Getting away from the cult of motherhood: Why paternity leave is so important — Lotte Bailyn

MIT Sloan Professor Emerita Lotte Bailyn

MIT Sloan Professor Emerita Lotte Bailyn

From WBUR Cognoscenti

Sports radio isn’t a typical venue for impassioned debate on work-family issues and employment policy. But recently when Daniel Murphy took three days off from his job as second baseman for the New York Mets to be with his wife as she delivered their newborn son, it became just that. Two WFAN broadcasters — Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiason — took to the airwaves to rebuke Murphy’s absence.

“Quite frankly, I would have said [to my wife that she should have a] C-section before the season starts,” Esiason said. (For the record: Major League Baseball has had a three-day paternity leave policy since 2011.) Thankfully, all that machismo subsided when fans and athletes came to Murphy’s defense.

“You know, the man had his first child. He’s allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went,” said Terry Collins, the Mets manager.

Bravo to Murphy for exercising his employee right to take paternity leave. Well done to Collins, his boss, for encouraging him to do so. These are welcome developments, particularly in such a male-dominated arena, like sports.

In a country where paid maternity leave is not even part of our national policy, this little debate — and all the bravado that went with it — may seem like merely a distraction from the bigger issue, but paternity leave is incredibly symbolic. Equity for women in the workplace is never going to happen if there aren’t changes in the family structure, and by that I mean fathers who are active participants in the care of their children.

Read the full post at WBUR Cognoscenti. 

Lotte Bailyn is the T. Wilson professor of management, emerita and a professor of organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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