Longer Maternity Leave for Moms at Companies Like Yahoo Raises Questions About Equality for Dads - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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From CNN

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Nine months after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gave birth, she is extending Yahoo's parental leave policy.
 
Both new mothers and fathers at Yahoo can now take eight weeks of paid parental leave, and the mothers can take an additional eight weeks. What's more, new parents will also receive $500 to buy items like groceries and baby clothes.

 

From Dice

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Following the backlash from its recent telecommuting ban, Yahoo has doubled its paid maternity leave for new mothers from eight to 16 weeks. But new fathers didn’t fare as well — they’ll continue to have only eight weeks’ leave under the new policy.

Yahoo’s approach is just the latest example of fatherhood getting the short-shrift in family leave, which is echoed across a number of companies and industries. But in the technology industry, which is largely male, this discrepancy is magnified.

 

What do you think? Is it an injustice to fathers to give them less leave? 

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#2 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Of course this is an injustice to fathers. Why would a woman get double the leave? 

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#3 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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Honestly it makes perfect sense bc that is still very important time for a nursing/lactating woman to establish her supply. Dad love their kiddos as much as mothers, of course, but biologically speaking can't do all that a mother can in regards to nourish their offspring. People have to be able to wrap their heads around this. All things are not created equal.
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#4 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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Yes, it is discrimination on the basis of sex. Inherently unjust. 

 

Whether the child is breastfed is not a useful criteria for determining whether a parent is entitled to leave. If it were, then any mother who decides to formula feed - for whatever reasons including medical - would not be entitled to the same leave as another. That's ridiculous and also obviously unjust. 

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Of course this is an injustice to fathers. Why would a woman get double the leave? 

Because she is the one recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.

Because she is (hopefully) breastfeeding, and may need the time to establish breastfeeding and get comfortable with pumping.

Because the mother generally handles the bulk of childcare.


Why should the fathers get more leave?
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Of course this is an injustice to fathers. Why would a woman get double the leave? 

Because she is the one recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.

Because she is (hopefully) breastfeeding, and may need the time to establish breastfeeding and get comfortable with pumping.

Because the mother generally handles the bulk of childcare.


Why should the fathers get more leave?

 

 

Maybe the mother generally handles the bulk of the childcare because our society persists in creating and maintaining obstacles for fathers to participate in parenting. Obstacles like discriminatory attitudes and discriminatory leave policies.  

 

Why should the fathers not get more leave? I have yet to read a good explanation. Fathers can and do care for newborns under all sorts of circumstances. 

 

The parents - mother and father or mother and mother or father and father or however the family is created - ought to decide on how they will share their parenting, not a corporation and not the government. The only way to allow free and fair choice is to provide the same access to benefits such as PARENTAL leave. 

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#7 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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Not everyone's family is the same and not everyone breastfeeds. There are single fathers, sometimes women make more money, women own businesses, etc. Men are only entitled to half the time women are because they don't have breasts?
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Because she is the one recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.

Because she is (hopefully) breastfeeding, and may need the time to establish breastfeeding and get comfortable with pumping.

Because the mother generally handles the bulk of childcare.


Why should the fathers get more leave?

 

They shouldn't get more leave, they should get the same as women. 

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#9 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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When I asked why should fathers get more leave, I did not mean more than the mothers. I meant more than the 8 weeks being offered.

And, as I said, not just because of breastfeeding. Mothers are recovering physically from pregnancy and childbirth. For that reason alone women should get more parental leave than men! When a man goes through pregnancy and childbirth, THEN he's entitled to the same amount of leave! If my husband has a heart attack, and is on leave, recovering, I do not get leave. Why would I?

Fair is not same. The leaves should be fair. That does not mean they should be the same duration.

Companies cannot offer huge amounts of paid leave to both men and women, and stay in business. I think 8 weeks, 2 months, is great for dads. Realistically, pushing for more is likely to result in a cut in leave for both genders. Sorry, but the payoff for the men is lack of morning sickness, lack of swollen feet, lack of GD, etc. They'll just have to 'make do' with the benefits they already get, in my opinion.


I think the paternal leave is great! My husband took two weeks off when our son was born, and it was helpful.
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#10 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 12:44 PM
 
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When I asked why should fathers get more leave, I did not mean more than the mothers. I meant more than the 8 weeks being offered.

