Throughout history, these capabilities have been the backbone of society and primarily the domain of women. Which doesn't mean that all women are Kitchen Wisdom whiz-kids. Nor does it mean that no men have excelled in the nurturing arts. But the sad fact is that Kitchen Wisdom has been judged an inferior form of intelligence, and boys and men have been discouraged from developing it. And the whole world has suffered.

I once heard Gloria Steinem tell a group of women leaders: "We've taken one giant step forward by convincing the majority of the country that women can do what men can do. But the next step is convincing the country that men can do what women can do. So far, we don't believe it ourselves." For years I did not believe it; I did not believe men would ever want to "do what women can do," meaning to develop a different part of themselves—their Kitchen Wisdom part. I thought women would just continue to knock themselves out doing what women have always done, while learning to do what men do and trying to create an entirely new form of doing—a hybrid form that leads toward wholeness. I longed for a time when both men and women would strive for well-balanced psyches, because I sensed that the healing of our world depended on it. But I didn't think I'd see it anytime soon.

Good news! Recently, I have become aware that men are making some startling evolutionary advances into the wise territory of the Kitchen (with a capital K). Now granted, I have not made an over-arching study of this phenomenon (readers: please share your stories and maybe together we'll publish our findings.) My study involves one family. A year ago, my oldest son and his wife welcomed to the world little Will—my first grandchild. Soon afterward, my son—along with many others in the building trades in California—lost his job.

Much to my amazement, my son decided to combine his newfound status of unemployed architect with that of first-time father. He became the stay-at-home parent for baby Will. My daughter-in-law, whose internet company was eager for her to return to work, did so after a few months.

What true gender equality really means


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