Baby coming after this weekend? How new family leave will affect you

Shared Parental LeaveOne of our Female Breadwinner readers, Lily Donaldson, helped Money.co.uk write a guide on Shared Parental Leave (SPL) after she missed out on the benefits afforded parents having a child after April 5 of this year. In her article she explains: ‘Until now, partners were entitled to two weeks of standard paternity leave, and while additional paternity leave of 26 weeks was also available, only one in 50 used the additional leave. With the introduction of SPL couples will now be able to share 52 weeks of leave between them when they have a baby or adopt.’

This is a boon for female breadwinners in particular as mothers can share their allowance with their partners and return to work more quickly. Before, mums had to wait until 20 weeks after the child was born before passing leave on to her partner. SP Fathers will still be able to take two weeks of paternity leave straight after the child is born that won’t count towards your SPL entitlement. However, additional paternity leave has been replaced by SPL. Let’s watch this space to see if this enables men to actually take more leave…and for employers to understand that families are raised by more than just mothers.

‘Higher expectations for women’, not ‘work/life balance’ as main barrier to female career success

Women in leadership

According to a recent poll of over 1,800 American adults by Pew Research Centre, most Americans now find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men on compassion and organisation. While that’s a sign of progress, what’s most interesting is instead of blaming that old chestnut of ‘work/life balance issues’, the highest proportion nearly 40% point to a double standard for women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business, where they have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves.

Recognition of this double standard is a big shift away from continuing to blame work/life balance and a much needed turning point. It’s perhaps not surprising about two-thirds (65%) of women say their gender faces at least ‘some discrimination’ in society today, compared with 48% of men who believe women face some discrimination. It’s promising that nearly half of men agree. Historically, it’s been convenient to blame women’s reproductive choices for their lack of career progress. This research suggests that if both women and men understand the system is biased, it will enable us to make inroads into this issue.

Women and even ‘feminine-faced’ men assumed to be poor negotiators

women negotiators

Women’s reticence to negotiate is often blamed for part of the gender pay gap, with naysayers claiming ‘you get what you ask for’. Yet more research shows that stereotypes about women who do attempt to negotiate are often a bigger part of the problem. The journal of Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes reported that people of both genders were more likely to want to negotiate against women - and even men who had feminine facial features.

This implies women, and even men with more feminine features, are poor negotiators and therefore more appealing adversaries. The researchers at Cornell University found ‘people were systematically more aggressive to feminine featured faces – they were more demanding and would send in offers that compromised less. The only upside for women? Become a good negotiator and you’ll surprise the other side of the table – who clearly expect less from you.

What ‘Coder Barbie’ should have said

Barbie I can be... booksMattel’s Barbie’s new range of “I can be” books has high hopes; featuring career choices such as presidents or sports players but still falls wide of the mark. We could potentially forgive ‘computer engineer’ Barbie needing help to reboot her computer, a skill she should’ve mastered by now? We’d even turn an eye at the pink heart shaped USB stick hanging round her neck, but when she utters those fatal words: “I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” Needless to say, the twittersphere was hot with ‘suggestions for improvement’.

We love ‘Barbie Remixed’ by Casey Fiesler, which features suggested amendments to the book which has Barbie narrating: “Really good games are made by a team of people. I’m doing some of the coding now, but Stephen and Brian are helping, too. There are lots of pieces to making a game, like art and music and storyline. Brian drew that puppy. You’re a good artist, Skipper. Maybe you could be a graphic designer when you grow up.” Skipper grins.“I love art, but I really love science, too. Physics is my favourite class. I think I want to be a physicist.”

Like all good code, we hope Mattel’s version of their story is an ongoing work in progress.

‘Advice to my daughters: Why young women need feminism more than ever’

Emma Watson UN speechNow I’m working with InclusIQ, I notice more to share with my daughters. The recent Emma Watson speech at the UN certainly was a great springboard for discussion, as it might be for your own children. I tell my three daughters to aim high; with hard work and commitment they can achieve anything. This is true, but sadly it’s not just their attitude and zest for achievement that will affect their path.

Recent research by Girl Guilding shows 87% of female 11-21 year olds feel they are judged more on appearance than ability. Three out of 4 (75%) say sexism affects most areas of their lives. This is disappointing, but all the more reason to support girls who get involved in campaigns such as the Everyday Sexism Project and No More Page 3. Girls are taking a stand and ensuring their future is one they have a say in.

Julie Bentley, Girl Guiding CEO told the BBC, girls: “can do anything that they set their minds to”. They produced a short film and dedicated it to all party leaders, explaining why girls and young women play a vital role in society. They want the support of parliament to ensure a ‘future that truly sees parity between men and women’.

Ellie Dibben, also of Girl Guides explains: ‘People are beginning to understand society isn’t as equal as we thought and young women are no longer content to remain a silent group within society. We are the voters of tomorrow and government needs to take our views into account’.

Girl Guides are taking on a more proactive role calling directly on politicians to:

  • Listen to their concerns about harassment.
  • Requesting schools teach body confidence and gender equality.
  • Address harmful sexualised content in mainstream media.
  • Guarantee women will be equally represented in parliament.

Girl Guides give young women aspirations; with initiatives such as ‘Camp CEO’ which partners them with female executives from a range of sectors. It’s a great way to help girls consider leadership roles.

The best advice for my daughters? Be true to yourself, work hard in all core subjects – and get plenty of exposure to strong women. If they feel inspired into action by Emma Watson’s speech all the better. At the end of the day our children shape our future.

By guest blogger Wendy Rundle

$1 contraceptive shot for world’s poorest women

3rd world countries toWomen in the developing world will now be able to buy the contraceptive device, ‘Sayana Press’, for £1 or receive it free. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund, are extending access to new contraceptive injections for women in 69 of the world’s poorest countries.

The BBC describe ‘Sayana Press’ as simple and pre-packaged so doesn’t rely on preparation by health workers; reducing risk of spillage or dosing errors. The device is single-use so cuts infection due to needle-sharing and works for 3 months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 222m women in developing countries would choose to use contraception but don’t have access. Only 26% African women use contraception, a figure that’s doubled in the past two decades – but remains low for a region where women want safe, affordable and reliable contraceptives.

Kadidia Diallo, a midwife in Burkina Faso, West Africa, the first country to be offered the pilot contraceptive injection spoke to the BBC saying: ‘Normally for injections you have to put them in someone’s bottom, or the top of their leg, but with this – you use the arm. That’s an advantage for women living in the bush. Many women don’t come forward for injections if they have to pull their dresses up – this is more discreet.’

Basic health, prosperity, equality and access to contraceptives are essential to secure a sustainable world. Head of Global Development at the Gates Foundation, Dr Chris Elias, said in The Independent: ‘When women are able to plan their families, they are more likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth, to have healthier newborns and children, and to invest more in their families’ health and wellbeing’.

It’s a sentiment shared by the women demanding contraceptives themselves. Rahimata Tiendrébéogo, who is 18 and from Burkina Faso, wants to attend university to study English: “It’s not good for people to have babies so young because they are students…they don’t have money or the means to bring up children. I’m independent and I want to be responsible.” More women like Tiendrébéogo can take control of their bodies and choose to use birth control, something we in the West take for granted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...