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30 review for Men at Work: Australia’s Parenthood Trap

  1. 5 out of 5

    hayls 🐴

    This is an elaborate dance around a problem Annabel refuses to name. Crabb’s takes on the topic of women at work always seem to miss the mark. Not because she is going over old ground (on the contrary, for anyone wondering why we are ‘still talking about this, it is 2019!!!’, it is because even though we seemingly keep talking about it, it remains unaddressed.), but because she would refer to play advocate for disenfranchised man, rather than mention the word patriarchy. In talking about paid par This is an elaborate dance around a problem Annabel refuses to name. Crabb’s takes on the topic of women at work always seem to miss the mark. Not because she is going over old ground (on the contrary, for anyone wondering why we are ‘still talking about this, it is 2019!!!’, it is because even though we seemingly keep talking about it, it remains unaddressed.), but because she would refer to play advocate for disenfranchised man, rather than mention the word patriarchy. In talking about paid parental leave, she has said her motivation to write this essay was to address the fact that while there have been advances in female empowerment in the workplace, the situation for men has not changed. Women are the usual recipients of parental leave, and if a man manages to wrangle the system and gain paid parental leave, he is seen as at least an oddball for even wanting it, or at most a Jesus-like figure fighting male stereotypes (yay men). Basically in this fight to include women in male-dominated structures, men have not been expected to change as a result. Her refusal to admit that patriarchal structures are the real cause means that her essays are focused on pondering ‘whyyyy for the love of God wHYyyy is this happening????!?!!’, rather than admitting that gender equality involves more than simply giving women a space to enter the workplace, but requires men and society as a whole to also change, and address the overarching oppressive structure that is the patriarchy. If we go on unwilling to even mention the word, we will not get very far. Annabel’s descriptions of the Dirty Word are unsurpassed, but I found myself getting frustrated that these stellar descriptions never reached the point of naming the problem: “There isn't an awful lot of research in Australia as to why this is so or where the wellspring is for these forces so extraordinarily powerful that they can shape the behavior of millions of people without ever being codified, and indeed do so even where formal rules explicitly direct the opposite.” “Somehow, we've constructed a system of expectations in which a man who is doing his job is bound to it by something much deeper, and more fibrous than his contract of employment or even his need to provide … it involves finding and loosening restrains far more ancient than those outlined in any human resources manual.” “Knots which have swelled with age and seawater, ropes that have bitten into the skin. But they need to come off. Why should they bind only men?” The fact is patriarchal structures bind everyone, men are not being suddenly singled out and **excluded** from childcare, the problem is that childcare has been and is still seen as a woman’s job. This is not about men being excluded, is it still about restrictions on women. Sorry men, still not about you. I suspect the reluctance to name and shame the problem was because if she referred in any way to male hegemony she would be accused of misandry. The only other option is to advocate for the male perspective, lest men feel personally attacked by a woman articulating a systemic structure of society designed for and by men. Alas, still the only two options for a female journalist in 2019. Needless to say, this is just another example of how the patriarchy is still asserting its dominance. It is very tiring that writers of this standard are still trying to appease fragile masculinity. It is an important topic, but please do better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    A few reviews question why the continued focus on men in these discussions, which is perhaps a good question. But for me this essay was a good example of the mutual empowerment concomitant in the feminist movement. Dismantling of patriarchal structures frees men from the yoke of toxic masculinity by proxy as it empowers women. Also I just love Annabel Crabb.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Corri

