While we’re still patiently waiting for a Princess Diaries 3 and Anne Hathaway is busy being a first-time mom, the star has taken up a new and totally worthy cause. Speaking at the United Nations on International Women’s Day, you’ll absolutely applaud the surprisingly honest thing that Anne Hathaway had to say about paid parental leave.
While standing behind a podium to present her speech, Hathaway began by revealing her own experience having a child while trying to manage her job. “I remember I experienced a shift in consciousness that gave me the ability to maintain my love of career and also cherish something else, someone else, so much, much more.”
She added, “Like so many parents, I wondered how I was going to balance my work with my new role as parent, and, in that moment, I remember that the statistic for the US’s policy for maternity leave flashed through my mind. American women are currently entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. American men are entitled to nothing.” Whoa.
“That information landed differently for me when one week after my son’s birth, I could barely walk,” the actress admitted. “That information landed differently when I was getting to know a human who was completely dependent on my husband and me for everything, when I was dependent on my husband for most things, and when we were relearning everything we thought we knew about our family and our relationship.”
And while Hathaway was attempting to manage her new role and the responsibilities that come with it, the reality of her own sitch brought the realities that others struggle to the forefront. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘If the practical reality of pregnancy is another mouth to feed in your home and America is a country where most people are living paycheck to paycheck, how does 12 weeks of unpaid leave economically work?’ The truth is for too many people it doesn’t.”
She went on to challenge the tradition of maternity leave and how it “not only discriminates against women but limits men’s participation and connection within the family and society.” Calling for global reform, we can only hope that leaders truly heard what she had to say.
What are your thoughts on parental leave? Let us know @BritandCo!
(h/t Glamour; photos via Mike Coppola/Getty)