I was listening to PM on Radio 4 just now, where they were discussing the Lib Dems’ flexible parental leave policy.
This policy will come into effect in April 2015 (just before the general election) and will mean that mothers can share all but 2 weeks of their maternity leave with the father, including being able to take time off at the same time if they like.
What are the benefits?
The woman on the programme, from some mothers’ campaign group, was particularly ridiculous in what she was saying, and I don’t think that many people would agree with her point of view (an example, in my opinion, of Radio 4 striving too hard to find an opposing view - an example of the balance falacy). She was generally suggesting that women should always be the sole care-giver in the first 9-months of the child’s life - anything else is unhealthy, that men wouldn’t be interested anyway, and that this is just an ill-conceived Lib Dem attempt to try to win votes.
The videos on the BBC News article are much more positive, if a little indifferent. Nick Clegg argues mainly that the policy will give women the flexibility to continue to work if they want to. And I think any step we can take to disadvantage women less in the workplace is fantastic, and reducing the burden of maternity has to be one of the biggest factors in achieving that.
Do men want this?
For this new policy to allow mothers the flexibility to work more, there have to be fathers that want to look after their newborn babies. The policy will mean nothing if men in society aren’t actually interested.
And while I said I don’t think that most people agree with the views of that woman on Radio 4, even the men interviewed in that BBC video seemed pretty apathetic.
I don’t know if I’d take it but it’s nice to have the option
In principle it’s a good idea, yeah
I want this!
So I just need to say, when I have children, (maybe shortly after this policy gets implemented), I will want to take advantage of it.
I am looking forward to having children so much. My children and my family will always trump my work, and I desperately want to be as involved as possible in the development of my children.
I really hope that there are in fact many men like me out there.