    Rated 3 stars but only because I was grumpy and frustrated...why are we still having this conversation? And why do I torture myself with reading this fodder when it’s preaching to the converted and most of those that need to read it aren’t. I also wonder at the approach - Crabb continually remains very diplomatic and concerned with the what men are missing out on. I get this is probably part strategy, part covering all aspects of the issue (I don’t deny that there are many advantages men stand t Rated 3 stars but only because I was grumpy and frustrated...why are we still having this conversation? And why do I torture myself with reading this fodder when it’s preaching to the converted and most of those that need to read it aren’t. I also wonder at the approach - Crabb continually remains very diplomatic and concerned with the what men are missing out on. I get this is probably part strategy, part covering all aspects of the issue (I don’t deny that there are many advantages men stand to gain, I just think the disadvantages women still face are far more) but I think this issue deserves to stand alone as something that will improve the choices for women. Where are all the prominent male journalists writing to support women, or even, to raise the valid issues that men face, too? I can’t see any evidence that the diplomatic, male-centric strategy is any more effective in pushing for change.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    A refreshing, yet despairingly limited, analysis of parental obligations in the Australian workplace. "As long as you're pushing men to stay at work, you're pushing women to stay at home." In re-framing discussions around the emotional and economic needs of men, Crabb validates the concerns of every Mens Rights Activist in the country. While this is an interesting take on how feminism can benefit mens' lives, it is unfortunately examined in a way that makes men seem like the oppressed party. Men A refreshing, yet despairingly limited, analysis of parental obligations in the Australian workplace. "As long as you're pushing men to stay at work, you're pushing women to stay at home." In re-framing discussions around the emotional and economic needs of men, Crabb validates the concerns of every Mens Rights Activist in the country. While this is an interesting take on how feminism can benefit mens' lives, it is unfortunately examined in a way that makes men seem like the oppressed party. Men need parental leave so they can assist in raising their own children. Are we really still having this discussion? Allow me to play the world's smallest violin. The real limitation of this piece is its lack of intersectionality. It pushes the hetero-normative agenda so hard that Tony Abbott is taking notes. Briefly touching on lesbian and gay couples, Crabb mostly leaves the reader to infer how parental leave is divided or absent from these families. Most of the messages in this essay are solid. Men should be allowed to spend time with their children without economic consequences. Men should be expected to raise their own children, and cook and clean without being asked. Much like Atlas Shrugged this piece seems to be written for absolutely no one, to the displeasure of - to quote Vanessa Amorosi- absolutely everybody.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Interesting Auspol & corporate Australia context, I learned a lot. A really useful read for anybody working in public service or the corporate sector, especially men. Pretty disappointing to dance around the concept of patriarchy, given many paragraphs are literally definitions of the term, though I understand why she didn't call it what it is. Interesting Auspol & corporate Australia context, I learned a lot. A really useful read for anybody working in public service or the corporate sector, especially men. Pretty disappointing to dance around the concept of patriarchy, given many paragraphs are literally definitions of the term, though I understand why she didn't call it what it is.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kylie Purdie

    I am unashamedly a massive Annabel Crabb fan. I think she is an incredible journalist who has an amazing ability with words that I can only dream of. The Quarterly Essay series is a cross between a book and a magazine. Each issue is a single, stand alone essay of around 20,000 words. In this Quarterly Essay, Crabb examines why men in Australia seem to find it so hard to take parenting leave and how this is not only detrimental to women, but to men as well. The issues she addresses in this book wer I am unashamedly a massive Annabel Crabb fan. I think she is an incredible journalist who has an amazing ability with words that I can only dream of. The Quarterly Essay series is a cross between a book and a magazine. Each issue is a single, stand alone essay of around 20,000 words. In this Quarterly Essay, Crabb examines why men in Australia seem to find it so hard to take parenting leave and how this is not only detrimental to women, but to men as well. The issues she addresses in this book were first raised by her in her book "The Wife Drought." In that book, Crabb looked briefly at why men don't seem to view parenting as an equally shared task and why the lions share of it still falls to women. In Men at Work she explores the issue of men and their ability to take extended leave, work flexibly or work part time once their children are born. She examines society's views of what is acceptable and looks at company's that are daring to be different. All of this sounds like it could be incredibly dry and boring to read, but not so. Annabel Crabb brings her signature humour and light touch to the subject. She apologises for raising Sweden (I think it was Sweden), who are way ahead of so many nations on how to provide a good work/ life balance for all members of the house. It would be very easy for a topic such as this to come across as preachy, however Crabb doesn't look to lay blame. What she looks for is a way to improve the situation for all - to allow women to continue to develop a career and not be the gatekeeper of all child related information, for men to be able to form deep and meaningful relationships with their children, for parents to be able to share the load of child rearing and all that entails fairly and for children to see both parents are carers and providers. Crabb's essay raises some excellent questions about how we can make the system better. She looks at companies that have made changes and are seeing real results and she challenges us all to examine how we view parenting and think about how we can do better.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A.M.

