April 24, 2011

You've Come A Little Way, Baby Daddy

Some interesting work-life links from the professional world this week.

First up, an invigorating discussion from the VC/startup world, which used to be a total boys' club. Founder Jessica Jackley took to Business Insider to reply to one of her funder VCs who expressed the reservations he had about backing a pregnant lady's company.

The title of Jackley's response? ""I've Never Heard Someone Say 'An Expectant Father/CEO Will Fail'"

Being pregnant has about as much relevance to a start-up CEO's success as having a penis. But being a start-up CEO is grueling and all-consuming, and so is being a new parent [of twins, in Jackley's case]. Frankly, I'm just glad I didn't have to do both at the same time.

In other high-pressure, high stakes news, Major League Baseball has, for the first time, instituted a paternity leave list, which allows active roster players to take a couple of days off the road to attend the birth of their children. There's a joke about home runs in here somewhere, but I'm too indifferent to baseball to make it.

Besides, this kind of progress is nice for VCs and pro athletes, but when are these benefits going to ever trickle down to the working man? Like high-priced corporate litigators?

Well, Working Dad points to some good analysis by Joan Williams of an awesome-sounding, recent federal district court ruling in Kansas City. It starts out a little insider baseball, and then it gets kind A judge scolded lawyers on one side of a case for not agreeing to a typical request by the opposing side to postpone a trial because the date was uncomfortably close to a lead attorney's wife's due date.

That's a big shift, folks. This is not an artist like John Lennon deciding to stay home to care for his son. These are corporate lawyers, being scolded by a Bush-appointed federal judge, who -- in no uncertain terms -- sends the message that men who see fatherhood as divorced from actually showing up to care for a child are a more than a little off. When conventional men end up being shamed when they attempt to exploit a father's commitment to actually showing up, well, that's something new. We're making real progress.
Indeed! Two days off for the delivery of your firstborn child for everyone!

[Recognizing a More Important Meaning of Being There [nyt via dt reader eric]
Daddy Days in Federal Court: Making Progress [momsrising.org via Working Dad, actually his twitter]

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