Paternity pay promises passionate parenting
Every day, thousands of new lives are introduced to the world. Innocent, careless and clueless youngsters are about to be brought up into the ways of living. But that new born baby smell comes at a price. Should men, like women, get paid a year paternity leave?
Now, I know most mothers are thinking, “THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING A CHILD!” and in a sense, yes you’re correct. Men don’t have to suffer 9 months of constant cravings for anything remotely edible or random pains coming from inside you as if the life from within your womb is making sure that you don’t forget about them. And worse of all, those agonising hours that still make all mothers toss and turn in their beds at night. That’s right, the hours that you’re in labour for. All your muscles turn against you and the nearly new born is punching your insides, making you screech in pain. But then the time comes when you finally have to deliver, and you realise your whole life has been depending on this. You’re about to repopulate and give something back to the world. The partner however, stands there and works as a stress ball allowing the, now what seems like the Incredible Hulk, to clutch onto their hand, cutting all circulation off.
But surely men are just that, women’s’ stress balls. So, that must mean that they should accompany the women for the year that she has off to raise their baby, before the mother pulls out all her hair over the hard work and attention that an infant requires.
I am 15 years old, and I’m not looking to have a child anytime soon, but by the sounds of it my sisters and I were hell to deal with when being brought up. My mum does like to, on occasions, tell me what I was like when I was younger, which I find extremely interesting as it makes me acknowledge why parents would agree to mum and dads both taking a year off.
Using a survey, I asked over 20 mothers whether or not men should be allowed to be paid for 1 year paternity, the results were quite remarkable, 85% of women agreed that men should be paid for a year, and a mammoth amount of these mothers said that it would be ideal for men to help out for the first year.
Daily, the newspapers scream headlines about equality, shouting that one gender is more superior that the other. This makes me feel stronger than ever that men should have a year paternity off as they are also becoming a parent and are new to the nappy changing life style.
Not only that, but, I’m sure fathers will agree, the first year of a baby’s life is crucial. Imagine a father missing out on unforgettable milestones, like a baby’s first walk, or their first words, which are difficult to make out but you still pretend that their first word are as clear as day. What about when the baby finally discovers how to unlock the baby gate, leaving the mother under threat. Who knows what these babies are capable of? But with a man there, there’s twice as many eyes to keep watch on the little monster.
I strongly believe that fathers and mothers should be allowed 1 year off to support their new born. Now, take what you will from this and hopefully you can see why I believe that mean should have one year paternity.
Katie Short, 11L.
Paternity pay: the birth of equality?
Since the dawn of time, women have been seen as one thing: baby makers. And even in our modern society, many people (mainly men) still hold this viewpoint; that a woman’s worth only lies in her ability to have children and look after a household, and unfortunately those pre historic ideals have managed to permeate every inch of our society, from washing powder to wage gaps; meaning that women find it hard to flourish socially, physically and financially in a male dominated world.
Now, the thing that seems the most ridiculous is that even when women are fulfilling the alleged biological obligation of motherhood, they are put at a disadvantage. Often, women in heterosexual couples who earn more than their husbands have to face the reality that if they fall pregnant, they will be tasked with staying at home and looking after their offspring- when they could be working and earning more than they could on maternity pay. This reality was something my own mother had to face. A professional woman, and main bread winner of my family, working in a predominantly male job as an investment banker, forced to take a year’s maternity leave when she could have been furthering herself in her work after my (obviously) very significant birth. Also, coming back to work was hard for my mother, as adjusting to the business-like atmosphere of the city was difficult, understandably, seeing as she would have gotten used to a small, screaming devil child who would guzzle milk (and any other food available) and fall asleep at the most inopportune moments. Yes, a few months of maternity leave is vital, as a mother needs time to bond with her child and give them the best start to life, but after that- the woman’s partner could take over the latter part of the childrearing. In my case, my father could have taken over as my main source of entertainment, food and walks around the Hackney Marshes. And similar situations have probably been experienced with countless couples, though I doubt their children would be as taxing as I was (a trait that seems to have followed me in to my adolescent life).
You see, paternity pay is not just about allowing mothers to make a speedy return to work, and while that is a large part of it… I feel that there is a bigger issue, one that has perhaps hindered paternity leave becoming a reality. There are negative connotations attached to the idea of a man raising a child: because he is doing something thought of as a female’s job, the man is emasculated and cause for social rejection. Well, as a feminist (a dirty word it seems in today’s society) I am of the opinion that it is about time we challenged and redefined some of the gender roles placed upon our society. Men will finally be able to take a larger role in their child’s development, and embrace their parental roles. Women too would be able to make their way in a world that is predominantly lead by men, instead of held back by pregnancy. But I hear the cries of Daily Mail Readers and Americans the world over! “A man raising a child is unnatural! It’s not the way it should be!” Well, women have the arduous job of pregnancy, birth, and the raising of their children, and some men think that it is perfectly right to go to work and leave their wives and partners to care for their children, not aiding them in any physical way. Men seem to underestimate the stress and difficulty that comes with giving birth. Women are not machines… They need breaks too.
The installation of paternity leave would be a large step in the equality of the sexes, and a world where men, women and gender variant individuals are seen as equal, not just in maternity and paternity rights, but in all facets of society, is a world that will be more balanced, peaceful and enjoyable to live in. You and I are still being held back by gender roles, and while paternity leave will not change it all, it is a small step in the right direction.