Sunday, June 07, 2015
CNN reporter argues for equal leave for new dads; is childlessness reaching a "tipping point" toward "demographic winter"?
Here’s some more family values for a Sunday night. Michelle Singletary has a review of a book by CNN reporter Josh Levs new book “All In: How our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families and Businesses – and How We Can Fix It Together” (Harper One, a rather long title). Her column is here.
Levs reports that when his wife had a child, born prematurely, CNN offered paid maternity leave, and paid leave for adoption, and accommodated gay couples adopting or having children by surrogacy, but wouldn’t offer it to “normal” dads.
Not much argument in today’s modern times of near gender equality, if a company offers paid parental leave, it ought to offer it to either parent, CNN has since extended the leave to dads.
Again, I’ve taken a position against mandatory leave required of employers, common in most of the West, because that implies that the childless will do the work for the “parents’” compensation. This shouldn’t happen without an unveiling of what is going on.
Let’s go on to the “population demographics” debate. Last night, while having dinner before an HRC party on U Street, I found this article by Janet Shaw Crouse of the Washington Times, April 30, 2015, “Have we reached a tipping point with childlessness?” link here.
I think her analysis is essentially on target. If we live longer and have fewer children, we need to work longer, and at innovative and productive pursuits other than hucksterism. Right now, we’re not quite able to pull that off.
There are a wide variety of moral assessments of childlessness in reputable papers all over the web. Generally, it’s a function of women’s waiting longer until their careers are set, but there is also concern that older men have a biological clock, too. Where childlessness is “selfish” or having children is itself “selfish” depends very much on the speaker. Jody Day has a sobering article in the Guardian, December 2013. I’ve reported before the Pew study that shows well educated and high income women and families have started having more children again. Elizabeth Gregory of the Atlantic also wrote about this in 2013, "A Childless Generation?", here.