    If there’s one thing I got from this essay it’s that we all should miss Gough Whitlam more; Medicare, human rights, abolished the death penalty, free tertiary education, land rights for aborigines and Torres strait islanders, maternity leave, no fault divorce, and many more including bought the artwork Blue Poles!. Dear god, what else might his government have achieved given the time to do so? Sighs… This essay is all about parental leave and how men just don’t do their bit to help the family bec If there’s one thing I got from this essay it’s that we all should miss Gough Whitlam more; Medicare, human rights, abolished the death penalty, free tertiary education, land rights for aborigines and Torres strait islanders, maternity leave, no fault divorce, and many more including bought the artwork Blue Poles!. Dear god, what else might his government have achieved given the time to do so? Sighs… This essay is all about parental leave and how men just don’t do their bit to help the family because it costs them promotions at work and devalues their earning capacity. Ah ha ha ha … Welcome to the parent-dome! Sadly women not only have to bear the children, and raise them, but they also have to do more of the housework AND work. I’ve known lawyers who went into labour at their desk and were back at it two weeks later. It all seems unfair somehow. Especially when you add in the double whammy that women earn less but live longer, and thus have less in their superannuation accounts to retire on. There is a reason the largest growth area in homeless people is in older women of retirement age. Personally, my husband said he worked so hard during the week that he should be able to do whatever he wanted on the weekend which somehow managed to never include children … and yes, there is a reason why I am divorced, thank you for asking. Annabel explains it all in the most reasonable of terms – it’s society, we have to change the system so that men can feel better about actually giving a shit about raising their OWN children … but god. I am just so tired. 4 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Lord knows I like Annabel but I wish she would just mention sexism or patriarchy once. Would explain nearly every ‘why’ she questions tbh. Men saying one thing and acting another way?? Hmmm how can that be????

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate Walton

    Excellent use of data but I kept wondering why Crabb seemed to skirt around the word 'patriarchy' whenever she asked 'But WHY is it like this?' Excellent use of data but I kept wondering why Crabb seemed to skirt around the word 'patriarchy' whenever she asked 'But WHY is it like this?'

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Morel

    I usually keep my reviews to one or two sentences, summing up my views in short, succinct words encapsulating my overall reading experience. I won't be doing that today. My journey into motherhood was fraught with anguish. A difficult labour, led to an emergency c-section, the first time I held my son, I kept thinking about how I'd never been to hospital before this, never had an operation, and here I was, in pain, bleeding, emotionally traumatised and it was all because of him. My husband, woef I usually keep my reviews to one or two sentences, summing up my views in short, succinct words encapsulating my overall reading experience. I won't be doing that today. My journey into motherhood was fraught with anguish. A difficult labour, led to an emergency c-section, the first time I held my son, I kept thinking about how I'd never been to hospital before this, never had an operation, and here I was, in pain, bleeding, emotionally traumatised and it was all because of him. My husband, woefully inept in dealing with his wife who had been through the life altering trauma of being cut open to give birth, went back to work within days of his son being born. And all I could think was how much my life had changed, and his had not. Not one iota. Annabel's essay is amazing because there's no assignation of blame. She lays out the facts, the assumptive way our cultural identity has formed our collective conscientiousness when it comes to the role caregivers play in the workplace. The glaring disparity that is offered to men when it comes to part-time or flexible roles in the work force. At one point between baby 1 and baby 2, I was yearning frustratedly to my husband about my need to forge some sort of fulfilling career outside the domestic abode, he dejectedly pointed out that part-time work just wasn't an option for him. Mechanics don't do part-time. There was no flexibility and there was no point in asking. We could not afford the childcare fees if I worked full time also and besides, we wanted to have another baby. I felt trapped and stuck, destined to be undervalued and underutilised in my part-time role at least until our kids were school age. It was an even more enlightening read as the changes in our society versa vie flexible work is even more timely due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and it's effects on traditional work places. Whilst the initial move to the home office was daunting, now I can only revel in it's benefits, and I live in a regional town whereby my commute to work is 20 mins at most. The exhausting part of my day as a working parent is negotiating 2 children and a grown male out of the door, with all their things, and looking presentable, by a certain time. Add the dropping off, picking up, parking, preparing food, ducking to the shops... my kids don't even do any extra curricular activities because I honestly don't know where I'd find the time. And see how I said I there, because my husband has left all child related administration to me. The thing is, I don't keep quiet about it. I challenge. Constantly. I call it as I see it. My husband has a daughter but he is also the son of a single mother. He was raised by a strong woman, he married one and he will help raise one, and hopefully the constant challenge to entrenched cultural beliefs regarding traditional caregiving will be erased. A banging read for a Friday night and one that I will think on for many months to come!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    An interesting discussion about the ongoing problems of the patriarchy. It came out before the pandemic, and that may have jolted the way people used to work, so that the future may well involve much more working from home, working flexible hours, and so on. Not before time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lines

