When Work/Life Balance is a Political Issue

Mother and son at home.

When the issues surrounding women and families in the workforce are framed as a “work/life balance” issue it creates a dynamic where women (and men too) blame themselves for not being able to handle the stress and guilt of work and family. Caitlyn Collins makes the argument in her recent NYTimes op-ed that in her studies she sees this as an issue that is political, not social. If we focus on issues like paid leave, affordable childcare and universal pre-k we take the onus of families (and primarily women) to achieve success at work and at home with no back-up. Right now, for most women in the U.S, this is a losing battle and it forces them out of the workforce and reduces the chances for real gender parity. It’s great to have companies state their desire for workplace parity and inclusion but this is a societal and political issue that cannot be solved on a case by case and company by company basis.

“In a country where most women (too often the poor and racial-ethnic minorities) receive no paid leave at all….being able to work and raise the next generation of taxpayers and employees should never be deemed a matter of mere “luck.”