Yesterday Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet, wrote an article for the Financial Times about how companies could do more to encourage men to take paternity leave.
Some of the reader comments at the bottom of the article really made my blood boil.
Many were along the lines of women being born to do childcare and men being born to provide. Some implied that men were unfit to do childcare, or shouldn’t have to. One even suggested that most childcarers are women because they are pre-programmed to choose partners that are superior to them, and that men’s dedication to work is what makes them attractive as a mate.
Needless to say, I don’t believe any of this.
I drafted my own comment in response, but it turns out you need to pay money to comment on FT articles. So I’ve posted it here instead. Continue reading
All about shared parental leave: how you can take it, why it’s important, and what the future holds
For simplicity this guide is written from the point of view of a dad who is living with their child’s mother. Shared parental leave is also available to mums, same-sex couples, adopters and step-parents. For complete details see the government’s official guide at https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview.
Dads get to spend two weeks with their new baby before they have to go back to work, right?
Not any longer! Since April 2015 many dads in the UK have had the ability to take up to 50 weeks off work to look after a new baby.
It’s called shared parental leave, and in my opinion it’s a hugely positive move toward a modern and equal parenting culture, leaving behind the stone-age family model where women must do the childcare and housework and men must provide for the family.
Take up so far has been poor though – around 0.5% to 2% of those eligible according to one survey – and the change has not been without its critics.
In the hope of encouraging more men to take it, this is my guide to shared parental leave: what it is, why we need it, its strengths and drawbacks, and my hopes for the future. Continue reading
Earlier this year my employer, a management consultancy, updated its maternity and paternity leave benefits to pay mums and dads equally for childcare leave. For me and my wife, not long after the birth of our second child, the decision that I and not her would take the bulk of the leave available to us didn’t need much thought: we would be better off financially, my wife was eager to get back to work, and I felt as though I hadn’t really had a chance to get to know the baby. Surely any man in those circumstances would feel the same? Continue reading