Catherine Rampell in The New York Times on the dream of paid paternity leave Borrowing the vocabulary of Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook memoir, Lean In, Catherine Rampell calls for new fathers to "lean in" at home — by way of mandatory paternity leave. And not necessarily as a boon to men, but as a way to lessen the dominance of gender roles. "Social scientists are coming around to the notion that a man spending a few weeks at home with his newborn can help recast expectations and gender roles, at work and home, for a long time," Rampell writes. The benefits are economic, too. "In the United States, women represent not only a majority of college graduates but also a majority of advanced-degree holders. But the lack of policies facilitating the work-life balance — like paid maternity leave and flexible work hours — has millions of them underemployed." NBC's Lauren Prince calls Rampell's column a "great addition to the [Lean In phenomenon]."
Francesca Mari in Dissent on Jill Lepore's American history New Yorker critic and Harvard professor Jill Lepore has made her name in "microhistories," writes Francesca Mari, who assesses Lepore's unlikely writerly success through her work on American history. "Lepore is not a normal exception; she is an exceptional exception," Mari writes. "She turned a liability into her biggest asset, and her success shows that the stories of history—exuberant with rich scenes and characters resplendent in all their quirks—sell like flax seed in America." By tracking Lepore's ascent — she originally worked as a secretary, and she performed so well that she won an award — Mari makes the case for Lepore to be read, and reread, as our appetite for history grow greater and greater. "[Dissent] is killing it lately," The New Yorker's Caitlin Kelly remarked this morning, alluding to the magazine's well-received essay on Sheryl Sandberg.