June 17, 2020
American families have changed dramatically in the past 50 years, with more women and mothers in the workforce, and more families, particularly those with less education and lower incomes, forming outside the traditional structure of marriage or the nuclear family. Yet work practices, social policies, and cultural attitudes have failed to adapt. Unpaid care work of young children, of sick family members, and, increasingly, of aging relatives, has been undervalued as “women’s work,” which has disadvantaged the financial independence, health and wellbeing, equity, opportunity and advancement of women and their families. And at a time when experts predict that traditionally masculinized jobs will become automated in the near future, the fastest growing jobs are those that can’t be fully automated: paid care work. These jobs, too, have been traditionally filled by women and undervalued. The pivot, now, is figuring out how men can and should factor into this paid and unpaid care equation, and shine a spotlight on the fact that many are already beginning to, or want to.
As a leader in data-driven original research, policy recommendations, practical tools and storytelling with a purpose to challenge the status quo thinking and shape a human-centered shared narratives, the Better Life Lab is exploring how men can and should factor into this changing future of care and pointing the way to the systemic, structural and cultural barriers that need to be redesigned in order to do so fully and effectively.