Sunday, March 12, 2017

Anne Hathaway, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, and Gender Equality

Drawing on her own recent experience, Anne Hathaway gave a passionate speech on the need for paid maternity leave on International Women's Day last week.

As I have previously said many times, having a family and caring for their family is a high priority for many women, and any serious exercise in women's empowerment should throughly address this issue. For her effort, I believe Anne Hathaway deserves a 'feminist Oscar' or 'feminist Grammy Award' if there ever is such a thing. (Or maybe we could start something like that?)

But the thing I was genuinely (pleasantly) surprised by was that Anne actually gets the point that real gender equality and liberation can only come if it includes everyone. In her speech, she pointed out that paid paternity leave is needed just as much, as we need to avoid situations that "undervalue fathers and overburden mothers", as well as situations that leave minorities like gay parents behind. Furthermore, she pointed out that "in order to liberate women, we need to liberate men" too. This really contains a lot more understanding of the real world situation and needs than many self-professed feminists can claim.

Perhaps, one day, every feminist will understand that just supporting policies that allow women to 'do the things that men do', or even to only care about women's (and nobody else's) liberty and equality, will not bring us anywhere close to real empowerment.