Friday, June 5, 2015

Swedes Get 16 Months of Materinity/Paternity Leave

 From Upworthy. An update on Paternity Leave In Sweden.

Father in Stockholm, Sweden
A father in Stockholm. (Photo: 'The Christian Science Monitor'/Getty Images)
May 31, 2015

Sweden has the United States beat on affordable furniture, tasty meatballs, free university, and now, plans for an even more generous paid family leave program. The Swedish government submitted a proposal this week to add an extra month of paid leave specifically for fathers. While the plan needs approval from parliament, officials are confident the legislation will pass, CNN reports.

Sweden grants 16 months of paid leave to be split between both parents, with 60 days dedicated to the father. Beginning in 2016, dads would get an additional month to take off. Each parent would stay home during the first three months after birth and then split up the remaining 10 months however they chose. During this leave, parents would receive 80 percent of their salary. Sweden’s program is one of the most generous, but other countries, including France, Finland, and Germany, also offer paid family leave for more than a year.

Of 185 countries, only the U.S. and Papua New Guinea have no mandated paid parental leave. The U.S. allows 12 weeks of unpaid leave during which parents cannot be fired for staying home to care for a newborn. Three states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—have paid parental leave programs. Parental leave has become a campaign issue, with Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley calling for federal reform to protect new parents.

More than 80 percent of American mothers return to work within a month of giving birth. When a mother returns to work before the first 12 weeks are up, the child is less likely to be breast-fed and receive immunizations on time and more likely to have behavioral problems, according to several studies. Championing Sweden’s progress, several Americans have asked U.S. officials to follow the European country’s lead.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Women's Work, Wives for Water

In India, a man marries a third wife to supply house with water during the drought. Patriarchy and social roles bounded by sex undermine gender equality worldwide. Visit the web site at " Drought-hit Indian village looks to 'water wives' to quench thirst."

Drought-hit Indian village looks to 'water wives' to quench thirst

Source: Reuters - Thu, 4 Jun 2015 10:00 GMT
Author: Reuters

By Danish Siddiqui
DENGANMAL, India, June 4 (Reuters) - In the parched village of Denganmal, in western India, there are no taps. The only drinking water comes from two wells at the foot of a nearby rocky hill, a spot so crowded that the sweltering walk and wait can take hours.
For Sakharam Bhagat, as for many others in the hamlet some 140 km (85 miles) from Mumbai, the answer was a 'water wife'.

Bhagat, 66, now has three wives, two of whom he married solely to ensure that his household has water to drink and cook.  "I had to have someone to bring us water, and marrying again was the only option," said Bhagat, who works as a day labourer on a farm in a nearby village.
"My first wife was busy with the kids. When my second wife fell sick and was unable to fetch water, I married a third."

Bhagat and his family are suffering the consequences of a critical shortage of safe drinking water in India's villages, as well as the fallout from the most severe drought that his state, Maharashtra, has faced in a decade. In Maharashtra, India's third-largest state, the government estimated last year that more than 19,000 villages had no access to water. And India is again facing the threat of a drought this year, with monsoon rains expected to be weaker than average.

In Denganmal, a cluster of about 100 thatched houses set on an expanse of barren land, most men work as farm labourers, barely earning the minimum wage. Marrying for water has been the norm here for many years, villagers said. Bhagat's wives all live in the same house with him but have separate rooms and kitchens. Two of them are entrusted with fetching water, while the third manages the cooking.

Polygamy is illegal in India, but, in this village, "water wives" are common. "It is not easy to have a big family when there is no water," Namdeo, another villager who has two wives, said. Bhagat says the women, some of them widows or abandoned, are also happy with the arrangement. "We are like sisters. We help each other. Sometimes we might have problems, but we solve them among ourselves," his first wife, Tuki, said.

(Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques)