Paid Leave Policies Need To Treat Men Like Women

Fatherhood on Friday: The Fortune 500 is worth $14.2 trillion in revenue, and its paid leave policies need a ton of work. Coincidence?

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In 1965, David Letterman was a geeky undergrad at Ball State University with a neck-beard and a radio show. And parental leave of any type was a wisp of an idea among second-wave feminists who wanted women to stay in the workforce after World War II.

Fifty-five years later, Letterman’s alma mater published a first-ever study of paid leave policies at Fortune 500 companies, which account for more annual sales revenue ($14.2 trillion) than the combined GDPs of Japan, Germany, the UK, and India. Given their hegemony, the examples these companies set have a huge ripple effect on the way businesses treat working families. And though the progress has been considerable, there are some dispiriting facts we need to confront:

  • Of the 500 companies, 147 didn’t provide any details about their paid leave policies. (Really?!? You’ve got that much cash rolling in, and you can’t be bothered?)

That last point might seem harder to Really?!? at, because of the physical toll that childbirth takes on a woman’s body. But that imbalance of treatment, according to study co-author Richard Petts, is a big reason gender inequality persists, and why people still think “moms need to be at home taking care of their kids, while dads can come back to work much more quickly because that’s not their responsibility.”

Moms know this, and they’re very extremely pissed off. Jessica Valenti went so far as to specifically call dads out. We have to admit we were a little put off by the “old-fashioned shaming,” but we also recognize that most of the dads in our community are anecdotal outliers.

So what’s the radical answer? The best way to get people thinking of moms and dads equally is to treat them to paid leave equally. Stop fetishizing work, offer dads equal time to bond with their newborns, and strongly incentivize dads to take it.

Valenti writes that “a woman’s working hours need to be valued in the same way men’s are,” and we agree enthusiastically. But in order for that to happen, a man’s childcare hours need to be valued in the same way women’s are.

We’re going to keep hammering away at this with our friends at New America and PL+US and Third Path and countless others. And if more Fortune 500 companies get on board, we could see lasting change while David Letterman is still an aging vagrant with a hedge-beard and a Netflix show.

SPONSOR NEWS

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We’re having a good time experimenting with our new digital format and finding new innovative ways for Sponsors to activate for attendees and meet the ambassadors they’re looking to recruit. Thanks to these five companies who believe in our power is influencers and our passion as parents.

ON THE PODCAST: Mike Adamick Is a Middle-Aged Undergrad

Author Mike Adamick talks about his early career as a journalist, how his blog jump-started his book-writing career, and his new life as a college kid at Berkeley, studying sociology and gender relations with punks half his age.

Mike writes extensively about his 14 years as a stay-at-home dad. We talk about the fragile male ego, the paradox of finding strength by acknowledging vulnerability, and the allure of being the first Second Gentleman.

IN THE NEWS

Extra screen time might actually benefit boys, who play online games and socialize, more than girls, who get FOMO from scrolling through Instagram.

And more interesting stats about quarantine, like how 66% of private-school kids interact with teachers once a day (31% for public), and 63% are worried about family income.

Two dads in British Columbia are suing for stronger risk-mitigation measures in schools, and they want the court to halt schools from proceeding until they’re in place.

Dads are taking primary roles in their kids’ online education. “I’m home working anyway. That’s the only way I can guarantee that I know my kids are being taken care of and everything’s fine.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter dedicates his new book to his two children. It’s easy to underestimate how extensively your kids can inspire you to do your best work.

“Talk to your children. They have a voice as well. Sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to use it.” When talking about the pandemic, Jarron Webster wants to increase his kids’ agency.

Two great things about watching My Gym Dad are 1) he’s getting a lot better, and 2) he’s not afraid to be hilariously terrible.

When your partner is pregnant, the real magic happens when you start to anticipate the things she needs before she asks for them.

The “Fishing With Dad” event gives young men a sedate, phone-free opportunity to sit with a mentor and have a conversation about life.

PORCHLIGHT POSTS

“The number of people who thought I could easily devote 12 to 14 hours a day to Cristian’s education amazed me. I had to keep reminding them, ‘I HAVE A JOB, DAMN IT!’” Frank Priegue, Remote Learning — Our New Normal

“Then the wings leveled out, and he headed straight for me — engine howling, prop whistling, tank filled with 150 gallons of broad-spectrum insecticidal poison, at 100 miles an hour.” — Gary Wockner, Poison

“‘Why do you ask if you already know the answer?’ ‘I wanted to be sure.’ And she fell off the back of the sofa.” — Mark Fielding, Remote Learning Through Covid Comedy

“I was thinking, I’ve got 30 seconds left with my dad, 20 seconds left, 10 seconds left. What do I do? What do I say? And I just panicked.” — Alistair, as told to Simon Bray, Grief in the Time of Coronavirus

“There’s a line between holding on too tight and and letting them go that I find myself struggling with, a balance that I don’t quite know how to achieve.”- Jeremy Barnes, Holding On Tight

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK

Do you receive the Dad 2.0 Newsletter? You should! In it we share all kinds of information and news about the Dad 2.0 Summit.

Add it to your inbox! It’s the perfect way to start planning for our tenth summit, our first-ever digital event delivered to you October 1–2–3, 2020. Share your fatherhood news and/or stories with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Medium using the #FoF hashtag!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Originally published at https://dad2.com on August 28, 2020.

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Where marketers, media, influencers, experts, and parents discuss and define modern fatherhood.

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