A unique approach to gender and parenting roles uses scientific studies to evaluate the value of the mother as primary caregiver.
The price women pay and the sacrifices they make by assuming (and continuing to assume) the role of primary parent is too high, says Carlsson, who takes a fresh look at male and female gender issues by studying the corresponding dependence women incur when acting as primary parent. Women’s role as the primary caregiver has been questioned before, but here the author takes a deeper look into the issue by asking whether both mother and child might benefit more by stepping out of this construct. Carlsson uses numerous scientific studies to illustrate how, by acting as primary parent, women are hindered in their personal and professional growth. She argues this most forcefully with references to evolution and the comparison of animal behaviors to those of humans. Using numerous case studies, Carlsson evaluates men, their past traditional and more modern roles in childcare and its effect on women, children and the family as a whole. One question she addresses is whether men and women think differently or are simply trained differently. Although the author maintains that the debate over nature vs. nurture remains open, she uses numerous resources to argue that child, mother and family as a whole are hurt by gender-based parenting roles. Animal behaviors, and the subsequent evolutionary roles women have assumed, are the core of the discussion here against women as primary parent. As long as they are so, Carlsson says, they remain dependent on the male benefactor. With the dissolution of the primary-vs.-secondary standard, evolution will continue and thus eliminate this gender-based infraction against women’s independence and growth.
Intriguing and fact-filled study of the history and future of parenting.