And, as I said, not just because of breastfeeding. Mothers are recovering physically from pregnancy and childbirth. For that reason alone women should get more parental leave than men! When a man goes through pregnancy and childbirth, THEN he's entitled to the same amount of leave! If my husband has a heart attack, and is on leave, recovering, I do not get leave. Why would I?

Fair is not same. The leaves should be fair. That does not mean they should be the same duration.

Companies cannot offer huge amounts of paid leave to both men and women, and stay in business. I think 8 weeks, 2 months, is great for dads. Realistically, pushing for more is likely to result in a cut in leave for both genders. Sorry, but the payoff for the men is lack of morning sickness, lack of swollen feet, lack of GD, etc. They'll just have to 'make do' with the benefits they already get, in my opinion.


I think the paternal leave is great! My husband took two weeks off when our son was born, and it was helpful.

 

 

Allowing fathers the same amount of leave doesn't mean that birth mothers get less time than they need for recovery.Your argument isn't logical. Extending equal benefits to both doesn't somehow interfere with a mother's recovery. She can take the leave if she wants or needs it. No one is saying that she cannot. It would be between her and the father to decide who will take leave and how much. Equal access to benefits will allow families the flexibility they need in all sorts of individual circumstances to care for their child and establish and strengthen their new relationships. 

 

I'm curious whether you think adoptive parents are entitled to parental leave after a child enters their family. After all, neither parent goes through labour and delivery in an adoption. 

 

BTW, in many countries, parents are entitled to much longer family leaves than 8 weeks and the businesses flourish, as do their societies in general. 8 weeks or 16 weeks, either way, is a pathetic length of time for parental leave. 

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#11 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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If women are expecting a reward of 8 extra weeks of paid vacation just because their pregnancy sucked (and I had the pregnancy from hell!), I would remind them that no one asked them to get pregnant. Why does a child get relegated to daycare 8 weeks early because his father took parental leave? What if it's two men who adopt a baby and they never had the choice to begin with of sending the woman on parental leave? What if a woman adopts? Does she only get 8 weeks if her ankles didn't swell up? Is she then not entitled to stay home for the extra 8 weeks and breastfeed because she didn't have morning sickness? Getting pregnant and having a child isn't some kind of added benefit to the company that someone should expect a reward for. It isn't like we're providing a service to people around us that our coworker's should be grateful to us for. 

 

The CEO of Yahoo made $36.6 million last year... I don't think matching parental leaves for men is going to put them out of business.

Having said that, I work for a much much much smaller company and I got 60 weeks of paid mat leave... larger companies in the US should be ashamed of themselves for not offering vacations or parental leaves for their employees while their CEOs make millions. 

 

Offering men the same parental leave that women get isn't going to take away from women's mat leave, it's going to make the company think twice about hiring women because they have to give them twice as much time off as a man gets... so as usual, we'll have to work twice as hard for half the pay because we want special entitlements because pregnancy is hard. I guess at least we don't have it as bad as women who can't have/don't want kids? 

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#12 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 01:46 PM
 
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I am all for having parental leave that applies to any parent, and I think it should be a minimum of 16 weeks.

 

Where I work, there is no parental leave at all. You just use your sick time and vacation until it's gone. If that's not enough time, you can do FMLA, but that means no pay & no benefits. So in that way it's "fair" to everyone...whether you're female or male, a parent or not, you get the same leave policy. In practice, of course, it's brutal for many working parents.

 

At least, it was for me. I had only been on the job for 3 months when I got pregnant, so I did not have a lot of sick time banked up. My whole pregnancy, I tried to use as little leave time as possible, and I worked until the day my labor began. I am sure that exhaustion from working full-time was a huge factor in how difficult and long my labor was. I was able to scrape together 8 weeks of leave time, but of course I used up almost the whole first week in the hospital (2 whole days for the labor alone!). I was able to stretch it out a bit by dropping to 50% time for the month I returned to work, which allowed me to "ease" in (at half pay, of course). I was having major breastfeeding issues, and the doctor helping me offered to recommend me for FMLA, but I told her I'd have no pay and no health insurance, that made using FMLA impossible for me.

 

If we're going to be "fair" by offering everyone the same leave, regardless of their circumstances, then that leave should be very, very generous.

 

That's my 2 cents.


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#13 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 03:26 PM
 
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The amount of leave is not bought by a difficult pregnancy or birth. Those *are* physical things, however, and the woman *may* need the additional time to recover.

