How Mark Zuckerberg Is Winning for Both Men & Women

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook and also one who values a work-life balance and time with his family. When his daughter, Max, was born, he had the opportunity to enjoy being a new father while at home while on parental leave, a privilege that very few other men (and women) in this country get to experience.

His company is one of the very few in the country to have a generous parental leave policy, which offers four months paid leave to both male and female employees, who can take their four months at any time during the child's first year.  This is far above the national average seeing as the US federal parental leave policy mandates zero paid time off to new mothers and fathers and only 1 in 6 companies offer paid paternity leave. And even when men are offered paid leave, they usually don’t take it, or at least not for any substantial period of time, in fear of losing their jobs or being criticized or stigmatized by their co-workers or employers. 

Zuckerberg's very public two month leave has sparked a national discussion about parental leave, is a huge milestone when it comes to the gender gap. To have a male CEO of a fortune 500 company take two months of paid paternity leave, speak out about the benefits of doing so for both children and families, and be posting pictures of himself changing diapers, is game changing when it comes to the type of leadership that we need, changing the traditional image of the working dad, destigmatizing paternity leave, and inspiring other men (and executive women) to follow suit. 

Aside from the many benefits to father's and their children that comes with taking paternity leave, it also benefits women in a big way. Extending the benefit of paid time off to men might will inevitably help fight gender imbalances in the office and relieve the women of the burden of having to put their career on pause, or leave altogether. Zuckerberg's paternity leave is a really powerful lever in changing outdated stigmas and stereotypes for both men and both. 
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