Anne Hathaway appeared at the United Nations on International Women’s Day to give a speech about the importance of paid parental leave.
Anne Hathaway gave a speech at the United Nations calling on companies and countries around the world to offer paid parental leave. The United States offers 12 weeks of unpaid leave for mothers, a problem that took on new resonance for Hathaway when she gave birth to her first son last year. “Somehow we and every American parent were expected to be back to normal in under three months without income,” she said in her speech.
Hathaway, who was named goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, emphasized that parental leave policies need to include men as well as women. “[We need to] redefine and destigmatize men’s roles as caregivers,” the actor said. “In other words in order to liberate women, we need to liberate men … Why do we continue to undervalue fathers and overburden mothers?”
She added: “In the modern world, some families have two daddies. How does maternity leave serve them?”
Hathaway’s work as an activist will begin with the U.N. itself, which does not offer equal leave for men and women. But their policies are under review, and Hathaway says she’ll be active in making change at the organization before turning to companies around the world. She also announced that international company Dannon has pledged to offer 18 weeks gender-neutral, paid parental leave, which can serve as a model for other organizations.