No, adoptive parents would only be entitled to 8 weeks, by my argument, since there is no physical recovery. Could the family use more time? Perhaps. Would it be nice if they could have the time? Perhaps. Is it going to happen? Not in a huge move. Maybe, in baby steps, we'll get there, someday. In the meantime, being positive and encouraging about *is* given would encourage companies to consider giving a bit more.

As to the other comments. What is illogical about discussing physical recovery, be it childbirth or heart attack? It is illogical to think that everyone is entitled to the same thing. When I had my son, I got only 6 weeks paid leave. I arranged for unpaid leave, in addition to the six weeks. My husband was a consultant, so he didn't get paid for the two weeks he took, either. We had to plan for that time off without pay. That's life.

I am amazed by the sense of entitlement. There are places where women don't get paid leave at all, nevermind the men. It's not the same all over the world. It's this attitude that men are supposed to get what the women get that really surprises me. When women get paid the same as men for the same work, then I'll worry about women and men getting identical parental leave benefits. But that's not really happening, yet. It might be better than it was twenty years ago, but there's still areas where women struggle.
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#14 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 03:32 PM
 
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60 weeks -- that's 15 months! More than a year! Where do you work? Lots of women will be wanting to work there!
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#15 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 03:39 PM
 
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A mother struggling with breastfeeding issues should be able to get additional leave. Unlike a bottle, which alternative caregivers can give, breastfeeding issues such as latch problems or low supply need the specific person, the mother, to work on the problem. Dad cannot do it for her! Complications from delivery may require her to take additional leave. Dad cannot heal for her!
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#16 of 62 Old 05-03-2013, 03:52 PM
 
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Why would the child be getting sent to daycare 8 weeks early because the *dad* took paid leave? That argument doesn't make sense to me. You'll have to explain what you mean by that.

Mothers and fathers rarely work for the same company. Indeed, there are some companies that forbid marrying a fellow employee. My sister and her husband were fired for violating that rule, as soon as higher ups discovered it. So what difference does it really make if the men and women are getting identical parental leave? The wife of Yahoo dad may be working for Xco, and get only 6 weeks, so dad gets 2 more weeks than mom. Is *that* 'fair'? No. That's life.
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Wow, you guys have a lot of rules for things that don't matter and none for things that do. Here a husband and wife, husband and husband, wife and wife could work in the same company... no one says anything, in fact, I'm pretty sure it would be discrimination if someone was excluded from a job because of their spouse. It just doesn't look good if one works directly under the other. 

Also the 60 weeks paid maternity is not at all weird here. By law we get 52 weeks and our vacation continues to accrue, so because I happened to have my son in April, I was able to go from Jan to April without using any of my 4 weeks vacation and 4 more accrued during my 52 weeks and I have to use them up immediately after my statutory mat leave. The only thing out of the ordinary I got were a ton of sick days I had banked which they made me use before I went on mat leave so if you add those up, it ended up being almost 16 months.

Almost all (if not all) developed countries have at least 12 weeks legislated paid mat leave and vacation days. It's ridiculous to hear anyone talking about 8 weeks as if it were a privilege. I'm not saying that to put anyone down, but ladies in the US need to do something about that... you're getting screwed... and before anyone starts talking about bankrupting the government or businesses, it has nothing to do with them so small businesses couldn't care less if they hire a pregnant lady, it won't cost them any more to employ them. Our mat leave is paid by employee-funded employment insurance. When a baby is born or adopted, a man or a woman is entitled. They can even split the time and both be off for half a year each either at the same time or one after the other. 

I guess since a husband and wife evidently can't be employed by the same company, the point about which one goes on mat leave is moot, but it still remains a disadvantage to women when trying to get hired simply because the company will realize if she gets pregnant, they'll have to give her twice as much vacation time as a man. 

So if a man and a woman don't have to be treated fairly at a company, how about two employees performing exactly the same job, exactly the same pay and have a baby at exactly the same time. Employee A gets 16 weeks because their ankles swelled but employee B only gets 8 because theirs didn't? I bet employees C & D will get tired of a bunch of employee A's around because they have to do their job twice as long. 

You don't have to understand my point if you don't want to but there are at least 42 countries outside of the US that do. 

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#18 of 62 Old 05-04-2013, 06:18 AM
 
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Are you saying the US is NOT a developed country? Have you polled people in those 42 other countries?

No one said a woman gets an extra 8 weeks just because her ankles swelled! You are twisting my words. It makes sense that a person who went through something that requires healing would get more time off than someone who being granted time to bond. If you don't understand that point, I give up!
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Are you saying the US is NOT a developed country? Have you polled people in those 42 other countries?

