Presidential debate and Mitt Romney with his ‘binders full of women’ demonstrate the assumptions that short change both men and women when it comes to flexible work

Morra Aarons-Mele (@morraam) wrote a great article in the Huffington Post discussing the Presidential debate and Mitt Romneys response to a question posed by Katherine Fenton in relation to pay equity. I’ve been suffering from ‘flu for the last ten days ( I know, it was awful – I felt like I was dying!) so the actual story passed me by until I found twitter ablaze with ‘bindersfullofwomen’ tags and comments. Morra’s article explains the scenario (in case, like me, you missed it) but also points out that Mitt Romney’s asssertion that if we want women to work when they have children we are going to have to be more flexible actually reveals the bias (unconscious or otherwise) and assumptions that do both sexes a huge disservice. As Morra says, a recent study the Work Institute found that men are spending more time with their families and experiencing increased frustration with conflicts between work and family. This is not a great surprise. At Lexington Gray we have consistently found that more than a third of lawyers registering with us for flexible work are men and that, increasingly, parents are sharing the burden of childcare. While flexible work is one tool that will help more women to reach the top of their chosen profession it is absolutely NOT a female issue. With an aging population I believe we’ll see a steady increase in the number of people that need to work flexibly to balance their caring responsibilites for both the generation above and the generation below and when it comes to elder care, we don’t have the usual stereotypes to fall back on to determine who’s responsiblity it is to do the lion’s share of the caring.
Read Morra’s article – she puts it better than me.

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