I send a Letter to the Economist pointing out what I think as an absurdity of them discussing womens difficulty in combining family and careers without mentioning the the role of the “other” parent at all. Perhaps unsurprisingly the letter was heavily edited so I post the full comment here.

“Sir, In your January 2nd issue you remarkably managed to discuss the challenges women face in combining family and career without ever mentioning the role of fathers. To make your purge of fathers complete, you even chose to call the parental leave as a maternity leave. How strange! Rather than coming up with new ways by which we can continue to make the unreasonable demand of combined career and lone responsibility for the family on women, maybe we should try to ensure that the declining role of men in the labor market is matched by their increasing responsibilities at home. More equal sharing of parenthood would not only give both parents a better chance in forming a close relationship with their children and make it easier for women to build their careers, but would also share the costs of parenthood more equally between parents employers.

In fact, under such circumstances an employer might consider twice before hiring a male high-flier. After all, while his female colleaque has most likely finished making babies after few years, he just might keep having them throughout his career! The fact that employers do not share the costs of parenthood, acts as an affirmative action policy for men. Surely, we can survive without such a handout.

Jani-Petri Martikainen
Stockholm, Sweden”