While most of International Women’s Day was focused on women’s issues, Anne Hathaway was spending her time at the United Nations addressing issues for both men and women and showing how inequality on both sides negatively impacts the other. The main focus of her speech was on paternity leave, something that is pretty non-existent in American society.
She started by pointing out that American women are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave from work once they have a child, but men are entitled to absolutely nothing. However, it wasn’t just the men’s lack of paternity leave that was a problem, but the fact that most women can’t even take the 12 weeks of maternity leave themselves due to the financial burden that causes.
Maternity leave in the United States is unpaid unless an employer offers something special under no obligation. With many families living paycheck to paycheck, it’s quite difficult to take a full 12 week period of time off of work and still keep your head afloat financially. For this reason, many women only take two of their maternity weeks, or some amount of time far less than what they should be taking.
She also pointed out the fact that maternity leave causes issues with new mothers that become overwhelmed by the new stressful obligation while their husbands are at work. We are overburdening mothers while reducing the importance of men in the early life of their children. This stereotype that was designed to benefit women has actually hurt them.
The importance of men in the lives of their children is becoming a prominent issue in the United States with many groups such as The Father’s Rights Movement standing up and asking for gender equality under the law. This involves all aspects of the law, from time off of work down to equal rights in family court. Anne Hathaway did an amazing job putting these issues to light in a way that shows that there are benefits to both men and women when we give equality to both genders.