Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Daddy Wars Definition

I think the mommy wars meme is finally running its course; the number of brilliant anti-mommy wars posts on the web is now growing far faster than Leslie Morgan Steiner can whip up controversy. The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars -- the only mommy wars book with the RebelDad stamp of approval -- is up to number five on Google. (Special thanks to all the bloggers who are part of the mommy wars solution. Keep up the great work.)

So it must, then, be time for the daddy wars. Since I own daddywars.com (currently undeveloped), I get to define the term. Anyone in the media who uses a different definition will be taunted mercilessly in this space. Here goes:
Daddy Wars: The growing conflict between parents -- primarily fathers -- and their employers over flexible and varied work options that allow for more precise work-life balance. This conflict will be fueled by an increasing awareness that knowledge workers, with access to modern technology, are no longer bound by traditional working standards. More and more workers -- able to work at any time from anywhere -- will seek arrangements that allow them to maximize family time. But it won't solely be the always-on crowd that is fighting. As more and more men seek to make parenthood a central part of their life, fathers of all stripes will ask for innovate workplace solutions.
These "daddy wars," unlike the hyperbolic "mommy wars," will include real conflict. Legal battles are already being fought, and increasing attention will be directed toward workplace discrimination against parents of both sexes and from all economic strata. The legal challenges are already well underway -- Joan Williams and her WorkLifeLaw Center have been at the forefront. (The first battle was the fight of Kevin Knussman, a Maryland state trooper fired for taking Family and Medical Leave Act. According to Knussman: "When I protested, she said quote, 'God made women to have babies,' and until I could breast feed a baby, there was no way I could be a primary care provider.")

For daddy warriors, there is a clear objective: change the workforce into a place that recognizes the worth of many types of workers and accommodates employee needs for flexibility. That, I think, is a war well worth waging.

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