Global Health and Development Strengthening Health Systems by Empowering Women Paternity Leave - Policy Analysis and Development Framework

Ana Nioradze, Alison Earle, Diana Bowser


As the year 2015 approaches, marking the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while numerous countries have made successful efforts towards achieving a number of the goals, progress towards MDG 3 (promoting gender equality and empowering women) has been relatively weak. Countries have used various ways to promote gender equality and empower women. One specific policy that could have an impact on MDG 3 is paternity leave.  In this paper we research and analyze how paternity leave policy can have an impact on gender inequality and female empowerment through increased male participation in child rearing.

We focus the analysis on the post Soviet Union country, the Republic of Georgia, where according to the World Policy Forum, the paid paternity leave is not available to the fathers of newborns (World Policy Forum) while in neighbouring Armenia and Azerbaijan paternity leave can be taken for up to 14 weeks.  Through communication with the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, the results show that paternity leave is not regulated by the law in the country and as proposed by ombudsman, the ministry is actively working on the revision of parental leave, in order to make it more gender inclusive. In addition, the Ministry is revising the experiences from other countries, to effectively address the issue of the paternity leave and make it available for the citizens of Georgia.

The purpose of this research paper is to discuss the paternity leave policy in depth, compare the practices from different countries and serve as a recommendation for the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia in the process of provisioning the law of paternity leave. The paper shares the examples and experiences from the countries with similar development backgrounds, discusses the macro environment related to a woman’s constitutional rights and their link to the healthcare, which is the basement for gender inclusive policies and proposes the structure of the policy, which enforces the uptake and usage.

Finally, this paper shows the needs for a larger macro-supporting environment with acceptance of overall gender equity, which is associated with a higher level of paternity leave. This relationship is supported using data from 18 countries in the region.  The discussion relates these results to the future steps for Georgia as they begin to formulate a specific policy for parental leave in the country.

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