Dads should consider paternity leave as a valid choice


photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Sarah Walwema

There’s no doubt that having a child is an experience that many look forward to. Not only are you passing on your physical traits, but you’re also passing on knowledge and wisdom in an effort to create a better future and a better society. If both parents are equally responsible when it comes to raising contributing members of society, it doesn’t make any sense that  it is only socially acceptable that mothers are the only parents given paid leave when babies are born.

It’s so strange to think that hiring a man over a woman can potentially be seen as a smart business move, seeing as a young woman is likely to start a family and leave for months on end. This social norm leaves women disadvantaged in the workplace when it’s unnecessary. If men are given the same amount of time to spend time with their newborns, the still prominent gender gap is slimmed down significantly. In Sweden, parents have 480 days between them of paid leave. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this time given to dads means stronger bonds with their children and a better allocation of housework. A study by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics cites that women still do the majority of the housework even though women are now the majority of the breadwinners.

Some might say that paternity leave shouldn’t be given, because it would just turn out to be abused by people who don’t want to work for their money. But, just like Medicare, food stamps, and other forms of government assistance, there is always going to be a percentage that abuses the system. However, the abuse isn’t significant enough to forget the benefits of programs like these.

One of the plights of divorced men in the US is getting custody of their children. According to a government census, women get custody 84 percent of the time, mainly because they are consistently seen as the primary caregiver. Paternity leave is one more way for fathers to prove that they can be the primary caregiver in their children’s lives when vying for custody in court.

When it all comes down to it, it’s all about the kids, man. With both parents being given the chance to be the best parents they can be, they give their kid his or her best chance.