Sunday, November 07, 2010

When paternity leave and HDI meet

Has anyone heard about the study done by Lancaster University on 1,100 working fathers in the UK? Well get this. The interim results of this study is that fathers are happier when they, take a deep breath:
1. do more of the housework themselves.
2. spend longer times with their children.
3. have working partners who are in the office just as long as they are.

I love these findings! And I think they constitute a major step towards striking a balance between gender roles. What I don't love is the following. According to the 2010 Human Development Report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme, Arab states suffer a loss of 28% in the inequality-adjusted human development index. The comparison with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which were the only regions that had greater losses due to inequality, is sadder. What's worse is that "the Arab countries collectively had the highest overall loss of any region in the education dimension: 43%." This is largely attributed to gender inequality.

I say, we can talk about economic development, democracy and transparency all we like, but the bottom line is this: If we don't educate our girls properly and allow them to participate in world outside, we are gonna be stuck in the same loop. Almost half our population cannot contribute to our economy and the poor Arab man ends up less happy and more stressed out than his British peer.

So let's do this, if not for our women, then for our men.


Laila Alawneh said...

I cannot agree less, and funny thing that is happening around my social circle is once they matched the Law in Finland about Maternity/paternity leave, that it can be split 50% to each partner or as the couple wishes to split it among themselves, some of the men realized the forgotten luxury they can have of spending time at home with their offsprings. Some men who were opposing to the idea of having children at all started opening up to the idea, and wanting to become parents.

kmango said...

The challenge is to get Arab women to fight the battle that women elsewhere fought decades ago and are still fighting today. Unless Arab women decide enough is enough, and are willing and able to fight the battle at home, on the streets and in the law courts, nothing will change. It appears many find comfort in conforming to the status quo and change seems too frightening a prospect! Here's to another century of unhappy men, if only they knew how good changing nappies is for their well being!