Law vs. Society: Validating Fatherhood
While the FMLA's inclusion of paternity leave makes a strong statement about the importance of fathers' presence in the home, many men have found that workplace culture hasn't caught up with the policy shaping it.
Ironically, the situation mirrors the one faced by women throughout last century until today: equal pay for equal work is indeed the law, but some American wage statistics still show a slightly unfavorable discrepancy in female-to-male pay ratios when all other differences are accounted for.
Just as women have sought to expand the social perceptions of their contributions from the domestic to the professional sphere, men are seeking to carve out larger fatherhood roles from the traditionally male cultivation of an identity based primarily on career. Their struggle to validate paternity leave stands to benefit from the example of women's rights activists, whose efforts have led to policies built on workplace gender equality—which is evident, by the way, in paternity leave being part of the FMLA.