Nov 17, 2023
David Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Johns
Hopkins University. Carey Business School. I came across his
name when I read a review for his second book, Good Guys: How Men
Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace (Harvard
Business Review Press, 2020).
What I find remarkable and special about David, was learning
about his “why.” When I asked how he came to understand the need
for gender equity in the paid workplace, Dr. David told me the
story about his, and his wife’s 1987 graduation from the Naval
Academy – both leaving the institution with the same degrees and
embarking on parallel careers. It didn’t take him long to
understand that where he had unlimited and easy access to career
advancement resources, his wife was given no such access and was
forced to find her way in order to advance her career. Consequently
his doctoral research in Sociology examined dual-career families
which led to his first book, along with co-author, Dr. Brad
Johnson, Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women.
David’s work today focuses on gender equity within organizations and how all gender equity begins in the home. His research shows that men who worked from home during the pandemic enjoyed the benefits of connecting with their family life in deeper and meaningful ways. To maintain that connection from the office – they “leave loudly” for their family obligations – walking out the front door, and announcing to bosses and co-workers that they have to run their kids to soccer practice or be with them at the dentist. Men “leaving loudly” has given rise to women doing the same – rather than heading out the backdoor hoping no one will notice that you have a dental appointment with your child – dads’ deepening relationships at home make it okay, and safer, for women to do the same thing. It was this conversation, and so much more, that made me feel more positive than I have about reaching gender equity at home which David believes can be realized within the next generation, so long as the paid workplace can provide employees with the flexibility to show-up authentic humans with family responsibilities despite and in spite, of their gender.
Find out more about David here: