North America comes out on top. And bottom.
Some things that aren’t represented in this map are the fact that undocumented workers don’t have access to these supposedly “progressive” benefits in the liberal blue-teal-green countries. Also, there’s a gaping silence regarding men as parents from paternity or “parental” leave all the way down to the much more critical situation of single fathers and dads who are primary parents yet don’t have access to federal or private sector support in the ways provided by maternity leave.
What we need is a paradigm shift toward parental leave policies, and not this gendered institutionalization of what kind of people can be committed parents. Beyond this, there needs to be a broader sense of caregiving, which can account for taking care of young folks (who aren’t necessarily still babies), elderly folks, people with chronic illness, or even people enduring episodic mental instability.
I ended up in a short back-and-forth with a friend of a friend about this map a couple months ago. She was trying to salvage the US
neoliberal fuck-over situation through an anecdotal testimony of her employer, a MAJOR U.S. bank, and their generous maternity policy, and how great it is that even though the Federal law provides no support, ‘we shouldn’t hate because private corporations have gone above and beyond’ even what northern European governments offer.
I of course responded with a critical perspective of particularly large corporations (especially banks??!!), and the bizarre neoliberal/ libertarian logic that corporations should make a killing by-any-means-necessary, the government should give them some space and stop taxing and regulating them for chrissakes, and then we should be grateful/ adorning/ impressed that they take a sliver of their hard-fought earnings and invest it in some HR policies that keep the workers pacified in their frustration, even obliged to the
pirating cartels corporations for “taking care of them.” And then of course its understandable when corporations are going through tough times of austerity, that they cut back on “excesses” and “benefits” such as the aforementioned generous big bank maternity policy, since they have a business to run afterall…
I’m not saying that the State is my bestie (lord knows they never cut back on social programs like parental leave, pensions, or medical aid!), but I don’t think we should be so naïve as to think that our jobs/ bosses/ companies are the answer to accessing support when new children/ babies come into our lives.
Reporting Live from Dad Duty,