Paid partner leave would help to achieve gender equality

Gender Equal NZ supports claim that paid partner leave would help to achieve gender equality

 In response to: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/357296/paid-partner-leave-would-help-close-gender-pay-gap-expert

Gender Equal NZ led by the National Council of Women wholeheartedly agrees that instigating paid-partner leave after childbirth would be a “concrete step” in addressing the gender pay gap – and achieving gender equality.

Chief Executive Gill Greer says “as well as working to close the gender pay gap, implementing paid parental leave for partners would also help to achieve gender equality – for all New Zealanders – overall, by breaking down traditional gender roles, increasing equality at home and in the work force and properly valuing unpaid labour – specifically the role of parenting.”

Breaking down traditional and often out-dated ideas about gender roles is essential says Gill.  “Our recent Gender Attitudes Survey has shown us that New Zealanders have these strong ideas about what boys and men should be like – harden up and men don’t cry – but men are absolutely capable of empathy, vulnerability and compassion – all of which are skills which help to make great Dads.”

Results from the same survey also show that 85% of New Zealanders think that fathers and mothers should equally share responsibility for raising their children. “So we know New Zealanders are keen to see equality in this space – let’s make it happen.”

“We’d really like to see Dads able to participate in their child’s lives as much as we know they want to” says Gill, “let’s allow them to be part of that early bonding time. For children, it’s so important to understand from the beginning that Dads are parents too – they’re not babysitters.”

With Dads taking up only about 1% of paid parental leave, it’s time to modernise our culture and our legislation around paid parental leave, so that people of all genders can have better economic – and social – outcomes.

As Massey University political science professor Grant Duncan notes, New Zealanders should be looking to the Swedish model of parental leave. Fathers in Sweden claim 27.9% of the total childcare leave, which is significantly more than the 1% we are seeing here. In Sweden’s efforts to achieve gender equality, each parent is entitled to 240 of the 480 days of paid parental leave.

“Sweden has a range of measures which have increased the number of men taking on the primary caregiver role” says Gill, “we should be taking heed.”

“One of the most important things for small children to see is equality at home if we want to role model and achieve a Gender Equal NZ” says Gill.

“This would be an investment in our society, and an investment in equality. Research shows that gender equality more broadly has really great outcomes for all New Zealanders. Aside from the fact that it’s fair, it’s right and it’s just – we would all be better off socially and economically if New Zealand was gender equal. We could boost our GDP by 10% if we actually used the potential of all genders.”

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