Kids Safety Network

Anne Hathaway Takes A Stand For Paid Parental Leave

On International Women’s Day, Anne Hathaway spent some time advocating for a cause close to the hearts of most Moms— paid parental leave.

She addressed the United Nations and delivered a passionate speech about the importance of paid leave for both moms AND dads! She argued that it’s sorely needed for both.

Speaking about her own experience as a new mom, Hathaway told the audience about the changes a family goes through when a baby is born. She also explained why those changes should mean a grace period for both parents.

After she gave birth to her son Jonathan last year, she began to grasp how vital that time is. “I remember I experienced a shift in consciousness that gave me the ability to maintain my love of career and also cherish something else, someone else, so much, much more.”

Although she leads a life as a famous actress which is probably a lot different to most Mothers heading back to the office, she explained a real understanding of the implications of parents returning to work too soon, and of NOT being paid for whatever time off they do receive.

“Like so many parents, I wondered how I was going to balance my work with my new role as parent, and, in that moment, I remember that the statistic for the U.S.’s policy for maternity leave flashed through my mind. American women are currently entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. American men are entitled to nothing.”

Some companies offer employees full or partial pay –some longer than 12 weeks, it’s still a reality that none of them have to do so by law. The truth is that most of them still don’t!

Speaking to the United Nations, interestingly the U.S is the only country out of the 41 nations to not offer parents no paid leave.

In a harsh contrast – Estonia offers 87 weeks!

Hathaway spoke candidly about her family’s adjustment to the new baby and how it’s made her see the 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave the U.S offers mothers in a completely new light.

“That information landed differently for me when one week after my son’s birth, I could barely walk. That information landed differently when I was getting to know a human who was completely dependent on my husband and me for everything, when I was dependent on my husband for most things, and when we were relearning everything we thought we knew about our family and our relationship.”

Of course, no amount of parental leave can make those first few weeks with baby any easier, but several weeks at home without having to worry about paying bills would go a long way toward making the transition easier.

Hathaway acknowledges the reality of such transition:

“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.”

Thank you Anne for taking a stand!


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