In her recent article on our toxic work world, Anne Marie Slaughter calls for a paradigm shift in how we think about the work done outside and inside the home. She puts forth a proposal: we’ve made significant strides for the equal right to work; now we should be talking about the equal right to care.
Her article harnesses a growing body of thought leadership demonstrating that flexible, results-oriented work increases profits and improves productivity; and partners it with the well-documented phenomenon of workplace differences for working moms and working dads (see Michelle Budig’s 2014 study showing that having a child helped mens’ careers, but hurt careers of women). At the same time I was reading Slaughter’s NYT piece, a colleague (a white male engineer) pointed me to a study that backs Slaughter’s conclusion with powerful data on the transformation that happens for women when workplaces go flexible: research by Harvard economist Claudia Goldin indicates that flexible work environments result in equal pay for men and women.
Slaughter’s central concern is that today’s workplaces aren’t built to support co-earning parents–our workplaces operate as if half of its employees don’t have a family to care for when they get home.