Parenthood demands: resisting a dystopia in the workplace

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Parenthood is a high impact, and culturally divisive issue; its influence over organisational life is as normalised as the negative consequences for working parents. The parental problem is indicative of patriarchal cultures idolising ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (HM), which privileges masculine careers. Such hegemonic problems demand radical, multifaceted approaches to re-imagine patriarchal organisational cultures; this is where dystopian fiction can help. This paper uses Dystopian Fiction (DF) to offer a manifesto of five demands (adapted from ‘The Children of Men’ by P.D. James, 1992), as a speculative future for new conceptions of parenthood. Drawing on masculinities theory and feminist manifestos, the paper problematizes current parental decisions in the context of DF examples of hegemonic masculinity. The paper’s ‘scriptology’ incorporates DF and authorial reflexivity to subvert HM and imagine the future. These five demands promote a reconceptualization of existing problems affecting working parents towards equitable change. 1. Openly negotiate and make transparent organisational parental policies 2. Strengthen civil rights for marginalised mothers 3. Abolish the silencing of fathers in fertility discourse 4. Stop ‘deporting’ mothers out of their career paths 5. End the anticipatory discrimination of potential mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-585
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number5
Early online date23 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020


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