>To all you International Women out there, this International Woman salutes you.
Yeah, I know, that’s not what it means. But do women need a Special Day? An International Men’s Day would seem pretty ridiculous — how about equal, fair treatment and pay throughout the entire year? That’s a long way off from reality in so many parts of the world, that it seems that, sadly, yes, we’ve got to take advantage of having this holiday, if only to boost awareness of inequality.
Let’s start with one thing that Austria has, and the US should have: after her maternity leave (Mutterschütz: 8 weeks before and 8-12 weeks after giving birth) is up, a woman can go into Karenz, a longer, unpaid leave* (until the child’s 2nd birthday) in which her job is guaranteed when she returns. But here’s the cool part — the father can take it instead. Or they can split it between them, if they wish. How cool is that?
* No pay from your employer but you start getting the Kinderbetreuungsgeld (Child Allowance ), which is just a little extra pocket money (a hundred euros or so each month) until your child begins a full-time job or turns 26. Yes, you read that right, 26. Because most university students are enrolled until about that age.