The rise of the mothers, but what about the fathers?

education fotoAt a time when everyone talks about the rise of women…it’s time to pause and reflect on what does it mean to be a man and a father nowadays.

There is evidence that shows that more women between 35 and 45 are becoming entrepreneurs than men. Who are the winners and who are the losers? Do men really benefit from staying employed in corporations despite not enjoying their jobs?   A lot of men feel the burden of having to be the one, in the couple, who succeeds in their career. There are a lot of men who don’t even take the parental leave offered by the country’s legislation because they are afraid of the message it would give about their level of career ambition.

Two months ago it was Mothers’ Day here in The Netherlands. My husband just flew back from Houston the day before, but despite the jet-leg and the acute tiredness of spending a whole week in face-to-face meetings he felt urged to wake up with the kids at 7.30 am on a Sunday to  organize breakfast in bed for mummy. I got to unwrap  hand-made heart gifts crafted with patience by my seven year-old daughter and my four-year old son at school.

If you are woman reading this, you probably think… ah, how sweet, well-deserved mother day. But, if you are a guy, especially one who does not have kids yet, you might think: What? 7.30 am on a Sunday morning?  This poor man…another one lost. I don’t think I will have kids, or maybe I will wait until after I turn 45!

In this blog and my recent book  I often write often about gender balance and especially about having mothers as leaders, but I do think that the rise of mothers can only happen with the full support of men.

There is something to be said about women’s intuition and empathy, however girls tend to be rewarded early on for using their intuition and ‘social skills’ while boys tend to be rewarded for courage and bravery.

There is yin and yang in all of us and we need to take our men with us on this wonderful journey called… the rise of women.  

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Author: Steliana van de Rijt-Economu is a leadership coach with twenty years of cross-cultural working experience. A mother herself, she lived with her young family in three different countries, experiencing first-hand the pressure that society places on women, especially as they become mothers.

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