Updated: Jan 7
I was excited to hear of the news that the Parental laws in Malawi has granted fathers a two-week paid paternity leave for every three years. While I am not impressed with the duration, I believe this is will present an opportunity for better policies and laws which will serve the interests of mothers, fathers as well as the children.
Culturally, it is women who take care of children.They babysit, feed, change diapers, and perform several duties which encompass the taking care of children. Guided by this culture, our laws and policies did not find the need to include a paternity leave for males because males work and provide for the family while the females stay at home to take care of the children. It is good that, now as a country we are forgoing such retrogressive practices and beliefs little by little.
This huge step, comes with it a big statement which acknowledges that , men should be and can be as involved as women when it comes to taking care of children. The Paternal law recognizes men as care givers and cancels the stereotypes which prevented men from being directly involved in offering child care.
Paternity Leave will play a very crucial role in our culture and society for several reasons. One of the most important being that new mothers will be relieved of the burden which comes with new babies. As the new mother is recovering, she needs all the help she can get from everyone surrounding her, including the husband.
We always say that Men rarely have time with their children. Well here is an opportunity for men to bond with their children early in their lives. The bond will be easily created and nurtured.
Men, the husbands will now understand and learn to appreciate what new mothers go through when it comes to taking care of babies. Several chores involved when it comes to the well-being of a baby are often downplayed by males. With the paternal leave in action, men will finally understand and experience that feeding and babysitting babies is not as easy as they think it is. I am saying this after coming across several complaints from males who have openly come forward to talk about how their wives have changed after giving birth, how they are tired all the time. Now they will experience and understand why a mother needs a break.
A quick reminder that the paternity leave is not a vacation opportunity for the men, it should be utilized and valued.
Will the Paternity Leave help create a society of responsible and present fathers? I believe so! Will this help in achieving equality? absolutely!