Expatica news

Not enough parental leave for men

22 February 2007

A conference in Brussels questions the balance between men’s private and professional lives and shows that efforts to promote equality between men and women have resulted in policies focused on women which may be prejudicial to men.

The European commission has, therefore, called for project proposals studying gender equality from the point of view of men. Apparently studies concerned with family life in Europe tend to embrace and reinforce clichés of men as the breadwinner in households.

A study carried out in Belgium, France, Great Britain and Spain by Brigitte Beauzamy of the CIR shows that even if some efforts have been made to promote parental leave for men, financial compensations are so meagre that most choose to keep working.

What’s more, work and supporting a family financially is strongly related to the idea of masculinity in many men’s minds. And, according to experts, that is strong factor in men refusing to take parental leave with limited financial compensation even when the wife has a well paid job.

Even if the media depicts an improvement in the equity of men and women within the household and a better sharing of household tasks, reality, according to Brigitte Beauzamy’s study, proves that the “working husband” and “housewife” dichotomy dies hard at home but also in the work place.

The study shows that it is harder for a man to get a job with flexible hours or to work from home, and, what’s more, it has been shown that it is harder for men to get a day off to take care of their children.

To address these issues a conference on the balance between men’s private and professional lives is to be held in the “espace 27 septembre” of the French community in Brussels.

[Copyright Expatica 2007]

Subject: Belgian news, EU news