Workplaces need to accommodate fathers, too
JULY 25 ― It’s a pity workplaces aren’t more parent-friendly. I remember going to job interviews and being grilled about my marriage plans, with the unspoken assumption that I would become less of an asset once I was a wife and mother.
Yet being married isn’t considered a liability for men. Employers perceive married men to be more “stable” and far more likely to be committed as, after all, they have families to support.
But at the same time, there aren’t many workplaces that are supportive of men who need to take time off to look after the kids or settle affairs like school registrations, sick days or babysitters being unavailable.
Why should employers penalise their workers for wanting to be good parents? It’s not like we can easily churn out babies via factories by growing babies in labs.
Populations need to be replenished, after all. Parenting in itself is a full-time job. It takes a toll on women physically, mentally and emotionally but fathers, too, have a role to play.
The “absent father” factor sounds cliché, but it’s far more common than you think. Children do better having both parents in their lives and depriving them of the presence of their fathers thanks to workplace commitments is sad. I know far too many people with “daddy issues.”
One step would be by making working hours less rigid. If an employee needs to step out to pick up his kids from school/take them to the doctor, let him.
He can always come back to the office or make up the work from home. Telecommuting arrangements also make sense; most people wouldn’t mind working a little longer on other days if they have the option of being able to stay home some days.
Modern fathers are far more likely to be keen on sharing the parenting load with their wives and employers should try to accommodate that.
People aren’t robots, to be chained to desks and made to churn out a certain amount of output per day.
For sure, mothers would be glad for fathers to play an active role in bringing up their kids. At the very least, diaper duty won’t be a solo affair.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.
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