Give Paternity Leave to Male Workers

Participants at a day’s training workshop on gender have called on health authorities to grant paternity leave to male workers. According to them, the leave would afford husbands to spend enough time with their spouses and new-born babies. They underlined that husbands would also be able to experience many of the great moments in the early stages of their children’s lives. The participants made the call during an interaction session at a workshop on the theme “Gender Sensitive Ethical Practice in Healthcare Delivery”. It was organised by the Centre for Gender Advocacy Research and Documentation (CEGRAD) in conjunction with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of Cape Coast for health workers and managers at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital. The participants also called for extension of maternity leave from three to six months for mothers. That, the participants noted, would help nursing mothers to exclusively breast feed their babies and take good care of them. Making a contribution, the former Director of CEGRAD, Prof. Akua Britwum, said fathers have the responsibility to take care of their children and, therefore, needed time out of their work to be with their babies. She chided employers who use pregnancy and childbearing as labour market penalty to deny competent women employment. Consequently, she urged all women to support the campaign for paternity leave. “So let me tell you , my sisters, we have to support paternity leave for just this selfish reason”, she said, in reference to the labour market penalty used by some employers to deny women jobs. She announced that CEGRAD was jointly working with a Spanish institution to research on family friendly benefits, which include paternity leave. Topics treated at the workshop included Gender Sensitive Ethical Practice in Healthcare Delivery, Health Sector Gender Policy, Strategies for Gender Sensitive Programme Reforms and Practices and Introduction to basic concepts in Gender.