Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

 Subscribe in a reader

Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Equality Blog

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unintended Consequences of Inequality

In April 2007, Britain extended its maternity leave benefit to a full year for mothers. Supporters were thrilled to see such a giant step in the direction of supporting families and their ability to spend time with their children. However, the BBC News reported yesterday that there may have been some unintended consequences of this legislation. It appears that "some employers were thinking twice about offering women (of childbearing ages) jobs or promotion(s)."

I'm sure it's already illegal in Britain to discriminate against women who are of childbearing age so it's not likely a new law will be used to solve this problem. Instead, a possible solution could be to turn the maternity leave into a parental leave policy. Even this move is not a quick fix because women would probably continue to take the majority of the leave, primarily due to cultural expectations. But what if the leave could be made a "use it or lose it" benefit for each parent. Six months paid time off for mom followed by six months paid time off for dad. Either parent can opt out of the benefit for any reason.

I realize there are other factors to consider here, such as how this idea might be modified for single parents, mental or physical illness or divorce, but I firmly believe that policies should be gender neutral if we, as a society, are going to break down the cultural barriers that reinforce inequality. And, as in this example, harm women.

Hat tip to Rachel, a generous reader in Estonia, for sending us this news story!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger

  Home · What is Equally Shared Parenting? · How It Works · ESP The Book · Equality Blog · In the News · Toolbox · Real Life Stories · Contact Marc and Amy · Resources
All Contents ©2006-2010 Marc and Amy Vachon