Along with UN Women, I am issuing a call to action for countries, companies and institutions globally to step up and become champions for paid parental leave.
In 2013, provisions for paid parental leave were in only 66 countries out of 190 UN member states.
I look forward to beginning with the UN itself which has not yet achieved parity and whose paid parental leave policies are currently up for review.
Oh, you’re going to see a lot of me. Let us lead by example in creating a world in which women and men are not economically punished for wanting to be parents.
I don’t mean to imply that you need to have children to care about and benefit from this issue -- whether or not you have -- or want -- kids, you will benefit by living in a more evolved world with policies not based on gender.
We all benefit from living in a more compassionate time where our needs do not make us weak, they make us fully human.
Maternity leave, or any workplace policy based on gender, can -- at this moment in history -- only ever be a gilded cage.
Though it was created to make life easier for women, we now know it creates a perception of women as being inconvenient to the workplace.
We now know it chains men to an emotionally limited path.
And it cannot, by definition, serve the reality of a world in which there is more than one type of family.
Because in the modern world, some families have two daddies. How exactly does maternity leave serve them?
Today, on International Women’s Day, I would like to thank all of those who went before in creating our current policies --
let us honor them and build upon what they started by shifting our language -- and therefore our consciousness -- away from gender and towards opportunity.
Let us honor our own parents sacrifice by creating a path for a more fair, farther-reaching truth to define all of our lives, especially the lives of our children.
Because paid parental leave does more than give more time for parents to spend with their kids. It changes the story of what children observe, and will from themselves imagine possible.
I see cause for hope. In my own country, the United States--
currently, the only high income country in the world without paid maternity, let alone parental leave --
great work has begun in the states of New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington, which are currently all implementing paid parental leave programs.