April 2, 2013

"Lean In, Dad/How Shared Diaper Duty Could Stimulate the Economy."

A NYT Magazine item — worth clicking through for the illustration alone, which is a graphically excellent riff on Rosie the Riveter.

What's the economic theory purveyed in the NYT?
New research suggests that, because it’s primarily women who take advantage of leave and part-time entitlements, work-life accommodations often paradoxically limit career trajectories. 
Ha. This is precisely the point made by critics of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Clinton Era legislation that was sold as an advancement for women. Senator Nancy Kassenbaum (R — Kansas) said: "Mandating leave will have a negative impact on [employment] opportunities for women... . Employers... will seek to hire workers with lower benefit costs, increasing the pressure to discriminate against women." (139 Cong. Rec. S985 (1993).)

The NYT wheels out a Harvard economist to make the point Kassenbaum made 20 years ago.
“In a regime where anyone can go part time, where it’s hard to get rid of people if they do, employers might sort on the front end and not hire people they think are likely to want to go part time, which usually means women,” said Lawrence F. Katz, an economist at Harvard. “There may be no way a woman can credibly commit to sticking around and not going part time.” The U.S., where these policies do not exist, has the smallest gap between women’s representation in the labor force and their representation in senior management positions.
Except that we do have the Family and Medical Leave Act, and it's hard to imagine getting rid of it. Once a benefit is in place, there are real-live beneficiaries who are going to yell if you try to take it away. Even if it's hurting women, threatening it will be called a war on women.

So what's the solution?
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. 
Just change how people think! That should be easy... in the fever dreams of a social scientist.
One area where there seems to be a lot of potential is paternity leave, which still has a stigma in both the United States and Europe. To remedy this bad rap, countries like Sweden and Norway have recently introduced a quota of paid parental leave available only to fathers. 
So! The prescription is outright sex discrimination! Affirmative action for men!
This might not sound like such a big deal...
Uh, yeah, actually it does. It's blatant sex discrimination against women, to be sold as helping women.
... but social scientists are coming around to the notion that a man spending a few weeks at home with his newborn can help recast expectations and gender roles, at work and home, for a long time. 
Oh, the good old social scientists... coming around... Not even a consensus. Just long-headed brooders maundering toward an idea that just might work. Absurd! 

72 comments:

EMD said...

Let's make men feel bad for being men, part MCXVIIVIVIVIIIVLVLLLVCCVIIIVLLL.

Men already change tons of diapers everyday.

Yes, the act had negative consequences, like most legislation.

Shouting Thomas said...

Sixty years of asshole women writing shitty articles about nothing!

That's feminism!

Big Mike said...

You be careful, Professor. Sewell Hall is awfully close to the Law School.

AprilApple said...

The social totalitarian engineers on the left never examine the unintended consequences of their social justice programs, they just move on to the next layer of absurdity.

SGT Ted said...

No, its discrimination against men disguised as women's empowerment. This is telling men that their place is in the home taking care of babies so she can (once again) have FULFILLMENT.

Well, fuck THAT! The girls rejected THAT as Pure Sexist Patriarchy. Matriarchy isn't going to cut it, GIRLS.

They are blaming men for not picking up a womans slack. Thast why she cannot achive. Not her actual abilities or worth or work ethic is involved. Its the Mens Fault(once again).

Get with it, GIRLS. The workplace sucks for a lot of men and its completely normal and OK. You don't get a vagina pass to avoid hard decisions about your life.

These aren't grown women. They're GIRLS. Whining like girls do.

bagoh20 said...

"wheels out a Harvard economist..."Just long-headed brooders maundering toward an idea that just might work. Absurd!"

We here the Anti-intellectuals Camping and Shooting Club welcome you. Pull up a rock and sit awhile. Try the venison jerky - it's tough, but good fer yer muscles.

Shouting Thomas said...

I hope that Indian men are watching this bullshit closely.

You remember the NY Times' attempts to whip up a rape hysteria a couple of weeks ago, and to pin it on Indian men "as a class" as the Marxists say?

That's the initial stage of the feminist attempt to destroy a traditional society.

India is an old civilization. Let's hope Indian men are smarter than we American men have been.

bagoh20 said...

OK, but you need to crawl under the house with the rats and fix the plumbing, talk to the spiders while you fix that wiring in the attic, and go get Bin Laden. We got diapers to change.

jrberg3 said...

