from Portland to theBay Area.

Once we were in the same city, it still took us some time to figure out how to coordinate our workschedules. Even though Dave and I are extraordinarily fortunate and can afford exceptional child care,there are still difficult and painful decisions about how much time our jobs require us to be away fromour family and who will pick up the slack. We sit down at the beginning of every week and figure outwhich one of us will drive our children to school each day. We both try to be home for dinner as manynights as we can. (At dinner, we go around the table and share the best and worst event from our day; Irefrain from saying so, but my best is usually being home for dinner in the first place.) If one of us isscheduled to be away, the other almost always arranges to be home. On weekends, I try to focuscompletely on my kids (although I have been known to sneak off a few e-mails from the bathroom ofthe local soccer field).

Like all marriages, ours is a work in progress. Dave and I have had our share of bumps on our pathto achieving a roughly fifty-fifty split. After a lot of effort and seemingly endless discussion, we arepartners not just in what we do, but in who is in charge. Each of us makes sure that things that need toget done do indeed get done. Our division of household chores is actually pretty traditional. Dave paysbills, handles our finances, provides tech support. I schedule the kids’ activities, make sure there isfood in the fridge, plan the birthday parties. Sometimes I’m bothered by this classic gender division oflabor. Am I perpetuating stereotypes by falling into these patterns? But I would rather plan a Dora theExplorer party than pay an insurance bill, and since Dave feels the exact opposite, this arrangementworks for us. It takes continual communication, honesty, and a lot of forgiveness to maintain a ricketybalance. We are never at fifty-fifty at any given moment—perfect equality is hard to define orsustain—but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us.

In the coming years, our balancing act may get harder. Our children are still young and go to sleepearly, which gives me plenty of time to work at night and even to watch what Dave considers to betruly bad TV. As the kids get older, we will have to adjust. Many of my friends have told me thatteenage children require more time from their parents. Every stage of life has its challenges.

Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me. He’s the best partner I could imagine—even thoughhe’s wrong about my TV shows being bad.

Having a true partner like Dave is still far too rare. While we expect women to be nurturing, wedon’t have the same expectations of men. My brother, David, once told me about a colleague whobragged about playing soccer the afternoon that his first child was born. To David’s credit, instead ofnodding and smiling, he spoke up and explained that he didn’t think that was either cool orimpressive. This opinion needs to be voiced loudly and repeatedly on soccer fields, in workplaces, andin homes.

My brother had a wonderful role model in my father, who was an engaged and active parent. Likemost men of his generation, my father did very little domestic work, but unlike most men of hisgeneration, he was happy to change diapers and give baths. He was home for dinner every night, sincehis ophthalmology practice required no travel and involved few emergencies. He coached mybrother’s and sister’s sports teams (and would have happily coached mine if I had been the slightestbit coordinated). He helped me with my homework regularly and was my most enthusiastic fan when Iparticipated in oratory contests.

Studies from around the world have concluded that children benefit greatly from paternalinvolvement. Research over the last forty years has consistently found that in comparison to childrenwith less-involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels ofpsychological well-being and better cognitive abilities.

When fathers provide even just routine childcare, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquencyrates.

Their children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent.

These findings holdtrue for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, whether or not the mother is highly involved.

We all need to encourage men to lean in to their families. Unfortunately, traditional gender roles arereinforced not just by individuals, but also by employment policies. Most companies in the UnitedStates offer more time off for maternity than paternity leave, and men take far fewer extended breaksfrom work for family reasons.

Our laws support this double standard. In the United States, only fivestates provide any income replacement for the care of a new baby (which is a large problem in and ofitself). In three of these states, this benefit is only offered to mothers and is characterized as apregnancy disability benefit. Only two states offer a paid family leave benefit that fathers can use.

Ingeneral, fathers do not take much time off for a new child; a survey of fathers in the corporate sectorfound that the vast majority took off one week or less when their partners gave birth, hardly enoughtime to start out as an equal parent.

I’m proud that even before I arrived, Facebook offered equal timefor maternity and paternity leave.

When family friendly benefits like paternity leave or reduced work hours are offered, both male andfemale employees often worry that if they take advantage of these programs, they will be seen asuncommitted to their jobs. And for good reason. Employees who use these benefits often face steeppenalties ranging from substantial pay cuts to lost promotions to marginalization.

Both men andwomen can be penalized at work for prioritizing family, but men may pay an even higher price.

When male employees take a leave of absence or just leave work early to care for a sick child, theycan face negative consequences that range from being teased to receiving lower performance ratings toreducing their chance for a raise or promotion.

Fathers who want to drop out of the workforce entirely and devote themselves to child care can faceextremely negative social pressure. Currently, fathers make up less than 4 percent of parents whowork full-time inside the home, and many report that it can be very isolating.

