Kathleen Gerson

Recent Articles

Father Load

Editor's Note: On Wednesday, Linda Hirshman panned many of the stories in our current " Mother Load " special report. Below, some of the authors respond to her criticism, particularly about the role of fathers. March 14: Linda Hirshman March 15: Kathleen Gerson March 16: Courtney E. Martin March 16: Brad Reid March 19: Linda Hirshman Kathleen Gerson responds: It's good to see that the special report on the growing crisis of work-family conflicts has sparked discussion, although Linda Hirshman's remarks seem more like a manufactured controversy. Since we agree on far more than we disagree, let's bypass the combative tone of her remarks and get to the substance. Hirshman says my discussion of the fact that young men and women have "fallback" positions that are less progressive than their "preferred" positions is a form of "sugarcoating" that "allows women to delude themselves." This is a seemingly deliberate misreading of my findings. While many young adults say they wish they could...

What Do Women and Men Want?

Young workers today grew up in rapidly changing times: They watched women march into the workplace and adults develop a wide range of alternatives to traditional marriage. Now making their own passage to adulthood, these "children of the gender revolution" have inherited a far different world from that of their parents or grandparents. They may enjoy an expanded set of options, but they also face rising uncertainty about whether and how to craft a marriage, rear children, and build a career. Considering the scope of these new uncertainties, it is understandable that social forecasters are pondering starkly different possibilities for the future. Focusing on a comparatively small recent upturn in the proportion of mothers who do not hold paid jobs, some are pointing to a "return to tradition," especially among young women. Others see evidence of a "decline of commitment" in the rising number of young adults who are living outside a married relationship. However, the 120 in-depth...

A Few Good Men

More men are taking family life seriously. But they are still a minority, and the system still punishes those who choose the daddy track.

S uccessful revolutions, by their nature, can never remain confined to one social group. For the last 30 years, as women of all ages and family statuses have streamed into the workplace, rearranging the balance of their ties to employment and child rearing, men have been experiencing a quiet revolution of their own. While men who provide the sole or major economic support to their families have not disappeared, their ranks have dwindled. Even generous estimates suggest that no more than a third of American households now depend solely or primarily on a male earner. Today men are facing new expectations and new choices about their commitments to society, family, and work. No longer certain what goals they should pursue, much less how they should pursue them, many men have found themselves in a no-man's land, searching for new meanings and definitions of maturity. Amid these social upheavals, some men have held steadfastly to traditional definitions of manhood while others have sought...