Sorry, more like pseudo science than social science! Is there any factual evidence to back up their twisted politically correct logic?

Let's face it, pregnancy and childbirth put a woman's body through a tremendous amount of stress. Time is needed to recover and adapt. It's obviously not the same with men, even if they put on some sympathy weight. Life goes on and with that so does the company you work for. It should. It be the company's responsibility to subsidize social sciences latest whim.

Michael in ArchDen said...

As Mark Shea likes to say on his blog, "There are 2 phases to history. First: What could it hurt? Second: How were we supposed to know?"

AJ Lynch said...

Social scientists = oxymoron.

Nonapod said...

Social engineers are fascinating critters. They seem to look at humans as fungible objects with parameters than can be adjusted like those in object oriented programming, and global variables (policy) that can be adjusted as well. But they fail to take into account the effects of such adjustments. They're not results oriented thinkers.

edutcher said...

Bet the Gray Lady doesn't employ any but sitzpinklers.

Kevin said...

Pfffft. The demonizing of men by Liberal feminists continues apace.

Of course it MUST be the fault of men that a law championed by feminists had unintended consequences detrimental to women. The solution is obvious. Men must acquiesce and do something else women demand.

In a related note, a new study purports that 50% of boys have ADHD. The demonizing of boys/boyhood also continues apace.

This should work out at least as well as the Family Leave Act.

marvel said...

Um, and yeah, when men start breastfeeding, this'll work. Why don't we mandate hormonal treatments for new dads, so they can fully participate in the joys of lactation and post-partum depression? Soon we'll all be women.

Lyssa said...

countries like Sweden and Norway have recently introduced a quota of paid parental leave available only to fathers.

As an educated, ambitious woman of the Lean In variety, I am absolutely shocked and, quite honestly, embarassed, at how many of my peers endorse these sorts of provisions. Their thinking seems to be that they can't (or don't want to) make the extra sacrifices, so no one else should be allowed to. (I'm familiar with some who endorse an actual rule that men *could not* work for a certain time period after the child is born.)

I treasure my freedom to achieve and be the breadwinner in my family, even though I understand that this means making the same sorts of sacrifices that my dad did with regards to family life. But I hate how so many other women have treated it.

pduggie said...

Well, its just an unintended consequence.

That people predicted and warned about.

bagoh20 said...

"Is there any factual evidence to back up their twisted politically correct logic? "

Of course there is. Give em a few minutes. You can find proof of anything if you have the IN-TER-NET.

I'm currently being sued because the plaintiff's lawyer blew the statute of limitations to sue the right person, and he's just taking a shot. His case revolves around some stuff he found on the internet about me that was provably incorrect. At deposition, I just laughed at him and informed him of his error. His education about the internet, and that of the courts has already cost me over 10 grand. Lawyers should not be making fun of internet cluelessness.

Ann Althouse said...

NOTE: Thanks for the alert on the thigh gay video. I've taken down that embed, and I'm deleting the comments here that talk about it.

AprilApple said...

Thank you, Ann!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Any remodeling job women come up with can be relied upon to burgeon until it takes in everything in line of sight. Fixing the glass ceiling turns out to be no exception.

FWBuff said...

What is with this jargon-y use of "lean in"? What does it mean, anyway? Participate? Fall over? Or slump passively and submissively at yet another scolding lecture disguised (with cute graphics!) as a hip new suggestion for the guys? Professor, your linguistic analysis is called for.

Larry J said...

countries like Sweden and Norway have recently introduced a quota of paid parental leave available only to fathers.

So, the solution to high unemployment is to implement policies that make hiring men more expensive. That's fix it, just like the Family Leave Act made hiring women of childbearing age more expensive.

DADvocate said...

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much human capital is being wasted,...

How about trying to calculate the wasted human capital by having an educational system hostile to men and a society where men being grossly under-represented in college is just fine?

Seeing Red said...

So the slope-headed Neanderthals were right (again).

The progressive, tolerant, open-minded highly educated with many letters after their names were wrong and now whining that since it didn't go the way they expected, they're gonna force what they think the answer is on companies because it really doesn't cost that much and they're rich.

OTOH, we are now a nation of Julias. The sperm donors are worthy sperm donors, they're just not marriage &/or full-time father material.

Who says these women will want the sperm donor hanging around in her place for 4-6 weeks?

Who says the sperm donors will even show up if given the time off?

What will they do if this doesn't go as planned, ankle bracelet them to track them?

Shouting Thomas said...

