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Male Reluctance to Avail Paternity Leave Leaves Women in the Lurch

by Tanya Thomas on July 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM
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 Male Reluctance to Avail Paternity Leave Leaves Women in the Lurch

According to organisers of an Australian project which aims to analyse men's views on balancing work and family, male executives are usually unwilling to take up flexible hours and paid parental leave, leading to a work culture that is fundamentally unfair to women.

"We think that many men in Australian workplaces quite possibly want something different, but are reticent to adopt practices, such as flexible working hours, that have traditionally been provided to working mothers," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Frances Feenstra, the chairwoman of 100% Project, as saying.

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She added: "This reinforces the differences between the genders and means men are more likely to climb the ladder than women."

Barbara Pocock, the director of the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia, said: "Men tend to be very aware of their vulnerability in the workplace - they mark themselves harshly and in close comparison with others.
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"Those who do take leave are seen as not serious about their work or about the goals of the team. That environment is not hospitable to women who want to have children and need to take leave or go on to more flexible hours to do so."

Only two in every 100 Australian chief executives are women and more than three-quarters of senior corporate leaders agree that males reach senior positions more easily.

Scott Cooper, an IT manager at law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, wants to make full use of the 14 weeks paid parental leave offered by his firm when he becomes a dad for the first time this September.

Cooper, who plans to take up the option of working at home, said: I think the issue for men is sometimes a financial one. If they're going to have to take a cut in pay in order to take leave they're going to be reluctant to do that, especially if the family is relying on their income.

"If there is a scheme in place that allows you to take time off without suffering financially, I think more men would do it."

Source: ANI
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