This just in.
The Women and Equalities Committee will today be taking evidence on how to encourage fathers to spend more time raising their children. The Committee is particularly concerned that a lack of viable shared parental leave options continue to widen the gender pay gap between men and women.
The session will take place today in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House from 10.30am and will call the following witnesses:
- Adrienne Burgess, Chief Executive and Heard of Research, the Fatherhood Institute
- Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive, Working Families
- Maggie Stilwell, Partner & UKI Talent Leader, EY (formerly Ernst and Young)
We find this session disconcerting for several reasons. Firstly, the idea that we should be encouraging fathers to share care through a financially driven cause, however important gender equality may be, takes us a step away from placing children at the centre of policies like these. A more egalitarian culture which allows fathers to spend time with their children is to be welcomed, however one which uses an inherently female driven financial concern is not. This debate should focus first on giving those fathers who wish to play a more active role the tools with which to do so, like powerful policy proposals which they can get behind. Policy suggestions which hit fathers’ incomes will not achieve this.
Our second concern stems from the fact that every single witness for this session is female. It is both presumptuous and unhelpful to raise a debate which features male issues without having male representation at the table, regardless of whether an organisation itself may be male-focused.
What do you think? Are we being unfair to the cause or is there something to our concerns?