Europe is leading in the modernization of parental leave. They allow woman up to 52 weeks of maternity leave with the first 39 weeks paid. Fathers are allowed one to two weeks of paid paternity leave and up to 26 weeks unpaid. The U.S. allows zero weeks of paid parental leave. Prince William will be taking six weeks of paternity leave when his new baby comes. A lot of men are hesitant to take any time off after baby is born for fear of what others may think, however, if we break this view that men shouldn’t stay home then we can make many strides to modern society in the U.S.
If an organization you work for has 50 employees or more the FMLA requires that the employer allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. In Massachusetts, however, they are breaking boundaries by allowing dads who work for businesses with as little as six employees to take up to eight weeks of unpaid paternity leave. Though some are against this law when proposed at a national level, because they think it will hurt small businesses, it helps to make a family stronger. By allowing fathers to stay home for a period of time after the birth of their child companies are allowing the fathers to bond with the baby and forge an even stronger bond with the mother. Families are less stressed when they can take time to collect themselves and settle into their new lifestyle.
Its been almost 20 years since 189 countries met at a U.N. conference in Beijing and decided to move towards gender equality among the world. The United States was not one of those countries. Now we are seeing exactly how gender inequality is affecting our nation. Barbara is expecting her second child and is worried about how she will make ends meet while she is out of work due to her pregnancy. She is a private school teacher and does not make a lot of money as is but now that she will not be able to work she doesn’t know what to do. She will use the 20 paid sick days she has earned but after that she is not sure where the money will come from. Barbara is only one of many cases in the United States that have to deal with an increase in expenses and a decrease in income. And by decrease I mean a total stop in income. Apparently bringing a human being into the world is not worth paid maternity leave in the U.S.
“When women and girls have an opportunity to participate, we can lift up not just ourselves but our families, communities, and even our countries,” Clinton said. “This isn’t just a story about women and girls. It is a universal story about the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren.”
I am extremely excited about this campaign. No Ceilings is a campaign run by Hillary Clinton and supported by many influential women. Clinton is bringing an aspect to politics that never existed so dominantly as it does right now. The issue of gender inequality. I think this will definitely help Hillary in the 2016 elections (if she decides to run…). A woman presidential candidate is a huge deal and I’m hoping that it can become a reality one day. It would be the biggest leap for women equality to hit the United States. Compared to many European countries our gender equality game is not so hot. Even if Clinton does not get elected as president I think it is still substantial that there is a woman finally being considered as the leader of our nation. Baby steps first I guess but I have faith that the U.S. will get there eventually. Maybe one day there will even be two woman candidates rivaling against each other. Now that would be exciting.
I have to admit that I am even guilty of giving in to stereotyping gender roles in the work place. When I used to see a male nurse I would automatically think, “Why did that man want to become a nurse?” I was so used to women being nurses that seeing a man as a nurse made me question them. I did not think it was wrong but I was taught from a young age that women become nurses. This horrible thinking is what is feeding into the inequality of genders. Whether it is a man wanting to be a nurse or a woman wanting to be a firefighter, there should never be a gender associated with a certain occupation. An occupation is not assigned a gender, therefore, we should not assign any gender a job. Keeping an open mind and accepting a person for what they want to do in life is nice way of thinking and in a perfect world it would be a simple notion but we do not live in a simple world. As long as specific jobs are stereotyped to a gender our nation will not grow and if our nation does not grow then our future is rather bleak.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment has been discussed greatly around the world. There are some in the UN who are solely devoted to the cause and have high hopes for 2015. On International Women’s Day, UN senior member Lakshmi Puri was interviewed about the subject and asked to give her take on gender equality around the world. She called the fight for gender equality humanity’s biggest project in this century and I would agree with her. Our world is a place that needs much evaluation and reflection on how we treat each other, for it is a cruel place. There is violence that plagues our planet; violence against women and girls around the world. But, it does not come without it’s moments of light which brighten up the future for a better tomorrow. Puri is working on an agenda to make sure these countries that show abuse toward women not only refrain from violence against women and girls but that they take action to protect women from violence. With a fighting attitude like Puri has the world looks as though it can change, though change is always slow it happens everyday.
“Game of Respect is intended to challenge the perception of gender through play among young children aged three to six. One of its features is a traditional memory game of matching cards, which illustrate men and women in roles which are supposed to challenge gender stereotypes, such as female firefighters and builders and males teaching and doing the ironing.”
I think that this is a great idea. Savino says that the children won’t understand this theme for they are too young but I say that the whole point is to raise children where they don’t see the theme in the first place because it does not exist to them. If we raise kids in a world where gender does not define a person’s occupation or paycheck then maybe the future generations will not even know of gender equality as an issue. Teaching children this lesson at such a young age makes it possible for them to grow up without a certain perception towards any single occupation so that whatever occupation they are drawn to as they grow will be a possibility for them without the hinderance of gender stereotyping or roles.