This International Women’s Day, Anne Hathaway went to the United Nations to advocate for paid parental leave. Hathaway, who is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the UN, became a parent for the first time last March. Currently, women are entitled to 12 weeks unpaid parental leave, and men are entitled to nothing. Wearing red, she said:
Somehow we and every American parent were expected to be back to normal in under three months without income. I remember thinking to myself, ‘If the practical reality of pregnancy is another mouth to feed in your home and America is a country where most people are living paycheck to paycheck, how does 12 weeks of unpaid leave economically work?’ The truth is for too many people it doesn’t.
Hathaway said she will work to advance policies that attempt to even out the burden for men and women. “The assumption and common practice that women and girls look after the home and the family is a stubborn and very real stereotype that not only discriminates against women, but limits men’s participation and connection within the family and society,” she said. She then asked, “Why do we continue to undervalue fathers and overburden mothers?”
Our current policies also don’t account for same-sex couples with children. “In the modern world, some families have two daddies,” she said. “How exactly does maternity leave serve them?”
She praised those who came before her who created our current policies, companies and states who are already working toward paid parental leave, but acknowledged that there is more to do. “Imagine what the world could look like one generation from now,” she said.
Watch the whole speech above, via the United Nations.
[featured image via screen grab]
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