    Enjoyable and offered an interesting and relevant perspective to an important debate.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Making a case for gender equality policies in Aus looking at how it will benefit men.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becki Philip

    A must.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Johnson

    Crabb proposes that if fathers are able to take paid parental leave in the first few weeks or months of their child's life, this can massively increase their involvement in the child's care throughout their life. She suggests changing public and corporate workplace policies to make parental leave more accessible to fathers would increase balance in household tasks and caregiving between couples. Seems like a good idea to me! Crabb proposes that if fathers are able to take paid parental leave in the first few weeks or months of their child's life, this can massively increase their involvement in the child's care throughout their life. She suggests changing public and corporate workplace policies to make parental leave more accessible to fathers would increase balance in household tasks and caregiving between couples. Seems like a good idea to me!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Xanthe

    This is a really interesting essay that I really enjoyed about the divide in men and women’s attitude to work and how the two genders have been socialised to view their parental role. Raises important points about how men have been negatively affected over the years and it hasn’t always been their choice to work long hours and how capitalism intersects with masculinity that often comes to a detriment to men.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I was bitterly disappointed to find this was not, in fact, about an Australian 80s pop band. Instead I was treated to an insightful, funny and engaging read on struggles facing Australia in the area of paid parental leave. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    It’s not complex for me in a lot of areas but I did enjoy adding it to my little brain library of texts on this topic. Didn’t hate it, just wish she knew more interesting and varied people to talk case studies with which is an eternal problem for like... every white journalist man or woman over about age... 30? Some age? So I don’t have the heart to blame her specifically for it because I am used to being disappointed 😎✌️

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate Littlejohn

    This topic is a fascinating discussion, and Annabel Crabb presents it in an astute, very readable and objective manner. The stats are both frightening and hopeful. There are no black and white answers, no one-size-fits-all solutions. The discussion about Fathers taking a step back from their career to step up within the family home is going to continue for many years to come. There have been some Big changes that have occurred over the last 40-50yrs (Thank you feminists) but societal change in t This topic is a fascinating discussion, and Annabel Crabb presents it in an astute, very readable and objective manner. The stats are both frightening and hopeful. There are no black and white answers, no one-size-fits-all solutions. The discussion about Fathers taking a step back from their career to step up within the family home is going to continue for many years to come. There have been some Big changes that have occurred over the last 40-50yrs (Thank you feminists) but societal change in thought and practice is slow, and men and women both need to be open to thinking differently. Who knows what the world will look like when my children are grown?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ron Brown

    A discursive text on the development of what was maternity leave that has now grown into parental leave. My children were born in the early eighties when this type of leave only existed for female employees of certain government departments. Although Australia has come along way over the last few decades it is still behind the OECD pack as far as parent leave benefits go. Typically the USA has not even started. This area of social justice is probably the only one where men are disadvantaged. May A discursive text on the development of what was maternity leave that has now grown into parental leave. My children were born in the early eighties when this type of leave only existed for female employees of certain government departments. Although Australia has come along way over the last few decades it is still behind the OECD pack as far as parent leave benefits go. Typically the USA has not even started. This area of social justice is probably the only one where men are disadvantaged. May be we have reached the heights that we have reached because it is not just a “women’s” issue. Crabb writes fluently and it is an easy to read essay. A reasonable amount of data and anecdotal evidence to give weight to her arguments. It is definitely not a feminist leaning polemic on the matter. I would be interested in research that shows the effect of greater father participation on child rearing on the child him/herself. Are they better social adjusted, do they perform better academically. Are there measurable differences with little if any father input into the child’s early years compared to the child with the child whose father was the main parent in caring in the early years?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sadi

