The ideal of equal parenthood lags significantly behind in implementation among fathers in this country, according to Lisa Seelig from ZEIT ONLINE . As is well known, they only take parental leave to a limited extent, with corresponding consequences.

“Men who haven’t taken sole responsibility for several months in the first year of their child’s life will never fully grasp what this boot camp of boredom, sleeplessness, and intellectual under-stimulation truly entails—and they won’t gain practice in handling everything, including the thankless tasks,” says Seelig.

She argues that the commonly heard excuse, “But my wife wanted it that way,” is very convenient for men. However, society should not continue to watch passively for decades while slowly reflecting on this issue. Only a strong political signal that leaves men no choice will accelerate their internal transformation.

Regarding parental leave benefits, the next step is overdue. Measures could include:
– Mandating 4 or 6 months of mandatory leave for fathers. If the father does not take them, the additional entitlement expires. It’s crucial, however, to increase the wage replacement rate for fathers working in low-wage sectors to make these parental leave months financially feasible for them.
– Requiring fathers to take sole responsibility for their child for more than just a brief period. Or, reframing it: Policies should enable fathers to finally enjoy these crucial and enriching months at home.
– Making parental leave for fathers a mandatory career step in companies.

“Because a long break for women after childbirth may lead to greater long-term financial losses for a family than if the man receives less pay for a few months. (…) Parental leave, no matter how long, actually brings no long-term professional disadvantages for men.”

Looking ahead, “Men reflecting on a 70- or 80-year life will realize: The six or eight months of parental leave were indeed just a minor matter. However, a minor matter that can significantly shape the life of a person, especially a child.”


Published by herCAREER, 
Posted on LinkedIn on 18.03.2024