What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Yes, dads would like to stay at home too

As mentioned earlier I'm trying to give my input to the 2009 manifesto for the Party of European Socialists (Danes, it's the English word for 'De Europæiske Socialdemokrater'). Today there's a really interesting topic for debate on the website; namely paternal leave.

As I have said before I am for when it comes to, by law, obliging fathers to take a certain percentage of the leave. Both to overcome the cultural barriers to men taking parental leave (it seems that it's difficult for some employers to understand that men has the right to a role in their children's life) and to ensure that the leave does not become a trap for women. As the PES manifesto website says: "Problems such as women’s lower wages and the fact that women advance less can easily be traced back to maternity leave and being absent from the workplace for many months – in some cases even years..."

In my opinion European legislation makes sense in this area. If there's cultural obstacles to men taking leave in Scandinavia - how is the outlook then for the rest of Europe? If I remember correctly, the Scandinavian countries have the lowest percentage of house wifes in the world. If we are to move forward with gender equality in Europe I certainly think it makes sense to begin here. So, PES Women, the answer to your question from Scratching the Surface is a clear 'yes!'

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