No one said a woman gets an extra 8 weeks just because her ankles swelled! You are twisting my words. It makes sense that a person who went through something that requires healing would get more time off than someone who being granted time to bond. If you don't understand that point, I give up!
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From Wikipedia on parental leave policies around the world: 

 

Only four countries have no national law mandating paid time off for new parents: Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and the United States. 

 

Here is a Huffington Post article about best and worst leave policies around the world. Guess where the U.S. is in the rankings? 

 

The U.S. falls far short of other countries when it comes to supporting and nurturing new families. It can do so, so much better. Why aim to be the lowest, or even the middle of the pack? The nonsense about "too costly" to businesses and a drag on the economy cannot be believed. Many countries with generous paid parental leave policies have stronger economies than the U.S. right now. Their businesses are doing well. Their children are performing better on health surveys, international education achievement tests, and have lower crime rates. 

 

The  U.S. has always been an innovative, "can-do" nation. A world leader. A superpower. I don't believe that it cannot manage to do what so many other countries have done. 

 

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#21 of 62 Old 05-04-2013, 07:48 AM
 
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Are you saying the US is NOT a developed country? Have you polled people in those 42 other countries?

No one said a woman gets an extra 8 weeks just because her ankles swelled! You are twisting my words. It makes sense that a person who went through something that requires healing would get more time off than someone who being granted time to bond. If you don't understand that point, I give up!

 

Everyone knows the US is on the list of developed countries... that's not even an argument. 

 

I still don't get why a woman deserves an extra 8 week period in addition to the 8 week period she allegedly required to recover... was she not being a mother while she was recovering? I had a c-section and it didn't even take me 8 weeks to recover. By 8 weeks I couldn't even tell anything happened to me... I was also at home by myself with my son after two days. 

 

Women are tanks, we don't need an extra 8 weeks if the argument is that we deserve it because pregnancy is rough... we shouldn't feel entitled to special treatment because of it. Just because we went through hell, doesn't make men any less important as parents. To be honest, if I had the choice of being pregnant or watching someone be pregnant, I'd pick being pregnant. I hated my pregnancy and couldn't wait until it was over, but having to watch someone go through that and being expected to be supportive and empathetic is probably more emotionally taxing, so we can't exactly pretend that men get off scott-free. 

 

I won't lie, I'm a mom too, if someone wants to give me special benefits, I'll take anything I can get, but I wouldn't feel right about it that someone else doesn't get the same benefits just because of their gender.

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My 2 cents:

 

Have a parental leave policy - have it run by the government (as I think most are?)

 

Let the parents sort out who is going to take the leave, or if they will split it.  We know what works for our families.  

 

I live in a country where the par. leave is around a year (at about 55% of gross pay).

 

While I love that kind of par. leave, I think anything over 6 months is fine.  That would be enough time for most people to firmly establish breastfeeding, you might not even have to pump (and not dealing with a pump does increase the likelihood of BFing success, I suspect).  I doubt it would impair businesses or cause people to reproduce like bunnies - it doesn't in other countries.  


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#23 of 62 Old 05-04-2013, 05:19 PM
 
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IF leave was funded by the government, you might have an argument. I don't have a business employing lots (a vague number) of employees, so I don't know what companies can afford. Good friends own a restaurant, though, and they can't afford to provide health insurance for their employees! So, I think it's feasible that smaller companies couldn't afford to have an employee out for a year. Is everyone else supposed to pick up the work of the one who is out?

When I was out on leave, two employees divided the bulk of my work, and a third helped out. While it worked for three months, I can't imagine them doing that for a whole year! And what if someone in our group went out on leave? It wasn't the kind of work a temp could do on an as-needed basis.

And only 55% of pay. In the US, I think most maternity leaves are at full pay. When you talk about parental leave, I think automatically you mean at full pay. Also, 6 weeks is typical, in my experience. I also heard that Canadian leave is only 48-50 weeks, split between spouses. The way it was phrased sounded like each parent could get a year off.

The argument could be made that new parents don't need a year off.

I watched many women return to work after just 6 weeks, and they were walking zombies! I wanted the extra time, so I made arrangements for additional, unpaid, leave. Companies might be open to unpaid, additional leave, should the mother want it. I think Yahoo's offer is great!

