One step forward? Advances and setbacks on the path toward gender equality in families and work. By: Thébaud, Sarah; Halcomb, Laura. Sociology Compass. Jun2019, Vol. 13 Issue 6.

Men and women increasingly express egalitarian preferences for organizing family life, but workplace norms and practices are still based on relatively traditional assumptions about the gender division of labor in families. In this article, we unpack this discordant feature of the cultural landscape with recent sociological research on gender, work, and family. We begin by discussing the growing body of evidence on preferences for gender–egalitarian relationships and specify how these egalitarian desires are incongruous with workplace norms and practices. Such a mismatch between desires and reality tends to produce negative personal and career outcomes, including work–family conflict, stress, and job and marital dissatisfaction. Then, we offer a critical review of the recent actions taken by some employers and policymakers to address this issue. We observe some progressive changes in both the public and private sector in regard to family leave policies, flexible work arrangements, childcare support, and fertility benefits, but these policy initiatives still fall short of supporting gender–egalitarian arrangements for working families. We conclude with a discussion of how researchers could better evaluate and increase the effectiveness of workplace initiatives.