    Long form Australian journalism about how men and women are both screwed over by it not being socially accepted for men to take parental leave. This should be required reading for everyone, especially those in politics and management.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    As the father of young children, I find the scenarios Annabel Crabb presents all too familiar. In public settings, some people seem to regard fathers attending to their children as remarkable rather than routine. When my children were infants, it was disconcerting to be patronised with congratulations (“Aren’t you good?”) for the mere act of looking after them. In the workplace and online, discussions focus on the challenges for women of balancing work and family. They rarely seem to involve men As the father of young children, I find the scenarios Annabel Crabb presents all too familiar. In public settings, some people seem to regard fathers attending to their children as remarkable rather than routine. When my children were infants, it was disconcerting to be patronised with congratulations (“Aren’t you good?”) for the mere act of looking after them. In the workplace and online, discussions focus on the challenges for women of balancing work and family. They rarely seem to involve men; the implicit – and infuriating – assumption being that men don’t face the same challenge. Given many men are engaged in a day-to-day struggle to stay upright as they attempt to balance work with parenting and being a responsible partner, I suspect men need to do a better job of creating spaces to talk about this. It’s easy to understand why Crabb is taken with the idea of a “daddy quota” as part of an enhanced parental leave system. Recently, I interviewed a number of people in Iceland about their experiences of gender equality and was amazed to learn that Icelandic men take an average of eighty-seven days of paternity leave after the birth of each child. Picture almost every fisherman, lawyer or construction worker spending months away from work caring for their child, and you get a sense of how transformative this is. While their partner returns to work, these men are pushing prams, at the playground or at home, cleaning and changing nappies. Imagine what that means for how their families function. The discussion in Iceland is now focused on a further extension of paid parental leave to twelve months. The government has agreed that this will be implemented between 2020 and 2021, although the detail is still being resolved. One option being considered is that each parent may be given five months of leave, with the remaining two months to share. There’s a big evidence base demonstrating that parenting behaviour established at childbirth tends to persist as children age. Parental leave arrangements are undoubtedly critical in laying the foundations for parenting equality. But parental leave in the first year of a child’s life is not enough. Parenting is a long game, and we need to consider how we support parents throughout the entire life course. Crabb does us all a great service by shining a light on the gendered assumptions that underpin the notion of the “primary parent,” which is built into much of our policy. Yet the primary parent would not be possible without its inverse: the primary worker. Many policy settings still harbour an implicit assumption that one parent – usually a man – is working full-time to provide for their family. There’s a long history of this in Australia, dating back to the Harvester judgment of 1907, in which the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration proclaimed that a minimum wage should be paid to a male worker that is sufficient to provide for a wife and three children. While we’ve since moved in the direction of gender-neutral pay structures, the assumption of the primary worker lives on in the practical way that work is structured. A standard working week might be thirty-eight hours, but in practice full-time work in Australia mostly involves working for more than forty hours per week. According to the OECD, about 60 per cent of Australian men work longer than forty hours each week. By contrast, about half of Australian women work part-time (thirty-four hours or less) and fewer than 30 per cent work more than forty hours. This is one reason women are paid almost $500 – or about 31 per cent – less each week than men, as recent ABS data reports. Crabb envisions a world in which domestic work is shared equally between both parents. She rightfully points out that this is what a new generation of parents are often striving to achieve. Yet if we are to move away from the assumption of the “primary parent,” I posit that we also need to dismantle the assumption of the primary worker. If the fatigued and stressed parents at my daughters’ primary school are any indication, full-time work as a parent seems possible only if there’s another person to pick up the load at home at least some of the time. Equality is unlikely to be achieved with both parents working forty hours or more each week. This has the potential to drive families to breaking point. Rather, to achieve greater domestic equality, increase female workforce participation and move closer to equal pay, fathers will need to spend less time at work and more time at home. According to the OECD, in countries where unpaid labour is more equally shared, there tend to be smaller gender-specific differences in hours spent in the workplace. Spending less time at work may mean men working part-time or more flexibly, as Crabb suggests, but it should also include a consideration of how we can reduce the hours associated with full-time work in Australia. Annual working hours in Australia are by no means the longest in the developed world (that honour goes to Mexico), but the average Australian worker spends 249 hours more at work each year than workers in Norway – the poster child in Crabb’s essay. This is the equivalent of an additional six weeks each year. In Norway, hardly anyone works for more than forty hours per week, strict working hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. are common, and overtime is limited by law. Five weeks of annual leave is standard. Under these conditions, and with childcare heavily subsidised, it’s possible to see how a shared work and home life might be achievable. Aside from greater potential to balance the demands of work and home, reduced working hours have other benefits too. Countries with fewer annual hours worked tend to have higher labour productivity. It seems that stress, fatigue and sleep deprivation may make overworked employees substantially less productive. Who would have thought? It is somewhat surprising that Crabb doesn’t really consider the gender pay gap in her analysis. The answer to the question of who works and who stays at home involves a complex calculus, worked through within each family. No doubt cultural and identity factors are relevant, but families also consider the financial implications of various decisions, including the cost of childcare and the wages earned by each parent. Even when working full-time, Australian women earn 11.7 per cent less than men, on average. With most Australian fathers earning more than mothers, and at a life stage when every dollar is tight, it’s no real surprise that a majority of Australian families choose to send the father off to work. For this equation to change, real progress in tackling the gender pay gap is required. Australia’s performance in this area has been fairly dismal. In twenty years, the gap in full-time earnings has decreased only marginally, from 13.2 per cent in 1998 to 11.7 per cent in 2018. Over the same time period, other countries have done much better. Belgium has reduced the gap in full-time earnings from 15.2 per cent to 3.7 per cent, and this hasn’t happened accidentally. With strong trade union membership, 96 per cent of workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements, making it nearly impossible to pay women less to do the same job. The Belgian government has mandated that the gender pay gap be taken into account when wage agreements are negotiated. And all companies with more than fifty employees have to report publicly on their gender pay gap. Crabb was right to focus on the need for fathers to play a greater role in parenting. As she suggests, we need to do more to ensure that parents are able to share the load at work and at home. Other countries show us that it can be done. With sufficient determination and a concerted effort, it’s possible in Australia too. [Review published in Quarterly Essay #76]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Mitchell Hutchinson

