Are fathers supported fairly by society? | The Tylt

Are fathers supported fairly by society?

Traditionally, mothers are seen as caregivers, while fathers tend to "external needs," such as finances. No matter how many parents break this mold, the stereotypes seem to stick. One father recently pointed out the disparity in treatment between mothers and fathers by calling out a restaurant for not having diaper changing tables in the men’s restroom. Still, others claim the law treats mothers and fathers the same. What do you think? 

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For Donte Palmer, there’s no question that society treats fathers unfairly. In September, the father of three entered the men’s restroom to change his 1-year-old son’s diaper. When he found no changing table to assist him, Palmer was unphased and proceeded with his usual routine. According to The Washington Post:

[Palmer] said that when he became a father more than a decade ago, he learned to think outside the box—stretching babies across sink counters, having older children stand, and polishing what he calls his ‘perfect man squat’—changing a kid on a levitating lap.

This time, Palmer’s 12-year-old son captured a picture of the ‘man squat’ diaper-changing maneuver.

Palmer posted the picture to Instagram, saying:

‘This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!! #FLM #fatherslivesmatter clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem!’
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Parental leave is one of many controversies when it comes to unequal treatment between fathers, mothers, grandparents and adoptive parents.

But in the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, specifies the parameters of short-term leave, whether it be applied to fathers or mothers. According to HR Legalist, FLMA states:

An employer must provide 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child

The article continues by specifying the parameters of paid parental leave, saying:

The law requires that any such paid leave that is offered to a female for the birth and caring of a newborn child must also be offered to male employees. 
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Fathers also face discrimination when it comes to custody battles. According dad and HuffPost contributor, Paul Schwennesen:

In divorce and custody arbitration, something rotten is buried within the legal code—reflexive favoritism toward mothers and insufficient attention to due process is disproportionately harming men, and this harm has devastating consequences for children and families.

And according to DivorceNet.com:

...mothers are still more likely to get custody when parents divorce.

Schwennesen continues, saying:

In state after state, there are tens of thousands of fathers who are marginalized or completely eliminated from their children’s lives under hostile legal codes and crushing financial burdens...families are being obliterated by a set of perhaps well-intentioned, but ultimately counterproductive incentives flowing from the courthouse.
The structural discrepancy in legal treatment of the non-filing parent (most usually fathers) is in desperate need of review and rectification.
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Despite the precedent set by FLMA for unpaid leave, paid parental leave differs greatly from state to state. A study by Ball State University lays out the potential benefits of equal leave for new parents. Head researcher and sociology professor, Richard Petts, told Industry Week:

‘Paternity leave...represents a version of family leave-taking that is rare in comparison to maternity leave, yet it offers substantial possibilities for alleviating work-family conflicts and encouraging increased father involvement, mothers’ well-being, and gender equity in the divisions of domestic and paid labor responsibilities.’

Petts’s sentiment is a common one, yet, fathers’ actions when offered extended paternity leave say something different. Industry Week reports:

Research found 47% of the male respondents...were in favor of the policy. For those who do use [paternity leave], they take one week or less. Only 14% of fathers who take leave use more than two weeks.

According to Pew Research, mothers and fathers feel about the same when it comes to a desire to stay home with their children, but continuing to work in order to maintain a steady income

In other words, fathers may be held back from taking leave for a number of reasons. If leave is unpaid,  fathers are less likely to take time off due to meeting the financial demands of supporting a family. However, mothers face the same issue.

There’s no question there is plenty of room for more support of new parents, but the law gives equal rights to new parents of all kinds. 

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Are fathers supported fairly by society?
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#SocietyUnfair2Dads
#SocietyFair2Dads