We’re in the middle of a fierce debate over working parenthood. In HBR’s September issue, Joan C. Williams and Amy J. C. Cuddy shed new light on the issue in their article, “Will Working Mothers Take Your Company to Court?”
“Women’s lack of progress toward the C-suite has been shrugged off as a by-product of personal decisions— a shift in priorities, the fire in the belly extinguished or tamped down,” write Williams and Cuddy. “Women fall behind by choice, so the thinking goes. Recent research, however, shows that even when women maintain their professional ambitions, motherhood often triggers strong and blatant workplace bias.”
Parental bias also affects fathers — though very differently. Fathers are held to *lower* punctuality and performance standards than childless men, and were more likely to be hired and promoted. But being a father did hurt a man’s career if they took time off for caretaking.
“Just as women are being policed out of breadwinning roles,” write Williams and Cuddy, “Men are being driven out of caregiving roles, and men are increasingly suing as well.”
This week’s chat will focus on how parenting — and bias — affect mothers, fathers, and non-parents. And, we'll ask five questions instead of the usual three.
Q1: To what extent should your employer care whether you have kids, or time to take care of them?
Q2: Do you think working parents get short shrift from the private sector? Why?
Q3: What’s the best way to address discrimination against working parents? Lawsuits?
Q4: Have you seen examples of bias against parents in your career?
Q5: Have you seen “best practices” of enlightened companies that others could emulate?