Forests, libraries, the DLA, the NHS: there’s so many crucial things under threat right now that it’s hard to keep up with it all. I feel like my head will explode and I genuinely fear for the future of this country if all the cuts go ahead as proposed. Britain is already one of the most unequal societies in the developed world: these cuts will only make matters worse and the social and civil consequences will be horrific.
So why, in the midst of all this, would I choose to write about paternity leave?
One of the consequences of the cuts being made by the Coalition is that I have to make a large proportion of the team that work for me redundant in the next few months. We’re in consultation now, ahead of our government funding coming to an end. Two women in my team are on maternity leave and a number of people – men and women alike – have asked how is it fair that they are protected from redundancy when others are not. It worries me that we’ve lost sight of why maternity leave provisions exist.
Lately there has been a creeping sexism leaching into public discourse. My generation of women was the first to grow up relatively free of the burdens of our sex: women’s liberation really only became a possibility once science enabled women to prevent pregnancy. The gains that were hard won by my mother’s generation could easily be lost. Those of us who understand that equality serves everyone must fight for it. Read my rant now.