At present our work model, which is designed essentially to support a capitalist culture, does not support women thriving and progressing in the workplace and men becoming as involved and invested in caring and domestic responsibilities as women are. The trouble is, we regard this work model as essentially fixed, as if it were as immutable as the laws of gravity or the diurnal cycle. We act as though it’s beyond our power to change it, as though the best we can do is to tinker around the edges with things like flexible working, job shares, paternity leave, and the like. The trouble with all of these is that they leave the essential model, the model which militates against anyone who isn’t a man*, untouched.
*Actually I would go further than this and say that our current work model militates against anyone who isn’t a particular type of man, so that BAME men, disabled men, gay men, and men who for whatever reason don’t want to work a full-time, five day week for fifty straight years also get discriminated against.
But why change the work model? you may ask. It’s hard to do, and will require a lot of work and upset and in any case, isn’t it OK to make these small changes to accommodate people for whom it doesn’t work as it is? That’s a lot easier and won’t cause all sorts of stress and problems. Well, no, it isn’t OK, not really. There are all sorts of arguments that our current work model doesn’t serve us as human beings. It’s not good for our society which is based around an erroneous consumerist assumption that enjoyment is linked to consumption, and that pleasure comes from objects. It’s not good for our planet, which is suffering from the effects of our overconsumption. And it’s not good for the people who have to live and work within it, women and men.