Let Him Come Home
Natali Al Jundy
In thinking about feminism and its connotation in today’s world and society, I’ve often caught myself contemplating just why it is so difficult for men to be able to freely advocate for themselves without being reprimanded, or simply shut down. These thoughts have only been magnified by my own personal experience in witnessing the everyday hardships that my own father has gone through. One particular issue that has always stood out to me is how short a father’s paternity leave is in comparison to the mother.
As a kid, I had been taught to value my dad’s role just as much as my mom’s, no matter the circumstance. And so I was truly shocked when one of the teachers I had been talking to just a few days ago told me that he was awarded 3 days for a paternity leave, while his wife had earned 2 months for hers.
Gender equality is essentially meant to encompass both men and women’s needs and make it so that the perception of both genders is equal in society, not to be misconceived or misrepresented. Moreover, feminism in and of itself relies on the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.
Providing dads with time off work aids parents in evenly distributing childcare duties and subsequently allows the mothers to take more time off and therefore be able to better maintain her health, her child’s health, and her career. In addition, the extended leave periods awarded to women discourages employers from hiring women in the first place, or even promoting them.
Though it is obvious that women go through a great deal throughout their pregnancy and the birth-giving process and thus deserve a significant amount of time to recover and attend to their child’s needs, a vital issue lies in not providing fathers with the same respect is that it gives room for conventional gender norms to grow and therefore negatively impact societal beliefs. These societal gender norms about how women are meant to be the main caregivers of their children is an inaccurate representation of the responsibility that parents are meant to share in raising their child.
The reason for which I am so passionate about this topic is because to this day, I’ve watched my father’s role as a parent be undervalued by our society despite my needing his presence as a child just as much as my mother’s. And if advocating for gender equality is meant to provide men and women with equal rights and opportunities, then why should two capable parents not have the same access to their own child?