Quarterly Essay 75: Men at Work: Australia’s Parenthood Trap

Annabel Crabb

Quarterly Essay 75: Men at Work: Australia's Parenthood Trap
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Quarterly Essay 75: Men at Work: Australia’s Parenthood Trap

Annabel Crabb

When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her pregnancy, the headlines raced around the world. But when Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg became the first Prime Minister and Treasurer duo since the 1970s to take on those roles while bringing up primary-school-aged children, this detail passed largely without notice. Why do we accept that fathers will be absent? Why do so few men take parental leave in this country?   

In the last half-century, women have revolutionised the way we work and live. But men’s lives have changed remarkably little in that time. Why is that? Is it because men don’t want to change? Or is it because, every day in various ways, we tell them they shouldn’t?     

In this Quarterly Essay, Annabel Crabb deploys political observation, workplace research and her characteristic humour and intelligence to argue that gender equity cannot be achieved until men are as free to leave the workplace (when their lives demand it) as women are to enter it.

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