    WOW. I highly recommend this to EVERYONE who is even slightly considering having kids. Annabel is an amazing, engaging and thorough writer who passionately advocates for men’s ability to take parental leave when they become fathers. It’s currently a taboo situation in Australia (to take more than 2 weeks off, or to work flexibly to allow for ongoing child-rearing tasks). There’s an overview of the history of paid leave in Australia, a brief review of community and company attitudes, and case stu WOW. I highly recommend this to EVERYONE who is even slightly considering having kids. Annabel is an amazing, engaging and thorough writer who passionately advocates for men’s ability to take parental leave when they become fathers. It’s currently a taboo situation in Australia (to take more than 2 weeks off, or to work flexibly to allow for ongoing child-rearing tasks). There’s an overview of the history of paid leave in Australia, a brief review of community and company attitudes, and case studies from men who have either fought to get some time off for their kids or felt shamed into not doing anything about it. The millennial males need permission to change - after all, the life of a women has changed DRAMATICALLY in the last 50yrs, but men’s roles (bread winner, full time hard worker) haven’t adjusted. “The doors to the workforce have opened to give women better career opportunities, but the reverse has not happened - the door hasn’t opened for men to give them more family, home and lifestyle opportunities.” On top of that, the #metoo movement has fueled a deconstruction of so many male (previously) role models and the notion of toxic masculinity is feeding an underlying resentment of millennial men to the feminist movement as they look around and see that “women can do everything” while men feel a strong cultural cage to “provide” and no permission to change their lifestyle without being seen as weak, failing or taking career suicide. It’s a really important topic to open our minds to and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. When men are not able to take leave and share the household/family duties without experiencing setbacks and discrimination, the women suffer under a larger burden and the kids miss out on seeing gender equality displayed in the home between their parents, thus hindering another generation’s expectations for the future. I bought this audiobook from Apple Books and it took 2hrs to listen to. If you are even remotely interested in gender equality, please listen to this!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Valentine

