Cultural Cliff Notes
a recap of what I've been reading
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This is a roundup of discussions happening in the world today about motherhood. Enjoy!
First up, on Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal taking “a few weeks” of paternity leave.*
*Please note his company offers 20 weeks of paid leave. He also said he would still be available to his executive team during his leave.
First of all, most people in our country receive no form of paid leave after the birth of a child. Only 23% receive these benefits despite the fact that childbirth is one of the most traumatizing experiences a body can go through (yeah, yeah, I know it is “natural” and yet also, you can literally die from it).
Paternity leave is beneficial for fathers and for their marriages. This New York Times article outlines how even taking just a week or two of leave meant men were 26% more likely to stay married. Taking leave increases their bond with their children even nine years later. But men, on average, take only 10 days of leave. This recent article says that “while almost half of men support the idea of paid paternity leave, fewer than 5% take more than two weeks. In 2004, California began a paid family leave program that provides a portion of a new parent’s salary for up to eight weeks…it increased the leave women took by almost five weeks and the leave that men took by two to three days.”
What this means is that the rest of the care in those early days falls on the shoulders of their partners, who tend to be women. This leads to mothers becoming the default parent, in addition to being the one whose work takes a hit (not to mention their paycheck).
When fathers refuse to take the full time offered them, it does a disservice to our attempts to create a more equal workplace. If mothers have to be the ones at home tending to newborns because fathers refuse to be seen as prioritizing care over career, managers will be less likely to hire women in anticipation of this potential motherhood (it is called maternal bias). When we share this kind of caretaking equally among all genders, there can be no motherhood penalty because the expectation and norm is that both parents take time off to care from their children.
Clearly I have a lot of thoughts on this. Future post, perhaps?
“The big thing is having a newly personal appreciation for the fact that this is work,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “It may be time away from a professional role, but it’s very much time on.” - what women have been saying for decades, finally coming out the mouth of a man, as Pete Buttigieg discusses taking 4 weeks of paid leave while serving as a cabinet member. And yes, he got eviscerated by some men for tending to his children.
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