Friday, June 13, 2014

Encouraging our daughters, dads, and businesses.

I like this ad, asking parents to let their daughters get their clothes dirty in their pursuit of knowledge. (Even better, this is more about the kids, than about the product and service this manufacturer provides.  I think I'd love the commercial if I didn't also know that girls tend to think poor grades is a failure in themselves, rather than simply material that takes time to master as boys are socialized to do, and thus that it is better to praise effort than inherent intelligence.  But I digress.).  Girls can be just about anything they can dream, with encouragement and access, in the absence of biases, . Those social penalties of that bias are high stakes, too. Women that ask for higher salaries, as men often do, can be perceived as unlikable which erodes the perception of their competence rather than as go-getters as those male counterparts would.  Women and people of color with impeccably written letters of introduction and interest were systematically less likely to get responses from the prospective major professors than were white men, and less likely to get positive responses from those that did reply. Wither these are the result of biases, or favoritism which restricts access to many support mechanisms as recently posited scarcely matters.

Our sons also need a societal shift so they can be engaged fathers and partners, in the home and at work, rather than broody, unfeeling workaholic providers.  Will last week's Working Father' Summit, which acknowledges the economic reality of dual income families (but not necessarily that very few of those workers can limit their workloads to a mere 40-hours a week), and the upcoming working families summit, pave the way so that all our children can be all that they can in whatever fields they choose to pursue, while also nurturing their own families, and making positive contributions to their communities?  It makes good business sense--a 2014 evaluation  found that the newly implemented policies for paid sick and family leave (for all workers, not just mommies) found improved worker morale, a  reduction in the spread of illness, lower turnover, which likely all attributed to the increase productivity that was also identified.  Imagine what would happen if we also embraced paid vacation and capped the number of hours in a workweek like so many other nations have done?  Heck, businesses might have happier, more productive workers, and with the savings in overtime pay, maybe could afford to bring back a few of the highly skilled folks that have been layed off since 2008 and that pesky downturn in the economy.