Summary: Will Feminist Women Ever Stop Bitching?

edutcher said...

You can have their bitch when you pry it from their cold, dead fingers.

Lyssa said...

Dadvocate: How about trying to calculate the wasted human capital by having an educational system hostile to men and a society where men being grossly under-represented in college is just fine?

The big problem, the source of quite a lot of our economic woes in fact, is that we have that system combined with female hypergamy.

In the past, the men made the money and the women were expected to be "less" in terms of education and earnings ability. That was fine, economically. Now, women are expected to be equal in terms of education and earnings ability (and even superior, based on the current education system), but they still tend to pair with men of high or higher earnings ability. This leads to inequality in the workplace and quite a lot of income inequality - as dual earning families double their ability to outearn others.

We need a cultural shift away from the tendency of women to want to marry high earners if they themselves are high earners. Let's start telling women that they need to stop that, instead of always trying to make men change. It'd be more fair to everyone.

bagoh20 said...

So us people without kids have to carry the load for those of you who made the decision for your own selfish reasons to have children.

I have a bunch of rescue dogs, that I didn't create, that take more time than most kids. I want parental leave!...with pay!...overtime pay!...and I want it now!

traditionalguy said...

Scientific History was a idiotic German thought that has lead us into an arrogant assumption at college Phd levels that all events are measurable and therefore under our control...at the point of our gun, that is.

bagoh20 said...

I think it also would be fair if the President and all other politicians would praise me as much as possible for my sacrifice, offering help, tax breaks and financial assistance at every opportunity.

Shouting Thomas said...

The problem here is that American women, and white women in particular, are raised by doting daddies who tell them that they are little princesses who deserve everything they want.

We've got a horrible spoiled female brat problem.

And, we don't seem to know how to pull the plug on the promises of more and more goodies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Being completely politically incorrect.....

I observe than some men are not really comfortable around small babies. The crying, the shitty diapers and all that is entailed. It doesn't mean that they aren't loving of their child: they would just rather wait until the kid is more than a puking shitting turnip. :-) How'm I doing for incorrect.

When you then give them a quota of time that they can spend and they really don't WANT to and would rather do other support tasks like work and run errands etc. BUT....the guy doesn't WANT to stay home and be isolated with a bitchy tired wife and a screaming baby.....he now has no excuse.

What a bastard! You have the time off...we DEMAND you suffer....I mean spend time changing diapers too.

Seeing Red said...

I have a question, since a lot of jobs may be under 28 hours, the male may be working 2 part-time jobs, does he get time off from both?

YoungHegelian said...

"Lean in, Dad" sounds waaaaay too much like "Bend Over, Boyfriend**" for my comfort.

There's probably a good reason for that, as the end results are probably very similar.

** No, I'm not giving you a link. Google it yourself. I have some little shame left, and, besides, there are ladies present.

hawkeyedjb said...

" recast expectations and gender roles..."

Well, there's a job for Government if I ever saw one! I'll bet it's one of the enumerated powers.

Mike said...

Just tired of that stupid lean in phrase already. Time for progressives to rethink their proclivity toward out-of-balance postures.

Freeman Hunt said...

Too bad we have to deal with all these unorganized ideas and desires in people. It's all to do with the chaotic, wet, and beastly way they're made and gestated and born. If only people could be made in factories with all the right parts, their ideas and desired all perfectly selected and ordered in the proper way. Then we'd have real humanity.

bagoh20 said...

" It doesn't mean that they aren't loving of their child: they would just rather wait until the kid is more than a puking shitting turnip."

Of course, and nobody really enjoys that either, do they? Just like fixing the plumbing, or killing vermin, etc. that men are usually tasked with. We all have jobs we don't like, but only liberal women insist that they should not have to do any of those alone, and believe men have it too easy.

They don't want an even trade, they want a compliant slave.

YoungHegelian said...

@Lyssa,

We need a cultural shift away from the tendency of women to want to marry high earners if they themselves are high earners.

Which is probably going to be as successful as the "Guys, There are More Important Things than a Nice Rack" PSA of some years ago.

Seeing Red said...

--recast expectations and gender roles..."

Well, there's a job for Government if I ever saw one! I'll bet it's one of the enumerated powers.---


Give them time, it's there in The Constitution somewhere. It just needs to be brought to light by the wise ones.

chrisnavin.com said...

The NY Times sure has a lot of good ideas.

Lean in, lean forward, go part time, don't see race or gender, prepare for climate Armageddon, war is bad, 'creativity' is good, women are peaceful and good, men are bad.

Every nail has an equality hammer.

Couldn't have seen this coming a few decades off.

John said...

There are plenty of studies going back to at least the 70's (when I first learned of them) about discontinuity of employment.

Pay is not determined so much by years of experience as by years of continuous experience. Women, and men, pay a huge price in earnings because of this discontinuity.

Women pay more of a price than men because they are much more likely than men to have discontinuous experience.

The traditional "women's jobs" such as teacher, librarian, Nurse, secretary/clerical, unskilled assembler and so on are jobs for which there is less for discontinuity.

A history teacher can leave the work force for a year or two or even 20 and come back to find that not much has changed.

A tax lawyer or a software engineer who leaves the workplace for even 6 months may find themselves so far behind the current art that they can never catch up again.

John Henry

John said...

The traditional "women's jobs" such as teacher, librarian, Nurse, secretary/clerical, unskilled assembler and so on are jobs for which there is less for discontinuity.

Oops. Should have said "for which there is less penalty for discontinuity of experience."

John Henry

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Lyssa - my point is simply this: these feminists care about nothing and no one but themselves. Wasting human capital is just fine as long as it's not their human capital. A completely self-centered philosophy.

jrberg3 said...

"The problem here is that American women, and white women in particular, are raised by doting daddies who tell them that they are little princesses who deserve everything they want."

I have two little girls and I while I dote on them as much, if not more than most fathers, my wife and I hardly tell them they deserve everything they want. Although I do know a few such little girls who do have parents like you state.

Probably not fair to generalize like that about the commenters here at Althouse though.

Ann Althouse said...

I can't believe I wrote: "Thanks for the alert on the thigh gay video."

Just a typo. Calm down. Not everything is about the gay.

wyo sis said...

Feminists seem to have come to the conclusion that the only way they can become like men is to make men like the most wussy of women.
It's sort of working with ST does anyone around here bitch more than he does? He's got the blog record on it. I think he might have hade a role reversal and be completely in the dark about it. Sort of a mean girl isn't he?

Shouting Thomas said...

Just a typo. Calm down. Not everything is about the gay.

Could you develop a classification system so that we know when it's not about the gay?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

"Not everything is about the gay."

Those who have followed this blog over the last week or so would be somewhat doubtful of that statement.

Shouting Thomas said...

It's sort of working with ST does anyone around here bitch more than he does?

I grew up with three sisters, which revealed to me a truth that many men do not know.

Every bitch must be answered conclusively or it is assumed that you have surrendered to it.

ed said...

Amusingly enough Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) has links to articles that purportedly show that men who do more housework (read: to include changing diapers) get less sex.

n.n said...

The first victim of progress was reason.

The only certain way to overcome individual and class disparities is to award everyone a trillion dollars and a beachfront property in Hawaii... and let them fight to the death.

Also, and this is critical, women will no longer care for a developing human life from conception to birth. In fact, women should be restricted from conceiving human life. We need a zero-child policy. The holes will be filled with legal and illegal aliens.

America, like all preceding civilizations, will have its dysfunctional convergence, presided over by its "best and brightest". It's inevitable.

n.n said...

Shouting Thomas:

Implied consent. That argument has been used by, among other people, Obama and Holder. I thought it sounded familiar. It's the same argument used by people who commit emotional extortion, or who distinguish between "rape" and "rape-rape", or who distinguish between murder (or genocide) and elective abortions.

Lem said...

"Lean in" is in.

Lyssa said...

Dadvocate: Lyssa - my point is simply this: these feminists care about nothing and no one but themselves. Wasting human capital is just fine as long as it's not their human capital. A completely self-centered philosophy.

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm saying that it needs to be turned around on them - you want change, you've got to change, too.

Bruce Hayden said...

I observe than some men are not really comfortable around small babies. The crying, the shitty diapers and all that is entailed.

Not always the men though. I was much better with this sort of thing early on when our kid was born. I was the oldest of 5, with the youngest 13 1/2 years younger, and so had changed a lot of diapers by then, both of my younger sibs as well as a baby sitter (back when boys were allowed to do so). My kid's mother though was only a couple years older than her youngest sib, and hadn't changed nearly as many diapers as I had, when our kid was born. I also probably don't have as sensitive of a nose as many women do. The other thing is that the smell didn't seem that bad initially, and only got bad when the kids got to solid food, and by then, you have built up to it, if you have been changing a lot of diapers all the way along. Probably though won't work if you do it intermittently, or jump in at a year of age.

