British actress Keira Knightley is Harper’s Bazaar UK December cover star, and yesterday, she received the magazine’s Theatre Icon award during their Women of the Year Awards ceremony. Inside the magazine’s pages, Knightley touched on her personal life by commenting on the state of parental leave and child care.
“I think I’ve become unbelievably aware of that and how lucky I’ve been to be able to afford really good childcare, because otherwise it would be at least four years out of my career,” she told Harper’s Bazaar UK. “I wouldn’t be able to get back to where I’d been if I’d taken four years out. I think that’s the same for most women. And I think that’s really hard.”
She elaborated that part of this issue stems from a lack of resources for both parents. “I think paternity leave should be the same as maternity leave,” she said. “It’s shocking. Because you need that option. And actually, when you’re thinking about an employer looking at a man and a woman thinking, ‘Well, at some point you could take nine months or however long off, and the guy doesn’t have to.’ Don’t tell me that that doesn’t come into it! You need to be a family unit, not just have the guy there for two weeks and then go back to work and the mother left desperately trying to figure it out. I think it’s archaic that there aren’t better options.”
The paternity leave problem isn’t limited to the UK. New dad and Catfish star Nev Schulman spoke out about men needing time off after the birth of their children too, and used international statistics to back up his claims: “Globally, moms get an average of 106 days of paid leave for a new baby, while dads only get an average of seven,” he posted on Facebook last month. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was also very honest about taking time off after the birth of his daughter last year, pointing out, “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.”
Read Knightley’s interview at HarpersBazaar.co.uk