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From the Edge: Editorial

 by Megan Irwin
 published on Thursday, March 9, 2006

Irwin<br>Editor in Chief/issues/arts/696162
Irwin
Editor in Chief
 

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From the Edge

I'm not going to lie; I've found it extremely difficult to write about this week's cover story (Happy Housewives, page 8). This is probably because as I was editing it I became so angered by what I was reading I literally had to walk away from my computer twice.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to have a family, and I've got nothing against housewives. I mean, I was raised by one. But I absolutely cannot stand to hear other women say things like "men are better suited for the workplace, anyway."

This way of thinking keeps many women from realizing their true potential. This way of thinking leaves women struggling to find a balance between ambition and family. While men are free to think only of their professional and intellectual advancement, women are expected to balance meetings and reports with soccer practice and dance recitals.

The decision to start a family ought to be made between two people willing to share equally the responsibilities of parenthood. Obviously compromises need to be made, but both partners will commit to making them. The woman shouldn't have to give up more than her husband simply because they've decided to procreate.

Consider this: Paternity leave -- that is paid time off for new fathers -- is quite common in other countries. The UK offers two weeks paid leave. So do France and Italy. And Sweden offers a whopping month of paid paternity leave. According to a Harvard based report, "The Work, Family and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally," the U.S. does not guarantee any form of paternity leave at all. This might seem like a small thing -- after all, at least women in the U.S. are afforded maternity leave -- but it's indicative of our greater attitude toward co-parenting.

It concerns me that so many women feel they have to choose between being a "good mother" and having a career, when men simply do not have to make the same choice.

In some ways, I want the same things as the women featured in this week's story. I know that someday I will start a family. The difference is, when I do, it will be with a man willing to co-parent, and as partners we'll make it through the struggle and delight that comes with having a child.



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