Actress Anne Hathaway became a mom less than a year ago, but in that time, her whole perspective on parenting and importance of time spent with family has changed dramatically.
As a U.N. goodwill ambassador, Hathaway gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations’ New York headquarters on International Women’s Day about the need for a better parental leave policy in the United States.
She shared how just days after her son was born, she was struck by a startling realization about the maternity leave policy in the United States that grants 12-weeks of unpaid leave to new mothers.
Like so many parents, I wondered how I was going to balance my work with my new role as a parent, and in that moment, I remember that the statistic for the U.S.’s policy on maternity leave flashed through my mind.
American women are currently entitled to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave. American men are entitled to nothing. That information landed differently for me when, one week after my son’s birth I could barely walk, when I was getting to know a human who was completely dependent on my husband and I for everything, when I was dependent on my husband for most things, when we were relearning everything we thought we knew about our family and relationship. It landed differently.
Her speech didn’t just focus on a mother’s need for paid time off following the birth of a child, she also talked about the necessity for fathers to be there for their family, especially in the first days and weeks after the child is born.
The assumption and common practice that women and girls look after the home and the family is a stubborn and very real stereotype that not only discriminates against women but limits men’s participation and connection within the family and society. These limitations have broad-ranging and significant effects, for them and for children. We know this. So why do we continue to undervalue fathers and overburden mothers?
She concluded her speech by calling for everyone to take a stand for parents.
The whole world grows when people like you and me take a stand because we know that beyond the idea of how women and men are different, there is a deeper truth that love is love, and parents are parents.
Watch the speech in its entirety above.