2 weeks of birthleave for fathers

by Ingrid Robeyns on January 3, 2008

When last September “Ronald Plasterk”:http://www.minocw.nl/ministerplasterk/index.html, the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science, who also holds emancipation in his portfolio, “released his Policy Paper on Emancipation”:http://www.minocw.nl/ministerplasterk/nieuws/35434/Meer-kansen-voor-vrouwen.html, he was criticized for not mentioning men at all. Basically his view is that women should be encouraged to perform more paid work so that they can be ‘financially independent’, and the government should provide the conditions for making this possible, for example by expanding the supply of formal child care facilities. I agree with the critics that what is missing is a vision of what fathers need to be offered, both as a matter of justice for fathers, but also as a precondition for women’s emancipation. So I would like to suggest to Mr. Plasterk, as a first and minimal step towards the inclusion of men in his emancipation policies, that he introduces the right for fathers of a minimum of 2 weeks of fully paid birthleave (and, of course, also for co-mothers in the case of lesbian parents).
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