    This was an enjoyable, interesting and important read. Annabel Crabb flipped the coin to look at discrimination against men in the workplace - through reduced access to parental leave and flexible working arrangements compared to women - and examined its high stakes and widely reverberating impacts. She shares a statistic that men who do not take parental leave early in their kid's life, are likely to have less engagement with that child later in its life. This strikes me as such a sad and cruel This was an enjoyable, interesting and important read. Annabel Crabb flipped the coin to look at discrimination against men in the workplace - through reduced access to parental leave and flexible working arrangements compared to women - and examined its high stakes and widely reverberating impacts. She shares a statistic that men who do not take parental leave early in their kid's life, are likely to have less engagement with that child later in its life. This strikes me as such a sad and cruel consequence for men who truly want to engage as Dads, but are prevented from doing so due to discrimination. She also explored how this reinforces the status quo by preventing women from returning to work sooner, and all the flow on effects of this. As part of this she argued that men who do not take parental leave have less opportunity to learn how to take care of a baby, run a household etc., which contributes to the issue of women doing the bulk of unpaid domestic labour and the so-called 'second shift' - although I agree that this would contribute, I think men's wilful acceptance of a culture which relieves men of this duty also has a huge part to play! I found her examination of parental leave policies in other countries and flexible work policies in various workplaces fascinating. The power of policy to rapidly change culture is hopeful and inspiring and I wish (frustratingly, probably in vain) that we would harness this more in Australia! Finally, Annabel Crabb is hilarious. The skill she has to write an essay that is somehow enjoyable and funny (breastmilk panna cotta, who knew?!), but also does justice to an important issue, is something to be admired.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liam Halford

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An excellent compliment to her previous book "the wife drought". This book however has more of a focus on how many of the things which are continuing to impact women and their ability to be equal in society (ie wage gap etc etc) has a very large deal to do with an underlying culture of gender roles after children come into the picture (this is discussed in higher detail in The Wife Drought). What this book discusses however is the idea that legislation and societal culture which forces fathers in An excellent compliment to her previous book "the wife drought". This book however has more of a focus on how many of the things which are continuing to impact women and their ability to be equal in society (ie wage gap etc etc) has a very large deal to do with an underlying culture of gender roles after children come into the picture (this is discussed in higher detail in The Wife Drought). What this book discusses however is the idea that legislation and societal culture which forces fathers into their gender role has the net effect of ultimately pushing mothers within their own. Example: In a society where men are wanting more and more to be more than just providers for their children, things like for example the ostracisation of fathers within the work force for asking for flexible hours or primary carer's/paternity leave has lead to men being forced to remain at work which ultimately has the net impact of pushing their partners out of work to look after their children. And hence inorder to continue addressing women's issues in the workplace, we need to address men's. Definitely not a Jordan Peterson sorta book but does address a bunch of the issues I've seen him raise and I would definitely recommend to anyone to read both this book and "The Wife Drought"

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    A compelling take from a novel (to me, at least) angle. Essentially this is The Wife Drought Version 1.5. Summary: As we'd all know women are dominantly the primary carer of children, with men defaulting to breadwinner, and this has terrible effects on the careers and finances of women. This flips the argument on its head by reflecting on what benefits men miss out on by virtue of this arrangement, talks over the implicit assumptions in workplaces that reinforce this (e.g. women are more likely t A compelling take from a novel (to me, at least) angle. Essentially this is The Wife Drought Version 1.5. Summary: As we'd all know women are dominantly the primary carer of children, with men defaulting to breadwinner, and this has terrible effects on the careers and finances of women. This flips the argument on its head by reflecting on what benefits men miss out on by virtue of this arrangement, talks over the implicit assumptions in workplaces that reinforce this (e.g. women are more likely to ask for flexible work, sure, but they are also more likely to be approved for it), and talks over the systemic features that keep the default assumption from changing: everything from the structure of government payments for parental leave, through to the societal expectations of who will be changing nappies and shuttling to soccer practice. Somewhat focussed on the Australian experience, but I would think that this would also resonate for Americans due to their poor parental leave policies over there. Thourough, insightful, and with Annabel Crabb's trademark wit, it's a lucid and easy read. If you go Audible, as I did, Annabel Crabb adds another layer with her excellent narration. Recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luke Illeniram