My friend Peter Noonespent several years as a stay-at-home father and found that while people claimed to respect his choice,he did not feel welcomed into the social circles in his neighborhood. As a man at the playground or inthe not-so-tactfully-named “Mommy and Me” classes, strangers viewed him with a certain amount ofdistrust. The friendly and easy connections that the women made were not extended to him.

Timeand again, he was reminded that he was outside the norm.

Gender-specific expectations remain self-fulfilling. The belief that mothers are more committed tofamily than to work penalizes women because employers assume they won’t live up to expectations ofprofessional dedication. The reverse is true for men, who are expected to put their careers first. Wejudge men primarily by their professional success and send them a clear message that personalachievements are insufficient for them to be valued or feel fulfilled. This mind-set leads to a grownman bragging on the soccer field that he left his postpartum wife and newborn at the hospital to gokick a ball.

Making gender matters even worse, men’s success is viewed not just in absolute terms, but often incomparison to their wives’. The image of a happy couple still includes a husband who is moreprofessionally successful than the wife. If the reverse occurs, it’s perceived as threatening to themarriage. People frequently pull me aside to ask sympathetically, “How is Dave? Is he okay with, youknow, all your [whispering] success?” Dave is far more self-confident than I am, and given his ownprofessional success, these comments are easy for him to brush off. More and more men will have todo the same, since almost 30 percent of U.S. working wives now outearn their husbands.

As thatnumber continues to grow, I hope the whispering stops.

Dave and I can laugh off concerns about his supposedly fragile ego, but for many women, this is nolaughing matter. Women face enough barriers to professional success. If they also have to worry thatthey will upset their husbands by succeeding, how can we hope to live in an equal world?

When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the coolboys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make thebad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someonewho wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated, andambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in thehome. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier. (If you don’t believe me, check outa fabulous little book called Porn for Women. One page shows a man cleaning a kitchen whileinsisting, “I like to get to these things before I have to be asked.” Another man gets out of bed in themiddle of the night, wondering, “Is that the baby? I’ll get her.”)Kristina Salen, the leader of Fidelity’s media and internet investment group, told me that when shewas dating, she wanted to see how much a boyfriend would support her career, so she devised a test.

She would break a date at the last minute claiming there was a professional conflict and see how theguy would react. If he understood and simply rescheduled, she would go out with him again. WhenKristina wanted to take a relationship to the next level, she gave him another test. While working inemerging markets in the late 1990s, she would invite the guy to visit her for the weekend … in S.oPaulo. It was a great way to find out if he was willing to fit his schedule around hers. The trials paidoff. She found her Mr. Right and they have been happily married for fourteen years. Not only is herhusband, Daniel, completely supportive of her career, he’s also the primary caregiver for their twochildren.

Even after finding the right guy—or gal—no one comes fully formed. I learned from my mother tobe careful about role definition in the beginning of a relationship. Even though my mother did most ofthe household work, my father always vacuumed the floor after dinner. She never had to persuade himto do this chore; it was simply his job from day one. At the start of a romance, it’s tempting for awoman to show a more classic “girlfriendy” side by volunteering to cook meals and take care oferrands. And, suddenly, we’re back in 1955. If a relationship begins in an unequal place, it is likely toget more unbalanced when and if children are added to the equation. Instead, use the beginning of arelationship to establish the division of labor, just as Nora Ephron’s dialogue in When Harry Met Sallyreminds us:

HARRY: You take someone to the airport, it’s clearly the beginning of the relationship. That’s why Ihave never taken anyone to the airport at the beginning of a relationship.


HARRY: Because eventually things move on and you don’t take someone to the airport and I neverwanted anyone to say to me, “How come you never take me to the airport anymore?”

If you want a fifty-fifty partnership, establish that pattern at the outset. A few years ago, MarkZuckerberg and his partner, now wife, Priscilla Chan, made a donation to improve the Newark, NewJersey, public school system and needed someone to run their foundation. I recommended JenHolleran, who had deep knowledge and experience in school reform. She also had fourteen-month-oldtwins and had cut her hours by two-thirds since their birth. Her husband, Andy, is a child psychiatristwho was involved with raising the kids when he was home. But once Jen had reduced her workload,she ended up being responsible for all of the household work, including running errands, paying bills,cooking, and scheduling. When the offer came from Mark and Priscilla, Jen wasn’t sure she was readyto upset the current order by committing to a full-time job with frequent travel. I urged her to set upthe relationship dynamic she wanted sooner rather than later. Jen remembers my suggesting, “If youwant an equal partnership, you should start now.”

