Better Life Lab

Better Life Lab Is Back, Because the Good Life Still Escapes Us

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photo by Image Source/Getty Images.

Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Slate and New America partnered to bring you a Better Life Lab pop-up blog in order to “explore why striking a good balance between work life and family life seems so unattainable for so many people—and what we as individuals, as organizations, and as policy makers can do about it.” In a few short weeks, we brought you The Case Against Maternity Leave, learned that Your Child Care Conundrum Is an Anti-Communist Plot, examined Why Pretending You Don’t See Race or Gender Is an Obstacle to Equality, and discussed how Businesses of Any Size Can Accommodate Their Trans Employees.

Fortunately for us there has been plenty happening in the world since then to give us fodder for thinking about how effectively combining work and life is central to income and gender equality, economic progress, business innovation, and family health and stability. There have been bold policy developments, such as Washington state passing a paid family and medical leave law with bipartisan support. There have also been setbacks; the Department of Justice is arguing against workplace protections for LGBTQ people and against pay transparency. There’s plenty of intrigue in the male-dominated tech sector; Uber fired a CEO notorious for fostering a toxic work environment where sexual harassment and even assault were allowed to run rampant. There are also promising local developments; San Francisco will prohibit employers from asking for salary history—a practice that can perpetuate inequality by forcing women to take their lower salaries with them from job to job.

There’s a lot to think about, and even more to cover. Starting today, Slate and New America will bring the Better Life Lab channel, an ongoing home for daily takes on hot-button issues like how to fix the pay gap without waiting for the federal government’s help. We’ll highlight fascinating research like what factors make men the most equal co-parents. We’ll tell inspiring stories of people who’ve changed their companies for the better, like the women of Amazon who advocated for a revolutionary family leave policy and share ideas about other issues you probably haven’t thought of, like how to get more men to be preschool teachers and why it matters that they aren’t in the first place. We’ll also have personal essays covering the highs and lows of work and life today, including an upcoming review of work-life apps. Today, we start off with a piece by Lindsay Bernhagen about adjunct professors performing emotional labor for their students.

We look forward to bringing you bold journalism and creative storytelling on a wide range of topics related to the future of work, gender, and social policy. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep the conversation going, and to let us know what kind of stories you’d like to see us tackle in the coming months.