Thing about crying though is that I never could distinguish the crying of my kid from that of another. This is one of those things that mothers seem much better at. But, since I have worse hearing than most women, I seem to be less bothered than many with kids crying. Able to mostly just turn it off (along with women whining)- which is not always good in a relationship.

DADvocate said...

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm saying that it needs to be turned around on them - you want change, you've got to change, too.

I agree. I just wasn't sure if I was clear enough in my first comment.

SeanF said...

Bruce Hayden: I...had changed a lot of diapers by then, both of my younger sibs as well as a baby sitter (back when boys were allowed to do so).

I honestly can't think of a good joke to make about the idea of changing a baby sitter's diaper, but I know there's a funny one there somewhere. :)

DADvocate said...

I honestly can't think of a good joke to make about the idea of changing a baby sitter's diaper, but I know there's a funny one there somewhere. :)

It was either a really young baby sitter or really old baby sitter.

Henry said...

And how does diaper duty stimulate the economy again?

Ms. Rampell's inverted pyramid of conjecture rests on the word "presumably":

Even more efficient allocation of women’s talents would, presumably, drive further growth, which will become even more critical in the years ahead

Uh-huh. And to efficiently allocate
talents in the economy, Ms. Rampell lauds a bureaucratic cornucopia of inefficient allocations:

the European Union has issued a directive that all member countries must allow parents — men and women — to request part-time, flexible or home-based work arrangements in addition to paid leave

And

In Germany and Portugal, moms get bonus weeks of maternity leave if their husbands take a minimum amount of paternity leave. All these countries have seen gigantic increases in the share of fathers who go on leave.

If you're going to make an argument, is internal consistency too much to ask?

In order to save the economy we had to game it.

Nathan Alexander said...

Just change how people think! That should be easy... in the fever dreams of a social scientist.

The irony...it burns!

ricpic said...

What discrimination against women, Senator Kassenbaum? You acknowledge that women, on average, make take more sick days and family emergency days than men and then call it discrimination that employers are less willing to invest time and effort and money into advancing women when it is clearly a common sense decision. Or should businesses sacrifice themselves on the altar of equality?

DADvocate said...

Or should businesses sacrifice themselves on the altar of equality?

Silly question. No, ridiculous question. No, totally absurd question.

Sigivald said...

New research suggests that, because it’s primarily women who take advantage of leave and part-time entitlements, work-life accommodations often paradoxically limit career trajectories.

"Paradoxically"?

People who work less [which is what "leave" and "part-time entitlements" and "accomodations" means!] have more limited careers... and this is a "paradox"?

Oh, The Times.

Never change.

Not that you can.

ken in sc said...

Women's and children's voices are like bird's twittering. It goes over my head and I don't hear it, unless they are calling my name or standing in front of me trying to get my attention.

William said...

I have never known a man who considers baby poo anything but icky. Perhaps not as icky as projectile vomit from a street bum, but definitely icky. The disturbing fact is that many women are so bizarrely baby besotted that they consider baby poo harmless and even "cute".....My guess is that if you could poll babies, you would find that most of them would prefer someone who feels soft and smells nice to attend to them. Shouldn't the preferences of babies be taken into account.

Leit Bart said...

But social engineering, which is to say the left legislating its version of morality, worked beautifully for a man I know. He was in his mid-50s when he lost his job. It took him 3+ years to find another, thanks to increased litigation risks for employers via the Age Discimination Act.

The road to hell is paved intentionally.

"In Fifty Years, We'll All be Chicks" is right on, except it'll be fifteen years, not fifty.

Ambrose said...

The liberal media presents every problem in the world as a case for more effective governmental regulation.

SGT Ted said...

People who work less [which is what "leave" and "part-time entitlements" and "accomodations" means!] have more limited careers... and this is a "paradox"?

Only for Feminists, who think the world should be ordered to their desires and sensibilitiesand that they should get rewards for doing what ordinary people do at a cost.

There shall be no conflicting tradeoffs in the Feminist universe.

They will have all the rewards of a fulltime/overtime career without actually putting in the time. Same with their families. They are to get the cred of being "Homemakers", without actually doing the job.

Because, Men, and, shut up.

samantha stan said...

How can we make cloth diapers at home? I think cloth diapers are best for summer.
honest co