The number of women and men graduating every year from universities is currently 50/50. These same
statistics apply to job entry. Both genders are absorbed into the job market yet only 6.4% of CEOs are women at Fortune 500 companies. This disparity is attributed to what many call ” the messy middle” This is a middle management crisis where most women are forced to leave work because of added both at home and at work. But the biggest challenge has to be caregiving which has historically been a female responsibility.
Women face two major issues in our world today. The first is work-life balance and then the second is recruitment bias. Every time a woman of childbearing age and a man walk in before a hiring manager, two things cross his mind. She will be out for a few months and he wouldn’t be able to replace her. Second, she wouldn’t be able to work late or travel as much. This issue makes the hiring process biased
as the manager will look at the cost implications and end up recruiting the man. Is this a conscious or an unconscious bias?
To manage this challenge I believe that organizations should establish a mandatory parental leave
policy for both men and women. There are sufficient data that when it’s made optional men choose not to take it for a variety of reasons with the main one being the fear of losing their job. However, if we pass legislation that makes paid mandatory leave for both sexes would greatly help Level the playing field for men and women at work and home.
Here are some reasons why men equally need to take paternity leave.
It Will Help Minimise The Motherhood Penalty
Many women suffer from discrimination that they will not be willing to put in the extra work. This can be solved by making parental leave mandatory for both genders. It will also go a great deal for men who are sensitized as to why they need it because as it stands many men still don’t make it due to prejudice and stigma associated with paternity leave. Some companies provide six months of parental leave for all parents—with an additional one month return-to-work transition period—that can be used over the
the course of three years, regardless of gender or how they became parents (adoptions, surrogacy, etc.).
The result? 90% of employees who use the benefit are male.
It Will Help Employees of All Levels Take The Time They Need
1 in 4 Kenyan women goes back to work after two weeks of giving birth because they can’t afford to take any more time off. Becoming a parent is a big life adjustment and newborns require constant care, yet the reality for a quarter of our female population is that they can’t take the time they may need or want. Meanwhile, fathers who are lower-income earners are much less likely to take leave as compared to higher-income earners, according to a Ball State University study. Mandated equal parental leave will
benefit us all. When both men and women take parental leave for having a child, it is good for everyone.
That’s because equality isn’t a female issue; it’s a business and economic issue.
It Will Help Transform The Perception That Caregiving Is a Female Responsibility.
If more men can see other men taking parental leave, the more it will become the norm. Paternity leave is especially impactful to the way men bond with their children. Studies have shown that fathers who take at least two weeks of paternity end up taking feeding and diaper duties.
It is great to see that Kenya could join the rest of the world in making paternity leave mandatory. There’s
a doctor who has moved to the labor court to push for three months of paid paternity leave. We hope
this goes through because it will benefit all genders.
The best Leaders have Caregiving quality
Let’s not underestimate the power of caregiver traits, which include being nurturing, passionate, and empathetic. These traits are very vital in making a good leader. It is thus unfortunate that we are losing some of our best Leaders to Caregiving.