Publication Date: April 5, 2000
NEW YORK, NY—Most Americans believe men should take more than two weeks paternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child and would vote for a candidate that supported extending the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include paid leave, according to the latest Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll. However, American women are split over Cherie Blair’s belief that her husband, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, should take paternity leave when she gives birth to their fourth child in May, and a majority of women say they would not support an American President who wanted to take more than two weeks paternity leave. The findings were announced by Cheryl Mills, Oxygen Media’s Senior Vice President Corporate Policy and Public Programming.
The Oxygen/Markle Pulse, created by the Markle Foundation and Oxygen Media to enhance the influence of the audience over the creation of content, is an ongoing research initiative to create a comprehensive and in-depth source of publicly available information about, and for, women.
The latest Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll also found that men and women would like new fathers to take a little over three weeks off after the birth or adoption of a child. However, very few Americans know any men who have actually taken that much time off. On average, according to the Pulse poll findings, men report having taken less than one week of paternity leave.
Cheryl Mills said, “The discussion over whether Tony Blair should take paternity leave has pushed the issue of family friendly policies to the forefront, both in Britain and in the U.S. The Oxygen/Markle Pulse is a great tool for us to quickly gauge what women a re thinking about this important issue and the way it affects their lives.”
Findings in the Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll include:
- Most Americans (72% of women and 63% of men) think it is important for men to take more than 2 weeks off after the birth or adoption of a child.
- These economic concerns are reflected in support for changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- 48% of men and 54% of women say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that supported changing the FMLA so that businesses provided 4 weeks of paid leave and up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave.
- American women are split over Cherie Blair’s belief that her husband, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, take paternity leave when she gives birth to their fourth child in late May.
- 53% of American women think that Tony Blair should take more than 2 weeks off from work when their baby is born.
- However, American women would be less likely to support an American President if he were in the same position, with 45% saying that the President should take paternity leave of more than 2 weeks.
- On average, men report having taken less than one week of paternity leave, and few Americans know any man who has taken more than two weeks off.
- 71% of Americans don’t know any male friends or family members who have actually taken more than 2 weeks off.
- 68% of Americans don’t know any male colleagues or co-workers who have done so.
- Men say the main reasons they don’t take paternity leave are not that they don’t value their roles as fathers or that workplace issues get in the way.
- 48% of men agree that “Men who take paternity leave care more about being a good father”
- 46% of men agree that “It’s just as important for men to take paternity leave from their jobs as it is for women to take maternity leave from their jobs.”
- 81% of men disagree that the lack of interest in raising children is the main reason for not taking paternity leave.
- Only 15% of men agree that “Men who take paternity leave don’t take their jobs as seriously as other men.”
- Only 23% of men agree that taking paternity leave “has a negative impact on their careers.”
- Only 32% of men agree that “When men take paternity leave they are viewed negatively by their colleagues.”
- The most significant barrier for most men who want to take paternity leave is the loss of income.
- 76% of men and 72% of women agree that “The main reason men don’t take paternity leave is that they can’t afford the loss of income.”
Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates conducted a nationally representative telephone survey of 511 adults on April 3, 2000. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level, and is higher for subgroups.
About the Oxygen/Markle Pulse
The Oxygen/Markle Pulse seeks to learn what women think and believe and to give voice to these findings through the media. The Pulse will comprehensively track and measure women’s opinions, attitudes, needs and values. The Pulse seeks to engage women in a dialogue to help shape the direction of the Pulse research and the Oxygen/Markle Pulse’s findings will inform and add depth to Oxygen’s online and television programming. Oxygen will create programming that is responsive to the findings uncovered through the research conducted by the Oxygen/Markle Pulse.
In this national election year, the first phase of the Oxygen/Markle Pulse’s research will spotlight women’s political and civic participation, women’s attitudes about political and social issues, and women’s leadership. It will cover the ways ethics, values, religion and spirituality relate to women’s political engagement. Over the course of the year, the Oxygen/Markle Pulse will introduce new areas of study including: life balance, career/work, health and well-being, relationships, sexuality, education, technology, and the media. In addition, the Pulse site contains message boards, online surveys and links to relevant organizations as well as other Oxygen sites.
About Penn, Schoen & Berland
Penn, Schoen & Berland has been conducting strategic research for more than two decades on behalf of political candidates and Fortune 500 companies.