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Working Dads Are Leaning In -- And Their Companies Should Be, Too

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These questions originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answers by Josh Levs, Former CNN & NPR Journo, dad, author, and speaker pushing gender equality, on Quora.

A: There's been a revolution. I speak to this in the opening paragraph of All In. You can see it here. Dads today are involved from the very beginning like never before. Dads want to share parenting responsibilities. The overwhelming majority of dads value family way over money. (This does not mean we're any less good employees than men of the past. It means we're great multi-taskers!)

But our laws, policies, and stigmas haven't kept up with reality. They're designed as gender police, pushing women to stay home and pushing men to stay at work. One of many examples is the "hours stigma." It's proven: Men get raised up the ranks for sitting at their desks more often -- not for getting more work done! Because top business leaders fall into the extremely tiny minority of men who believe men should value work over family.

To get past this, we need to establish real, functional gender equality in the workplace. I travel to businesses and do events and workshops. The results are incredible. For the first time, men open up about their struggles -- and they surprise their female colleagues. To fix the dichotomy between egalitarian family life and outdated gender norms at work, we need to be able to speak about it. And we need a big reality check about how dads fit in!


A: First, take the steps necessary try to get paid family leave and flexibility. I lay these out in lists at the ends of several chapters in All In.

Then, look out for mental traps we can all fall into: male privilege and female gatekeeping. I have a chapter on these. Because of what we learned when we were very young, we can still have our own prejudices deeply ingrained. For men, it's important not to fall into "male privilege" -- the thinking that something really is "women's work." And women often fall into "female gatekeeping" -- the thinking that they need to do everything for the kid, especially as a baby, because the man is somehow less capable.

Having the chance to be caregivers in the earliest days of a child's life is essential for making this happen. Dads can do everything but breastfeed! When a dad gets time at home and insists on caring for the child equally, he develops as much confidence and know-how. That alters family dynamics that can last throughout the child's entire childhood.


A: In the book I cite some companies leading the way, including Facebook, Google, Bank of America, and more. EY is a leader on this as well, but the list goes on. I went after Amazon publicly for having zero paternity leave, and now they have it and some other creative offerings as well.

And there are small businesses. In the book I mention a Boston non-profit called Keshet, which has only 18 employees. It offers them three months because it helps attract and retain great employees.

As for who has the worst policies, it's a national tie among all the big companies that have zero paid leave for caregiving. Fewer than one in five companies offer any paternity leave. For a big company, that's particularly draconian and bad for business.

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