Different countries do things in different ways. Some things are better here, and others are better in other countries. That, too, is life. I don't want to get into an argument about which country is best.
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#24 of 62 Old 05-05-2013, 01:15 PM
 
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And only 55% of pay. In the US, I think most maternity leaves are at full pay. When you talk about parental leave, I think automatically you mean at full pay. Also, 6 weeks is typical, in my experience. I also heard that Canadian leave is only 48-50 weeks, split between spouses. The way it was phrased sounded like each parent could get a year off.

 

Where do you know of in the U.S. that provides full pay on maternity leave? Seriously? I was thrilled when I learned that my current job pays 60% for 4 weeks (and nothing after that), because I had never had a job that had paid ANYTHING for maternity. And I don't work in food service or for small businesses. 


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#25 of 62 Old 05-08-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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Before I go back and read all the replies - those 8 weeks only given to women are almost certainly FMLA, though fully paid.

 

I also work at a high tech company and we get something similar - 8 weeks only for mothers due to FMLA. And then additionally there's parental leave, independently of parent's sex, gender, etc. of X weeks. I was curious to see how my company compared to others in the sector, and this seems to be pretty standard even though it' never truly spelled out it news articles - you mostly see "Company X offers N weeks maternity / parental leave", and then in the small print as you read along it will say that only a certain number of those are avilable to fathers or whatever.

 

ETA:

 

Don't assume the 8 weeks of parental leave are fully paid - they might or might not be, don't know that much about Yahoo, but in my company the X weeks of parental leave are X/3 fully paid, and 2X/3 unpaid. Giving the FMLA time to mothers as fully paid also seems to be a standard in tech companies.

 

I do think that women require recovery time from birth, and that it's a good thing that it's independent of parental leave. Is 8 weeks enough or too much? Honestly, I don't know. But 8 - 14 weeks parental leave (which seems to be normal in high tech companies) is, in my opinion, nowhere near enough. Sure, it's better than nothing, which is what the law in the US gives - but that's not the comparison we should be drawing! We should be looking at other countries with higher percentages of women who return to work, and more household equality.

 

Personally I think somewhere between 6 months and a year and a half would be good, with at least half the time fully paid - and compulsory paternal leave independently of whether the big chunk of time can be divided between the parents.

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#26 of 62 Old 05-08-2013, 04:52 PM
 
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I think it's just Yahoo being cheap, trying to find another way to divide people up, and a general insensitivity to fathers (and to deny that any role they play besides breadwinner is important). 


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#27 of 62 Old 05-09-2013, 05:02 AM
 
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While I do think dads need time off to adjust and get to know their new family, women need the extra time to heal from pregnancy and childbirth and get breastfeeding established. Even if the woman chooses to not breastfeed, she still needs the time to physically recover. Yes, adoptive parents and same sex couples deserve to have some time off but not as much as the woman who just gave birth may need. I'm sorry but it just not the same but that is just my opinion. 

 

When I worked they wanted me doing stuff I wasn't supposed to do, like lifting 40 pound stools so I could mop the floor, and after a while I was given much more work than I had started out with and then more than anyone else was doing. I didn't feel strained from the heavy lifting because I was doing this before I got pregnant but when I hit my second trimester I did begin to feel it in my back.   I never used my pregnancy as an excuse to not be able to work but when I became aware of other people being allowed to leave and it was requested of me to clean their appointed stations more and more frequently I felt like I was being pushed into quitting. My husband was concerned for the baby's and my health and when I was around 5 months pregnant he demanded that I not go in anymore. There was also no paid maternity leave and time off was limited to 6 weeks. After I was told to take all the time I needed for prenatal appointments, which wasn't often since I worked from 5 PM and could schedule before that time, I was repeatedly made to feel guilty or burdened even though I had someone to cover me. So whether or not that is how it was supposed to be or not, it happens, and worse happens to other women and we need time to recover, more so than a couple who has just adopted or even dad. 


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#28 of 62 Old 05-09-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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Facts are facts. Mothers are the primary caregivers of babies in our culture. That is OK. Everything doesn't need to be "fair."
 

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#29 of 62 Old 05-09-2013, 10:58 AM
 
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I somehow don't think women would be OK with the whole "everything doesn't need to be fair" thing if we didn't have way more rights than men. 

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#30 of 62 Old 05-09-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

I somehow don't think women would be OK with the whole "everything doesn't need to be fair" thing if we didn't have way more rights than men. 


What rights do women have that men don't have? Please. Enlighten me.
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