If you look at the research, you find that millennials are not so divided on gender roles. Both sexes increasingly favor a feminist attitude in the workplace and a neotraditionalist attitude at home. They want both sexes to have equal opportunities at work, but year by year more young people believe that the best home is the one where the man is the outside “achiever” and the working woman is the primary caregiver. In 1994, for example, 42 percent of high school seniors believed this; by 2014, 58 percent did.Because I think our whole society is confused about this. We don't really know what a truly equal society would mean; equal numbers of male and female CEOs and legislators? Or should we aim for something like what Norway and Denmark have, a strong welfare state that ends up encouraging many women to spend years raising their children? Norway and Denmark have fewer female executives than in the US or Britain, but women are happier there.
I suppose if I had to put in one sentence my dream for the future of our society, it would be to ease up on the rat race. The reason I want a flatter economic pyramid and a more robust welfare state is that I want to make our economic choices less stark. Right now millions of women (and thousands of men) who would rather raise their children work full time because they think they need the money. And if you want a middle class life by our current standards, including a house in a good school district, you do. My goal is a world in which people can choose to be poorer without suffering a dramatic fall in class; in which nobody feels that making less money would be a complete catastrophe. It seems to me that so long as we all feel that we have to work hard all the time to get an upper middle class income because anything else is a painful failure, we are far from free. Right now, as I point out from time to time, people can do this, but it entails painful sacrifices: living in dangerous neighborhoods or enduring 2-hour commutes or living in small towns with a dire shortage of what our society considers "good jobs." In a world as rich as ours this should be easier than it used to be, not harder.