One of my friends just posted this article I've seen making the rounds, about Vodafone's new maternity leave policy. A (woman) friend of her's commented something that was basically "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?!?"
I hate to risk sounding insensitive, but shouldn't people plan their pregnancies so that they have continued financial stability? No one is forcing women to have babies, so why should they get special treatment? And what about single dads, or families with two dads? There's no equal treatment for new parents, and I think it would set a complicated precedent.
I, reading this went on what is probably way to long of a rant for a Facebook wall. (TL;DR version: Yes, paternity leave is important, but since we barely have maternity leave some places, get paternity leave recognized is going to be hard. We might have to do it in steps, starting with maternity leave. And, are you really trying to say only the wealthy should have kids? Because it sure sounds like it.)
You do bring up some great points about paternity leave, and it is very important. But, I'm not sure right now is 100% time for that fight (though it should be part of it). Right now the US is so far behind other countries in terms of maternity leave, that convincing companies that paternity leave is also important would be a pretty difficult task. I think it is one of those things that has to be done in steps rather than all at once. First, establish that "good" maternity leave policies are good for employees and the company, then work on convincing them that good paternity leave policies will also have similarly positive effects. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, that doesn't do much good for single fathers and same-sex couples. I'm lucky enough that I work somewhere that FMLA covers, so that both parents can take 12 weeks (though if both parents work for the organization, they only get 12 weeks between them...but then part of the policy says 26, so I'm a little confused). Of course, then there is just fighting the general stigmas from society. I think most people would feel different about a woman taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave vs a father taking off 12 weeks for paternity leave.
I am not sure how I feel about your statement about waiting for financial stability. In part I agree, I hate seeing familes that are struggling to make it that keep having more and more kids. But, then you have to start thinking, what is your threshold for that? And, should only wealthy people have kids? Right now I make enough to pay my bills, put some money into savings, and still have some entertainment money. My boyfriend is in a similar situation. If we were to get married and have a kid, we would be what most people consider "financially stable", though still only one medical emergency, pipe bursting, car transmission going out from financial difficulty. How long should we wait? What is the exact amount of savings we should have before it is "enough". Or, taking it back to discussion about many existing maternity leave policies, what about the fact we have "enough" right now, but wouldn't if I would only be getting 60% of my pay for 3 months, essentially being punished for having a kid (while on the other side, society would be punishing me if I decide not to have a kid. "don't you want kids?", "what are you waiting for?", "you won't know real joy/love until you have kids", "don't you want to give your parents grandkids?", etc)?
Good thing I'm having a boring day at work and was looking for a way to add some excitement, because my inability to keep my mouth shut (fingers shut?) might have just done that..... 95% of the time I try to just skip over the stupid shit people say, but today I'm cranky and just couldn't do it.