Work and life

The convincing case for more paternity leave

(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The last six to nine months have seen dramatic shifts by both the corporate world and the U.S. military in how employers view maternity leave. In short, employers are putting greater value on it than ever. And that’s great because it ensures new moms have a chance embrace the experience of childbirth without having to worry that doing so will crater their careers. But it’s not enough, argues Belinda Luscombe of TIME magazine. Luscombe argues that men “have it so easy” because their bodies aren’t impacted by childbirth in the ways women’s bodies are, and when they return to work a few days after welcoming a newborn, they get to bask in “dadly glory.” Moreover, she points out, research suggests that becoming a father helps men’s careers, putting them on the fast-track for promotions that eventually get them to the executive suite — a land that’s populated with far too few women. Luscombe argues that the solution to the inequity is not greater maternity leave, but increased paternity leave. She points to a new study of nearly 22,000 companies from 91 countries that shows generous maternity leave policies don’t result in more women reaching the executive level. But companies that have parity in the maternity and paternity leave they offer employees do have more women executives and on corporate boards. “It stands to reason that policies that allow childcare needs to be met but do not place the burden of care explicitly on women increase the chances that women can build the business acumen and professional contacts necessary to qualify for a corporate board,” the report states. And that’s not all. Another recent study took a look at what occurs when men lobby their employers for increased paternity leave. What happens is rather shocking.

Read the full story at TIME.


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