Another entry for the “Patriarchy harms men too” files

Reported a few days ago: Flexible work a career killer for men.

Women who are offered flexible working arrangements are more likely to move into senior leadership roles, but men who decide to do the same thing are less likely to excel, an Australian report has found.

The report by Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women found that the stigmas attached to men taking time off work to look after kids has meant there’s been a low uptake of flexible working arrangements in large businesses across Australia.

I’ve worked flexibly, very flexibly, for the last seventeen years or so (that number bears a curious resemblance to my eldest daughter’s age), and it has had quite an effect on my career series of jobs. But I’m just starting to feel that this coming decade will be one of real achievement for me, because I can finally charge ahead a bit, and having taken a fair chunk of time out to be a carer is seen as a reasonable thing to have done. I don’t think I’ll ever get quite as far as I might have done, had I made other choices about having children, and how to rear them.

But it’s interesting, and disheartening, to see that men who opt for flexible work do even worse than women. It must be regarded unmanly, and not showing enough determination, and not being committed to a career – all the sorts of things that might make it difficult for a man to be promoted.

So chalk this one up as another instance of patriarchy harming men too. It’s a rotten world.


One comment on “Another entry for the “Patriarchy harms men too” files

  1. Denny says:

    I’d be interested in seeing a study done in New Zealand.

    Your comment that it’s a rotten world is so sad. There is hope.

    On that note of hope, and research of one, no two, I was severely reprimanded by my daughter of 26, who is rapidly rising to senior positions despite age, gender and children. When she told me she was having her second child (due May) I was curious to know how it would affect a senior secondment she was being considered for. She snapped at me and told me I was unsupportive. She said more too … Oh, how the world is changing: the secondment is in place and will adapt around her timetable (she is taking a year off), The woman organising the secondment has a major programme to implement over the next three years. She is about ten years older than my daughter, is a senior manager in a large company, was a young executive of the year not long ago, has children the same age as my daughter’s and is mentoring her. My daughter’s boss, the man who employed her, went out on a limb to do so because he recognised potential rather than experience, has acknowledged that she will rise far beyond him.
    Things may be changing: She applied for a job for which she had perhaps 50% of the skills required – the employer accepted that and paid for extra training. (Bucking the research).
    Taking a year off to care for daughter number one two years ago didn’t affect her choices or opportunities..
    Taking a year off to care for daughter number two isn’t impeding her promotion.
    Her youth is irrelevant
    Her gender is irrelevant.

    What isnt fair, is that her husband doesnt get paternity leave.

    Second example is my daughter in law, a lawyer. Daughter number two is three weeks old. She is taking a year off work. After daughter number one, she has worked four days a week, five hours a day. She is on track to become a partner in her law firm in a few years.

    Again, what isnt fair is her husband doesnt get paternity leave.

    Which I suppose reinforces the “patriarchy harms men too” file

    Perhaps your daughter of seventeen will be given a hand up by another woman, or man, who will mentor her. Perhaps the people surrounding her will not be thinking gender first. Things are changing

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