Paternity Leave as a Human Right. The Right to Paternity Leave, Parental Leave for the Father, as a Way to Actual Gender Equality in the View of CEDAW and other International Instruments
Abstract: The pursuit for equality between men and women is an ongoing struggle. One of the largest differences between men and women in general is the amount of time spent taking care of children and the home. This difference between men and women is one of the reasons women have less opportunity to pursue a career, be financially independent or take part in politics in most parts of the world. This difference is highly significant and the best way to correct this and actually realize gender equality is to pursue an equal division of the work and responsibility of the home. One way to begin is to ensure that from a child's birth the parents are equally responsible for the care of the child. Mothers should not only be offered leave to take care of the child, but fathers should also be offered leave. It should be as normal for a father as for a mother to care of the child. It should be a human right for men to be able to take paternity leave. The examination of whether paternity leave is a human right starts with exploring the main instrument of women's human rights: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This thesis will explore whether such a right can be found in CEDAW. The thesis then continues to examine whether a right is provided for under other international instruments and whether the concept 'paternity leave' is supported in the work for women's equality in the world. The examination of all the different relevant documents reveals that the right to paternity leave can be claimed under Article 26 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. This right can be claimed if a national law or policy discriminates against a man if such a leave is only offered to a women. A right to paternity leave should also be possible for a father to claim under Article 11 of CEDAW. This right may be claimed when a denial of paternity leave leads to discrimination against him that may affect the mother of his child as well as. The examination of all the different documents also reveal that there is good reason for concluding that non-discrimination as to sex is a customary international law.
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