No One Can “Have It All”

I found a great article in the latest issue of Esquire Magazine called WHY MEN STILL CAN’T HAVE IT ALL written by Richard Dorment.

“Lately, the raging debate about issues of “work-life balance” has focused on whether or not women can “have it all.” Entirely lost in this debate is the growing strain of work-life balance on men, who today are feeling the competing demands of work and home as much or more than women. And the truth is as shocking as it is obvious: No one can have it all. Any questions?’



Some excerpts:

…Consider the facts: Nearly 60 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in this country today go to women. Same number for graduate degrees. There are about as many women in the workforce as men, and according to Hanna Rosin’s 2012 book, The End of Men, of the fifteen professions projected to grow the fastest over the coming years, twelve are currently dominated by women. Per a 2010 study by James Chung of Reach Advisors, unmarried childless women under thirty and with full-time jobs earn 8 percent more than their male peers in 147 out of 150 of the largest U. S. cities. The accomplishments that underlie those numbers are real and world-historic, and through the grueling work of generations of women, men and women are as equal as they have ever been. Adding to that the greater male predisposition to ADHD, alcoholism, and drug abuse, women have nothing but momentum coming out of young adulthood — the big mo! — and then…

…Well, what exactly? Why don’t women hold more than 15 percent of Fortune 500 executive-officer positions in America? Why are they stalled below 20 percent of Congress? Why does the average woman earn only seventy-seven pennies for every dollar made by the average man? Childbirth plays a role, knocking ambitious women off their professional stride for months (if not years) at a time while their male peers go chug-chug-chugging along, but then why do some women still make it to the top while others fall by the wayside? Institutional sexism and pay discrimination are still ugly realities, but with the millions in annual penalties levied on offending businesses (and the attendant PR shitstorms), they have become increasingly, and thankfully, uncommon. College majors count (women still dominate education, men engineering), as do career choices, yet none of these on their own explains why the opportunity gap between the sexes has all but closed yet a stark achievement gap persists.

….Commenting on the Lean In debate in a blog for The New York Times, Gail Collins asked, “How do you give smart, accomplished, ambitious women the same opportunities as men to reach their goals? What about universal preschool and after-school programs? What about changing the corporate mind-set about the time commitment it takes to move up the ladder? What about having more husbands step up and take the major load?”

….Her questions echo a 2010 Newsweek cover story, “Men’s Lib,” which ended with an upper: “If men embraced parental leave, women would be spared the stigma of the ‘mommy track’ — and the professional penalties (like lower pay) that come along with it. If men were involved fathers, more kids might stay in school, steer clear of crime, and avoid poverty as adults. And if the country achieved gender parity in the workplace — an optimal balance of fully employed men and women — the gross domestic product would grow by as much as 9 percent…. Ultimately, [it] boils down to a simple principle: in a changing world, men should do whatever it takes to contribute their fair share at home and at work.”


….Two men wrote that, incidentally, which must make it true, and among those who traffic in gender studies, it is something of a truth universally acknowledged: Men are to blame for pretty much everything. And I freely admit, we do make for a compelling target. Men have oppressed their wives and sisters and daughters for pretty much all of recorded history, and now women are supposed to trust us to share everything 50-50?

….According to a study released in March by the Pew Research Center, household setups like ours are increasingly the norm: 60 percent of two-parent homes with kids under the age of eighteen are made up of dual-earning couples (i.e., two working parents). On any given week in such a home, women put in more time than men doing housework (sixteen hours to nine) and more time with child care (twelve to seven). These statistics provoke outrage among the “fair share” crowd, and there is a sense, even among the most privileged women, that they are getting a raw deal. 

….Men in dual-income couples work outside the home eleven more hours a week than their working wives or partners do (forty-two to thirty-one), and when you look at the total weekly workload, including paid work outside the home and unpaid work inside the home, men and women are putting in roughly the same number of hours: fifty-eight hours for men and fifty-nine for women.

…..Also, according to women in the Pew study, it seems to be working out well. Working mothers in dual-earning couples are more likely to say they’re very or pretty happy with life right now than their male partners are (93 percent to 87 percent); if anything, it’s men who are twice as likely to say they’re unhappy.


….In the end, isn’t this what feminism was supposed to be about? Not equality for equality’s sake — half of all homes run by men, half of all corporations run by women — but to give each of us, men and women, access to the same array of choices and then the ability to choose for ourselves? And who’s to say, whether for reasons biological or sociological, men and women would even want that? When the Pew Research Center asked working mothers and fathers to picture their ideal working situation, 37 percent of women would opt for full time; 50 percent part time; and 11 percent wouldn’t have a job at all. (Compare this with men’s answers: 75 percent say full time, 15 percent say part time, and 10 percent wouldn’t work at all.) Assuming that women had all the flexibility in the world, one of every two working mothers would choose to work part time. Perhaps with guaranteed paid maternity leave, universal daycare, and generous after-school programs, more women would be freed from the constraints of child care and would want to work full time. Or, possibly, they’re just happy working part time, one foot in the workplace and one foot in the home. Hard to say.

Red the full article HERE

Read more: Why Men Still Can’t Have It All – Esquire

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