Women Fire Back At Working Dads

Host Michel Martin and editor Ammad Omar crack open the listener inbox for BackTalk. This week, women sound off on a conversation about working dads struggling to balance job and family.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is with us.

What do you have for us today, Ammad?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: All right. We got a strong reaction to our parenting roundtable. This week, we talked to some working dads.

MARTIN: You know, there's new research that suggests that men are now experiencing more work-family conflict than women, so we decided to talk with some working dads to see about that and we also spoke with researcher Ken Matos.

KENNETH MATOS: They're experiencing the same thing that women have been experiencing for a really long time and that's trying to figure out how please everybody, to make sure their managers and coworkers respect them as employees, but at the same time, feel like their spouses, partners and children see them as active and engaged fathers.

MARTIN: So, Ammad, you said that there was a strong reaction. What was it?

OMAR: Well, a lot of people supported the dads, but some people weren't so convinced. Jean Basterling(ph) from Reston, Virginia, had this to say on our website, NPR.org. Quote, "get over it, men. For years, women have bit their lip rather than mention they have children that would pull them away from work. To do so would put their career at risk. On the contrary, when men mention they must leave a meeting or take a day off for children, the response is more positive. Isn't he a great dad? I have no sympathy," unquote.

And Denise Greewish(ph) from Eugene, Oregon, says people without kids are the ones who have it tough, not the parents. Here she is.

DENISE GREEWISH: Having children is not an affliction. It is not a disability. It is a choice. Man up and accept your choices and your responsibilities and quit acting like you're being discriminated in the workplace.

MARTIN: I wish our listeners would come out of their shell and tell us how they really feel. Thank you, Denise and Jean. What else do you have, Ammad?

OMAR: All right. We've got a couple of corrections, too. Last week, we had a conversation about a housing center for gay seniors in Philadelphia and, during that conversation, it was stated that gay people have more disposable income than straight people, but we got a lot of emails about that. People are saying that's not true. It's just a stereotype.

And our research librarians agree. They told us that it's a myth that gay people are richer than straight people. In fact, there's a lot of research that shows that LGBT people are actually at a higher risk of poverty.

MARTIN: Well, I'm glad we got a chance to straighten that out. And there's one other thing I need to straighten out, as well. This week in our Beauty Shop conversation, I said that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the first American diplomat killed at his post in some 30 years when he died in Libya back in September. I clearly misspoke, searching for the right word. What I meant to say was that he was the first ambassador killed at his post in more than three decades. Unfortunately, there is a long list of other American diplomats killed in the line of duty over the past few decades in all corners of the world. And, as I think listeners to this program know, we have had the duty and the honor to cover some of the stories on this program, so thanks for letting me set the record straight on that, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you.

MARTIN: And, of course, remember that, at TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can visit us online at NPR.org/TellMeMore. Please remember to leave us your name. We're also on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.

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