    A fascinating and forensic look at the policies and prejudices related to men and parental leave. Crabb is always a clear thinker, and this piece demonstrates that thoroughly. Crabb recognises that a stark barrier to the gains needed for women's empowerment, is the empowerment of men to be able to leave work to rear children. Despite participation in the workforce improving for women, so much of this child-rearing remains a heavily maternal-space, and men are often either at-risk of losing jobs, A fascinating and forensic look at the policies and prejudices related to men and parental leave. Crabb is always a clear thinker, and this piece demonstrates that thoroughly. Crabb recognises that a stark barrier to the gains needed for women's empowerment, is the empowerment of men to be able to leave work to rear children. Despite participation in the workforce improving for women, so much of this child-rearing remains a heavily maternal-space, and men are often either at-risk of losing jobs, or at least damaging their reputation should they wish to take a greater role in child-rearing, even as primary care-giver. Crabb writes an insightful and nuanced report that recognises the key role that mothers play in their child's upbringing, and the strong desire of some men to be there too, in addition to those who the barriers are too big to be able to step into the home envrionment in any kind of manageable way. This is really interesting to me as it is one thing I hope to be able to do whenever I have kids, but at the moment, workplaces are not kind to fathers wanting to provide care, and support. I hope that changes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick Parkinson

    What's to say, really? Annabelle Crabb is great and strikes that difficult balance between funny, approachable, keenly intelligent and informative. Her thesis is structured in a strange way: men are discriminated against by parental leave and this discrimination makes women less equal in work. And she brings a fair chunk of evidence to the table to support this. I would have loved to see an exploration on how the current laws need to be change because they're inequitable for all<\i>. If men can o What's to say, really? Annabelle Crabb is great and strikes that difficult balance between funny, approachable, keenly intelligent and informative. Her thesis is structured in a strange way: men are discriminated against by parental leave and this discrimination makes women less equal in work. And she brings a fair chunk of evidence to the table to support this. I would have loved to see an exploration on how the current laws need to be change because they're inequitable for all<\i>. If men can only get 2-weeks of paid leave, what happens in male/male same-sex couples? What about gender non-conforming parents or single dads? There was some mention of surrogate parents and parents who adopt, but it was relegated to the margins.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Koda Whitney

    This essay is an interesting read. It touched on some very real struggles facing parents in the workplace. This appeals to a wide audience and those who are not on the extremes of gender theory will benefit from the discussion Crabb provides. Acknowledging that there is room to find balance in the lives of both parents is a paramount consideration. I was able to strongly relate to barriers real and perceived in managing my family and work commitments and that is coming from someone who is a male This essay is an interesting read. It touched on some very real struggles facing parents in the workplace. This appeals to a wide audience and those who are not on the extremes of gender theory will benefit from the discussion Crabb provides. Acknowledging that there is room to find balance in the lives of both parents is a paramount consideration. I was able to strongly relate to barriers real and perceived in managing my family and work commitments and that is coming from someone who is a male in a female dominated workforce. Crabb provides challenges and some fairly interesting solutions that are worth considering.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Clare B

    In all honesty I would listen to Annabel Crabb read her shopping list, but this was an insightful and well-researched piece on a debate it is hard to fathom we are still having! As with The Wife Drought, the concepts were not ground-breaking and nor should they be - but the beauty lies in bringing them to the forefront in an accessible and engaging way, and hopefully empowering more people to demand the requisite change. It’s been great to witness more friends and colleagues of both genders stan In all honesty I would listen to Annabel Crabb read her shopping list, but this was an insightful and well-researched piece on a debate it is hard to fathom we are still having! As with The Wife Drought, the concepts were not ground-breaking and nor should they be - but the beauty lies in bringing them to the forefront in an accessible and engaging way, and hopefully empowering more people to demand the requisite change. It’s been great to witness more friends and colleagues of both genders stand up for a more equal and flexible approach to work/ parenting, and books like this can only help with this movement.

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