Before we start granting paternity leave...

Letters to the Editor

Before we start granting paternity leave...

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

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Dear Editor,

On the news Sunday evening, the head of Carreras announced that his company will be offering paternal leave to complement the maternal leave that women benefit from on giving birth.

This move was supported by the leader of the opposition who further clarified that the men would have to demonstrate responsibility under his Government. While I laud these proclamations, I must ask whether these men understand exactly what they are supporting and how they plan to implement it. I suggest that before the new fathers benefit from this leave, they should demonstrate their responsibility by undertaking compulsory classes in home economics/home management offered by their employers on a regular basis at the workplace.

Home economics has traditionally been a subject offered in schools to girls while our boys do more 'manly' subjects like industrial science. Given the state of our country, with increasing violence, absentee fathers, increased incest and domestic violence, this calls for a complete change in our culture.

Home economics/home management should become a compulsory subject for all students in school. They will not only learn cooking but how to manage a home and their families.

There is no point granting fathers paternal leave only for them to sit and watch the mother breastfeeding, lounge around the house all day while mother still has to cook, clean, mind the older children and all the other wifely duties.

My son, who lives in the US, left his bank management job and acts as a house husband and father with two boys and a newborn girl. While his wife breastfeeds in the morning, he gets the boys ready for school, prepares and feeds them breakfast, takes them to school, afterschool activities, doctor, dentist, plays with them, helps with homework and any other duties around the home such as washing clothes and gardening.

His wife has a PhD and he an MBA and they both have a successful home business together which she manages during the day, while at night he does the accounts and relevant papers before going to bed.

Society is moving into a new phase of development that requires gender equality. Home economics/home management is no longer a 'sissy' subject for girls in school, it is a necessity for all.

Patricia Thompson

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