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04th May 2016

Should Childless Women Get ‘Me-ternity Leave’?

Katie Mythen-Lynch

An American novelist has become a hot topic at the school gate after she suggested that mothers have an unfair advantage in the workplace and non-parents should be entitled to take ‘me-ternity leave’. 

Meghann Foye (who, incidentally, is promoting a book called ‘Meternity‘, the story of a stressed-out editor who fakes a pregnancy to enjoy an extended break from work) told the New York Post that, at age 31, she was ‘envious’ when her colleagues left the office at 6pm to be with their children, ‘while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack’.

‘It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility,’ she said.

‘The more I thought about it, the more I came to believe in the value of a “meternity” leave — which is, to me, a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs,’

‘For women who follow a “traditional” path, this pause often naturally comes in your late 20s or early 30s, when a wedding, pregnancy and babies means that your personal life takes center stage. But for those who end up on the “other” path, that socially mandated time and space for self-reflection may never come.’

Her solution? Meghann, now 38, took a break of her own and used the time to improve her life, grieve for her father who had passed away after a long illness, and write a novel. Now she feels that other non-parents should have the opportunity to take some time out too.

‘Bottom line: Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills – and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.’

Foye pulled out of an appearance on Good Morning America after angry parents vented their ire on social media.

What do you think, should non-parents be entitled to ‘me-ternity leave’? Let us know on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.


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