‘I’m Fighting for Paternity Leave — So Should You’

Supporting men as caregivers is a necessity for gender equality.


5 min read


This story originally appeared on Glassdoor

Earlier this month at Women Deliver, one of the world’s largest conferences on gender equality and women’s rights, I was part of a team that made an announcement. The topic: paternity leave.

To some, that may seem surprising. Why talk about dads at a conference for women? The answer is simple. Supporting men as caregivers is a necessity for gender equality.

In the not too distant past, businesses were built on a Mad Men model. The presumption was that women will stay home and do all the caregiving, while men stay at work. That way of thinking helps explain why the United States still has no national paid maternity leave. The thought process behind it is that the man will make the money, while the woman stays home. (For more on this, see my opening remarks at a U.N. event.)

Unfortunately, the structures that keep those old ways in place, including workplace policies and cultures, still haven’t been rectified.

Today, most businesses have some paid maternity leave, usually covered as disability leave following a birth. But despite some progress in recent years, only 29 percent of U.S. businesses offer paid paternity leave.

And while unlike the United States, virtually all other countries offer some paid maternity leave, fewer than half offer any paid paternity leave.

It gets worse. Even when paternity leave is available, numerous forces prevent men from being able to use it in its entirety.

Related: Companies Offering Generous Paternity Leave & Hiring Now

This brings us to the Women Deliver conference, which took place in Vancouver. Dove Men+Care — a company I partner with on this issue — and Promundo released the State of the World’s Fathers report, packed with data from interviews with more than 11,000 men and women. The findings show just how big a problem this is.

The overwhelming majority (85%) of fathers across seven countries want more time at home to care for their new children. But paternity leave often pays only a fraction of what men make at work — and after welcoming a new child, families are particularly strapped financially. Forty percent of parents say financial barriers are the biggest impediment to paternity leave.

The stigmas against taking it are also powerful. Majorities of women and men say attitudes among colleagues and managers often leave dads feeling unable to take their paternity leave. This is a topic I covered in depth in my book, All In. Men have been fired, demoted or lost job opportunities for taking paternity leave or requesting a flexible schedule.

I explored this in the wake of my own battle for fair parental leave. When my wife was pregnant with our third child, we determined that I’d be needed at home for caregiving after the birth. The policies I was under at CNN, part of Time Warner, allowed any parent 10 paid weeks after having a child — except a biological father who had his baby the old fashioned way.

I challenged this internally. After our daughter was born prematurely in an emergency and work refused me the 10 paid weeks, I took legal action. Ultimately, the company revolutionized its policy, in a win-win for parents and for the company itself.

Businesses benefit from making paternity leave a reality — not just officially in policy, but through a culture of supporting men in taking the leave. It’s proven to attract and retain employees and increase gender equality in an organization. After all, as long as men are prevented from caregiving roles, those responsibilities will fall more on the shoulders of women. They’re pushed to stay home more, while men are pushed to stay at work more, and the sexist cycle continues.

To help paternity leave become a norm at businesses everywhere, Dove Men+Care has partnered with Deloitte, Women Deliver and Promundo to create a Paternity Leave Global Task Force. Its aim is “to identify and promote solutions that will result in improved access and uptake of paternity leave for all men.”

Announcing this plan at the conference, Women Deliver President and CEO Katja Iversen called the effort a “no brainer.” Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever (Dove Men+Care’s parent company) said the commitment to paternity leave is so important because “everybody wins — moms win, dads win and the kids win.”

It’s time to put the Mad Men era behind us once and for all. For that to happen, businesses must embrace modern fatherhood. Today’s dads are as committed to caregiving as moms are. Let’s make sure they get a chance to be there, from day one.

By 


Source

more recommended stories

  • Use This Green Beret Method to Find Out if Someone Is Trustworthy

    Thinking about a new partnership? Check.

  • 9 Airbnb Rental Tax Deductions You Can Take for Your Vacation Properties

    Maximize your short-term rental tax savings.

  • The Unheard Voices of the Cannabis Social Equity Movement

    It’s fallen to the legal cannabis.

  • How to Make Money in the Freight Brokering Business

    One expert’s insights into taking advantage.

  • Jay-Z Gets Into the Pot Game (60-Second Video)

    Your weekly rundown of the biggest.

  • 3 Female Leaders Share Their Secrets for Starting and Growing a Business

    These lessons are a reminder that.

  • 6 Easy Steps to Making Connections That Make Money and Create Happiness

    Transform your career and make money.

  • This Female Founder Fought to Stay in the Game And She Just Raised $3 Million in Funding from Serena Williams, Mark Cuban and Arlan Hamilton

    July 15, 2019 5 min read.

  • Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals

    Attend this free webinar and learn.

  • How Digital Marketing Changed the 2016 Presidential Race and Will Change 2020’s.

    As an entrepreneur, there are certain.

  • NFL’s Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims Talk Cannabis: It’s ‘A God-Given Gift’

    Two battered former players who never.

  • 3 Ways AI Can Help Businesses Improve Customer Relations

    The power of AI can lead.

  • 4 Essentials for Complying With the New Data Privacy Regulations

    Consumers need reassurance and protection from.

  • Why This Entrepreneur Says to Check Your Ego at the Door

    July 13, 2019 1 min read.

  • CNBC’s Tim Seymour Talks About Cannabis M&A, Private Vs. Public Markets

    Cannabis is good investment, unless you.

  • 3 Areas Where Enterprise-Focused Startups Are Poised to Make an Economic Impact

    How do you improve efficiency by.

  • What Really Causes Depression?

    Here’s what every entrepreneur needs to.

  • The Unexpected Philosophy That Led Me to My Biggest Closed Deals Ever

    Forget the conventional sales wisdom; if.

  • How This Founder Overcame Challenges He Never Saw Coming

    This entrepreneur and Yale dropout hoped.

  • How to Make Promising Opportunities Come to You

    Grow your business and personal passion.

  • Sacrifice Your Way to Your Dream Job in Sports

    This former mailroom worker talks about.

  • Jay-Z Gets Into the Pot Game

    The legendary rapper/entrepreneur got 99 problems.

  • Fitness Professional Jay Dang on Why Confidence Is the Key to Success

    You have to earn it. July.

  • WarnerMedia’s HBO Max Launches in 2020, and It’s Bringing ‘Friends’

    The streaming service will come loaded.

  • 6 Quotes on Business and Life From Billionaire and 2-Time Presidential Candidate Ross Perot

    The philanthropist died on Tuesday at.

  • Work-Life Balance Is Essential for Entrepreneurs

    If your life is out of.

  • How This Entrepreneur Built a Million-Dollar Business by Focusing on These 3 Strategies

    July 8, 2019 3 min read.

  • USA! Americans Spent $400M on Cannabis for Fourth of July

    Legal marijuana is not yet as.

  • What If Renting an Apartment Were as Easy as Booking an Airbnb?

    AI startup Block wants to make.

  • Back Up Your Whole Team’s Work With Cloud Storage

    Zoolz Cloud Backup has enough space.

  • Taylor Stitch Makes Us Rethink Our Wardrobe

    Most clothes end up in the.

  • The Right (and Wrong) Times to Sell Your Long-Held Stock

    If you’re looking to sell, do.