Maternity leave, what about Paternity leave?: child care and social inclusion question in Nigeria
Pregnancy; ante-natal and post-partum period are overwhelming times especially for working or career women. Over the years, women have always been at the fore front of taking care of the new born (child) alone although in some societies with the help of friends and families who spend time with the new mother in order to assist. Bearing different names (Omugwo among Binis and Igbos, toju omo in Yorubaland, Taimako reno uwar in Hausa land among others) across the socio-cultural enclave, such help could be from the woman’s or husband’s side or the combination of both. While maternity leave policy has been around, paternity leave policies seem evolving, though slowly. However, it is noteworthy that in child development and care, the roles of both parents are important. Analysis of the paper is done with the review of literatures and interviews conducted randomly among working women and men in Abeokuta on their experiences and views about maternity and paternity leaves respectively. It observed that paternity leave seem strange in practice but in theory compared to maternity leave and in as much as working mothers enjoyed their maternity leaves in order to be able to take care of new born, they would have preferred spending it with their husbands, though with financial benefits. It then concludes by advising government and other stakeholders that in order to increase productivity, reduce health hazard expenditure among others, they must begin to engender laws and policies that gives equal opportunity to both women and men so as to achieve not just an egalitarian but inclusive and sustainable society.
Keywords: Maternity, Paternity leave, All-inclusive, Nigeria