The word is changing at a rapid pace. While certain things remain the same, mainly that people have families, the way that these families work is now very different. More and more women are joining the corporate ladder, and men are becoming emancipated enough to understand that they also play a vital role in their families. Men are no longer afraid to say that they want to see their children and play a role in their lives.
In 2011, the Families and Work Institute wrote a new paper, named ‘The New Male Mystique’. In it, they highlighted that men are currently going through a change similar to that women went through when they suddenly started to work. The paper noted that 60% of working fathers felt there was a conflict between their work and their family. Yet only 47% of working women felt the same way. These results, it must be said, were for families where both the mother and father worked. A different survey, completed by TIME, showed that men felt much less conflicted if their wives stayed at home, but this led to increased unhappiness in women instead.
For Charles Phillips, Infor CEO,’s wife, what this demonstrates is that men are now facing different pressures, the same ones women have been facing for a long time. Karen Phillips welcomed the study, because she felt it allowed men to start talking about their issues, needs, desires, and guilty feelings. She feels that Charles and her have found an excellent way to create a great work life balance, but they are one of the lucky few. She joined her husband when discussing the results of the study with the executive team at Infor, and she noted that many actually felt quite emotional at the results. An overwhelming emotion that was expressed, as well, was the fact that men often have added guilt, because they feel they shouldn’t have these emotions since those of their wives, who have gone through these struggles for hundreds of years, are much stronger.
However, it seems women have been able, over those hundreds of years of struggles, to find the perfect balance. The 2011 study was repeated in 2013 by Pew Research, and they reported that 46% of working fathers felt that they needed more time with their children, away from work. This compared to just 26% of women, who felt they have found an excellent balance.
While some feel these figures are abysmal, with images of fathers crying just to spend time with their families are conjured up, what it is actually showing is that men are starting to change how they think and feel. This can only be a positive thing for the family unit as a whole. And with more and more executives, including Charles Phillips, leading by example, demonstrating to staff members that it is important to spend time at home, it is likely that things will only get better from now on.