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October 21, 2009


Ruth Thomas

Yes, parental leave is strongly weighted towards mums. But there is a real, biological reason for that: mothers breastfeed, fathers don't. OK not all mothers do, but national policies can't really ask individuals whether or not they are doing so! The government is keen to encourage breastfeeding for some very practical reasons of infant and maternal health, and cutting back on maternity leave rights (even for the excellent purpose of giving some of those rights to fathers) would be the quickest way of cutting back on the amount of breastfeeding that happens. It's one of those few areas where strict gender equality simply can't happen.


Interesting that you've read this as a call to cut back on maternity leave in a way that would jeopardise breast-feeding. I'd thought it was more about making paternity leave more accessible and more acceptable for those men who want to be more involved in the care of their children.

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