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2 Terms We Should All Stop Using If We Want Real Gender Equality At Home And Work

Flickr / Personal Creations

The following was syndicated from LinkedIn for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

This past week I listened to a fantastic interview with Annabel Crabb by Wil Anderson on his podcast “Wilosophy.” Annabel discusses that while women are increasingly staying in the workforce after having children, the movement of men to home duties is virtually non-existent.

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In fact, according to Annabel, the problem begins with language. The terms “Working Mum” and “Stay At Home Dad” have become commonplace but when we use them they load our statements with a hidden expectation. “Working Mum” implies that the term mum doesn’t come along with the word working. Similarly, “Stay At Home Dad” implies that men don’t typically stay at home to take charge of family duties.

Undoubtedly, there is much work to do to support more women in the workforce after the birth of a child. However, one of the big blockers to keeping mothers in the workplace, is the startlingly low number of dads choosing to take time off work to look after the family. According to Pew research only around 3 percent of fathers choose not to work full-time. Furthermore, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, mothers are less likely to be in paid work even in families where both parents work with 95 percent of Australian mothers only working part-time.

If more men could stay at home, more women would have the opportunity to keep working.

If more men could stay at home, more women would have the opportunity to keep working.

Can anyone say gender pay gap? According to Freakonomics radio, one of the biggest reasons there is still a significant different between the earnings of men and women is because women still tend to be the ones who take parental leave.

Many men feel that stay-at-home duties will have a larger negative impact on the family’s finances than if the mother was to stay home while others simply feel somehow emasculated by the idea of not working full-time while their partners do.

So how do we fix all of this? Well I’m not claiming to know all the answers but a great first step would be to drop the terms “Working Mum” and “Stay At Home Dad” and just go back to good ole Mum and Dad.

Dan Draper is a speaker, documentarian and technologist. Check out his twitter and documentary.