"I always felt this is not a gender issue," he said. "This is a human issue of work and life balance. It’s a parenting issue for men and women, moms and fathers — question I ask myself every single day. But clearly it still touches a nerve."
Lauer brought on "working moms" Kathy Lee Gifford and Martha Stewart to discuss the topic, and he asked the Today Show panel whether the issue was still "taboo."
The general consensus was that it was not, but that people take issue with the fact that men don't get asked whether their jobs interfere with their ability to be good fathers.
Gifford said she was "surprised" that Lauer's question to Barra was met with backlash.
"If a male CEO were to come out and say, 'I am very upset I missed my son's prom, and I think my kids will hold me accountable for one job and that is a father?'" Lauer replied. "Yes, we'd ask that question."
Gifford defended Lauer, arguing that he was asking Barra a follow-up question after she had been asked something similar in an earlier interview.
"You said it very, very respectfully," she added.
Watch the segment via NBC: