I'm an unabashed fan of paternity leave. I took two months myself (not all of it paid) and I cannot imagine not having done so. My wife, my child, and I are all happier as a result, I'm fairly confident.
Fellow men, take as much paternity leave as you can. Seriously, as spelled out in a new essay in our magazine, you get to contribute to gender equality at the cost of more time with your child.
And yet, Liza Mundy's essay demonstrates just how hard it is to get men to make this trade. Policymakers in progressive countries couldn't just make it possible for men to take leave; they had to make it super-duper attractive:
So policy makers decided to make men an offer they would feel ashamed to refuse. Norway, Iceland, Germany, Finland, and several other countries offered a variety of incentives to nudge men to take leave. Some countries offered them more money, which helped men feel that they were financially supporting their families even when they were at home. Many also adopted a “use it or lose it” approach, granting each family a total amount of leave, a certain portion of which could be used only by fathers.
Why this would be the case is complex. There a lot of answers one could give that focus on men in the world, men at work. Men don't want to get left behind by their peers. There is a stigma against men spending time away from their jobs. Etcetera.