This week the Advisory Council to the Obama Administration's Faith Based Office released its recommendations to the President. Its a good document and contains a lot of thoughtful recommendations.
As I read through the report and focused on the recommendations for the Fatherhood section, I was struck by the gap in a theme throughout the Fatherhood section of the document, that is the need for Fathers to play active and constructive roles in the lives of their children, and the lack of emphasis on work-life balance solutions.
If this were a document focusing on the needs of women, say a "Responsible Motherhood" piece, work-life issues would be front and central. Evidence of this is that in the Obama Administration, the First Lady's office and the Center on Women and Girls, are working actively on work-life balance policies to help mothers, and all Americans, spend more time with their children and be more balanced in life generally. However, the Families and Work Institute has reported that work-life balance issues are now more of a reported problem for men in dual income couples than for women.
So why doesn't the Advisory Council to the Faith Based Office, a Council that for a year has been working on important Fatherhood initiatives, include workplace flexibility and work-life balance recommendations for men? Why aren't the Fatherhood folks working on workplace flexibility the same way the Center on Women and Girls are? It's a missed opportunity.
Workplace flexibility - flexibility in how workers get their work done well while meeting their responsibilities as caregivers, parents, community involvement, personal well being, etc.- is an important component of public policy for all workers. It certainly should be included to support and enhance responsible fatherhood. It has been important for me as I seek to be actively involved in the lives of my two sons.
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