Monday, March 31, 2008

2008 Equal Parenting Bike Trek - 758 Miles - Lansing Michigan to Washington, D.C.

In Australia the federal government is currently engaged in an inquiry into the feasibility of offering paid "maternity leave" to all workers. However, the terms of the inquiry contain inherently discriminatory language that undermines the role of fathers as parents (Read the report here).

Rather than talking about maternity leave they should be referring to parental leave which ultimately will serve the needs of both men and women.

If men can access parental leave then they are more likely to take on the caring role to allow their partners to continue in their careers. There is extensive research that has shown the important role that fathers fulfill for their children and how the quality of this relationship will have a clear impact on the child's future wellbeing.

Men need to be supported in their role as fathers in the same way that mothers are supported by a range of government initiatives. I agree that we need equal numbers of men and women representing us in our governments and we need equal numbers of men and women engaged in the process of rearing children.

Feminism allowed women to move into the workforce via affirmative action programs, and the next step to achieve gender equality is to support men in their role as parents via affirmative action. I find it incredibly frustrating that in this day and age people still cling to the outdated notion that rearing children is the sole responsibility of mothers.

Today I read about this great initiative in America The Equal Parenting Bike Trek. Five fathers from Michigan (though I live in Australia I was born in Detroit Michigan) Robb MacKenzie, Robert Pedersen , Brian Downs, Derek Bailey and Mike Saxton are riding their bikes 758 miles from Michigan to Washington DC to raise awareness of a child's fundamental right to be loved, guided, educated and nurtured equally by both fit and willing parents

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