Today’s modern family is including soccer dads as well as moms. So, when CNN investigative journalist, Josh Levs was denied fair paternal leave, he acted. Levs addressed the issues facing families who are forced to pick work over children and continues to be an advocate for modern families and active fathers, outlining his sentiments in his book, All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses– And How We Can Fix It Together.
For years, Levs served as an award-winning journalist for NPR and CNN. But, in 2013, as an expecting father, Levs accused CNN/Time Warner’s paid leave policies of being discriminatory towards biological fathers. The reporter filed a lawsuit against the companies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Levs’ charge exposed CNN/Time Warner’s unfair policies, which stated that biological fathers are only permitted two weeks, while biological mothers, adoptive parents and parents who had a child via surrogacy are given ten weeks of paid leave. Levs won the case and has since gone on to become an advocate for equal workplace policies for both moms and dads.
Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s best-seller, Lean In, Levs’ novel, All In is an anthem for men who want to, as Sandberg says, “be present and sit at the table”– the dinner table that is. In an interview with TIME Magazine, Levs describes All In as a “call to action” for the United States to change its workplace policies, so parents of both genders can share equal responsibility when raising a family.
Levs’ novel argues against the “antiquated” nuclear family structure, which dictates that women should stay home while the men serve as the sole bread winners. All In repeatedly mentions that the United States is one of the few nations without mandatory paid maternity leave, let alone paternity leave. The novel has opened many conversations regarding fair treatment towards working parents of both genders.
Now, as a father, husband, and author, Levs wants to redefine what it means to be a man and a dad. “We are carving out a new role for fathers in America,” Levs mentioned in the previously stated interview. “That’s a challenge and an opportunity. There are opportunities that men have now that our fathers didn’t have. So that gives us a chance to define a new meaning of manliness. We’re all in this together, pushing forward for a new meaning for fatherhood.”
Now serving as CNN.com’s “dad columnist” Levs encourages fathers and families to challenge discriminatory workplace policies. He also calls for Corporate America to reform its laws to fit the new face of the American dad and family.
The journalist-turned-activist told Money.com the “Mad Men– era work structures” are a detrimental, outdated stigma, leaving many active fathers and soccer-moms at a loss. “The same obstacles making it tougher for women to advance in the workplace also make it tougher for men to have as much time with their families as they want and need,” explained Levs.
Levs continues to work as a journalist, author, and advocate, and encourages more men to speak out and take an active role in reshaping the image of the modern family.
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