Could turning corporate men into househusbands close the pay gap?


Cindy Gallop has a provocative idea for closing the pay gap between men and women: make the corporate world revolve around “househusbands.”

Gallop, a former advertising executive who now runs the group MakeLoveNotPorn, argues that doing so would not only make gender responsibilities more equal, but force broader changes in compensation, childcare, health and elderly support systems. It would also make workplaces more drive more creative and innovative, she said today in the British newspaper City A.M.:

As many men as women dread going to work on a Monday morning. As many men as women want to spend more time with their children. As many men as women want to get out of the rat-race and do something more enjoyable and meaningful.
So, flip the prevailing belief that men are born to be breadwinners and women are born to be carers and nurturers, and redesign the corporate structure around the opposite assumption.

It’s hard to imagine how, exactly, a change like this would occur since the status quo is so culturally ingrained–particularly in the upper echelons of corporate America. As a representative datapoint, a study released over the summer found fewer than 5% of CEOs in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 were women.

In the U.S., women earn 84 cents to every dollar men earn, despite laws designed to prevent gender pay discrimination. Politicians and lawmakers are coming up with ways to close the gap, but as it stands, a woman loses out on about $500,000 of income over her lifetime compared with what a man would earn.

Gallop’s idea is an interesting one because it’s less of a specific rule or regulation than a clarion call for men who lead the business world to start making dramatic changes.

“Househusbands would become the new aspirational male role model–a badge of honour, celebrated in the media, a fixture in popular culture,” she says.

Women would play a huge role too of course: just as men need to change corporate culture, and demand things like paternity leave, Gallop says women must get ready to be fast-tracked to promotions and become more focused on business results.

Gallop spent most of her career in advertising, handling accounts for huge brands, so she has a basis for understanding the corporate world very well. She is also a feminist who argues that women shouldn’t feel pressured to act like porn stars when they’re having sex.

Her househusband idea aligns with her Twitter bio, which reads: “I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.”

I oversee Fusion’s money section and have spent most of my time as a journalist writing about banks and finance. I live in Brooklyn with my partner Geoffrey & our two dogs, Captain & Tallulah. Favs: leopard print, Diet Coke, gummy candy, Ireland.

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