Sarah Meier says there’s a problem with parental leave programs. And it’s with men.
“All these programs we’re implementing for women in the workplace just end up leaving men feel alienated and excluded,” Meir tells her DisruptHR audience in Zurich. The cause, though, is not so much the programs themselves. After all, parental leave is available to men and women. As Meir describes it, the problem is male cultural roles and perceptions.
“All I hear is ‘If I work 80% I’m just going to do the same work for less pay’. Or, ‘If I leave at 4:30 to pick up the kids, that will be the end of my career.’ All I hear is fear, and excuses, and lost dreams,” she says.
Meir asks men to be courageous, setting aside those worries to take the risk. Unspoken, but clearly implied in what Meir says, is the need for employers to facilitate men in their desire to be a parent.
“We can’t do this on our own,” she says, speaking directly to the men in her audience of HR professionals. “Dare to be the trailblazer.”
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