The research, which took several years and included the examinations of about 250,000 people around the world, concluded that men have similar levels of conflict related to work-life balance as women.
"We essentially found very little evidence of differences between women and men as far as the level of work-family conflict they report," Kristen Shockley, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and the study’s lead researcher said. "This is quite contrary to the common public perception." The study found that, when pushed, men complain of similar challenges meeting their family needs and balancing their work-lives as their female colleagues.
Amen, Dr. Schockley. Amen!
Sure, I admit some women have challenges in the workplace that could cause a wee bit of stress. I’ve known women that have been forced to smile politely and pretend they don’t mind when men fart, burp, surf porn or talk about inappropriate things within their earshot. I’ve read about women getting pinched, winked at, patted, pawed and approached for sex by male superiors who have an impact on their career advancement. Females in the workplace are still called “honey,” “dear,” “love,” “missy” and “sweetie” by some men. And guys, don’t even try to deny that you’re discussing their bottoms, tops, legs, arms and faces the minute they leave a room or at the bar that night. I’ve been there.
I confess to the fact that there are other stressful things in a woman’s working day that men don’t ever have to deal with. For example, women can’t just wear the same suit every day to work like most guys do. Their outfits can’t be too short or too long. Their hair can’t be mussed. Their makeup must be applied professionally. They are forced to paint, pluck, perfume and groom every exposed part of their bodies. They are judged critically if they’re too heavy…or too thin. Their shoes must be professional, despite the pain they endure wearing them.
OK, I also admit I’ve heard that women must be especially aware of predators at work and during the day. For example, it’s not uncommon for a woman walking down the street to work -- even in 2017 -- to be the recipient of rude comments or aggressive behavior from male strangers just because they made the mistake of catching someone’s eye. Even when travelling I’ve never had to be careful about who’s sitting next to me on a plane, the rental car bus, or even a restaurant. But women do. That seems kind of stressful.
And yes, I’m aware that many experienced female executives are still sometimes asked to “get their boss on the phone” or to “check the boss’ calendar”… even when they’re the boss. I’ve watched as female colleagues are asked to fetch coffee, make dinner reservations and order food for the company barbeque despite having a more responsible position than other male colleagues who could (and should) perform the same tasks. I can name specific clients that have avoided giving career-advancing assignments to women because the work is deemed to be too physical, demanding or taxing.
When it comes to the family, I do concede that it always seems to be the working mom who’s the first responder for any child or home emergency, doctor’s appointment or school meeting in lieu of dad. I grant that pregnant woman have it especially tough, battling nausea, sickness and the aches and pains of their pregnancy with little sympathy from their male colleagues. When they do take time off to care for their newborns their commitment to the job and long term status at the company is at risk of being called into question. Yet, their commitment to their child is called into question if they take less time off than is offered by the company.
Then again, if a mother chooses to work instead of being a stay-at-home mom then she’s criticized by other stay-at-home moms while at the same time being ostracized by working moms if she chooses to stay at home. Phew.
Oh, almost forgot: women get paid a lot less than men.
But hey, just a few years ago, I had to come home early from the company softball game because one of our kids had to be picked up from a friend’s house and my wife couldn’t be there. That was a huge pain and caused me a lot of work-family stress. See? We guys have the same pressures too! That’s what the American Psychological Association says and they are very smart people with advanced degrees and stuff, so they must be right.
You just can’t argue with the data, can you.