Jen and Andy discussed the opportunity and decided she should take the job because of the impactshe could have. And who would pick up the slack? Andy would. He rearranged his work so he couldbe home with the boys each morning and night, and even more when Jen travels. He now pays all thebills and squeezes in grocery runs as much as she does. He cooks and cleans more, knows the detailsof the schedule, and is happy to be the number one, in-demand parent for half the week. A year and ahalf into this new arrangement, Andy told me that he loves his time alone with their boys and theincreased role that he has in their lives. Jen loves her job and is glad that she and her husband nowhave a more equal marriage. “My time is now as valuable as his,” she told me. “As a result, we arehappier.”

Research supports Jen’s observation that equality between partners leads to happier relationships.

When husbands do more housework, wives are less depressed, marital conflicts decrease, andsatisfaction rises.

When women work outside the home and share breadwinning duties, couples aremore likely to stay together. In fact, the risk of divorce reduces by about half when a wife earns halfthe income and a husband does half the housework.

For men, participating in child rearing fosters thedevelopment of patience, empathy, and adaptability, characteristics that benefit all of theirrelationships.

For women, earning money increases their decision-making ability in the home,protects them in case of divorce, and can be important security in later years, as women often outlivetheir husbands.

Also—and many might find this the most motivating factor—couples who sharedomestic responsibilities have more sex.

It may be counterintuitive, but the best way for a man tomake a pass at his wife might be to do the dishes.

I also feel strongly that when a mother stays at home, her time during the day should still beconsidered real work—because it is. Raising children is at least as stressful and demanding as a payingjob. It is unfair that mothers are frequently expected to work long into the night while fathers whowork outside the home get the chance to relax from their day jobs. When the father is home, he shouldtake on half the child care and housework. Also, most employed fathers interact with other grown-upsall day, while mothers at home are often starved for adult conversation by evening. I know a womanwho gave up a career as a lawyer to be a stay-at-home mom and always insisted that when herhusband, a TV writer, got home from work, he asked her, “How was your day?” before he launchedinto an account of his own.

True partnership in our homes does more than just benefit couples today; it also sets the stage forthe next generation. The workplace has evolved more than the home in part because we enter it asadults, so each generation experiences a new dynamic. But the homes we create tend to be morerooted in our childhoods. My generation grew up watching our mothers do the child care andhousework while our fathers earned the wages. It’s too easy for us to get stuck in these patterns. It isno surprise that married and cohabitating men whose mothers were employed while they weregrowing up do more housework as adults than other men.

The sooner we break the cycle, the fasterwe will reach greater equality.

One of the reasons Dave is a true partner is because he grew up in a home where his father set anextraordinary example. Sadly, Dave’s father, Mel, passed away before I had a chance to meet him, buthe clearly was a man way ahead of his time. Mel’s mother worked side by side with her husbandrunning the family’s small grocery store, so Mel grew up accepting women as equals, which wasunusual in those days. As a single man, he became interested in the women’s movement and readBetty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. He was the one who introduced his wife (and Dave’smother), Paula, to this feminist wake-up call in the 1960s. He encouraged Paula to set up and leadPACER, a national nonprofit to help children with disabilities. A law professor, Mel often taughtclasses at night. Since he wanted the family to have at least one meal together each day, he decided itwould be breakfast and prepared the meal himself, complete with fresh-squeezed orange juice.

A more equal division of labor between parents will model better behavior for the next generation. Ihave heard so many women say that they wished their partners helped more with child care, but sinceit’s only a few more years until their kids are off to school, it’s not worth the battle to change thedynamic. In my opinion, it is always worth the battle to change an undesirable dynamic. I also worrythat these women will face the same dynamic when it comes time to care for aging parents. Womenprovide more than twice as much care not only for their own parents, but for their in-laws as well.

This is an additional burden that needs to be shared. And children need to see it being shared so thattheir generation will follow that example.

In 2012, Gloria Steinem sat down in her home for an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Gloriareiterated that progress for women in the home has trailed progress in the workplace, explaining,“Now we know that women can do what men can do, but we don’t know that men can do whatwomen can do.”

I believe they can and we should give them more chances to prove it.

This revolution will happen one family at a time. The good news is that men in younger generationsappear more eager to be real partners than men in previous generations. A survey that askedparticipants to rate the importance of various job characteristics found that men in their forties mostfrequently selected “work which challenges me” as very important, while men in their twenties andthirties most frequently selected having a job with a schedule that “allows me to spend time with myfamily.”

If these trends hold as this group ages, it could signal a promising shift.

Wonderful, sensitive men of all ages are out there. And the more women value kindness andsupport in their boyfriends, the more men will demonstrate it. Kristina Salen, my friend who devisedthe tests to screen her dates, told me that her son insists that when he grows up, he wants to take careof his children “like Daddy does.” She and her husband were thrilled to hear this. More boys need thatrole model and that choice. As more women lean in to their careers, more men need to lean in to theirfamilies. We need to encourage men to be more ambitious in their homes.

We need more men to sit at the table … the kitchen table.


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