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Paid Family Leave, John Oliver

“Paid Family Leave” is a May 2015 clip from the weekly satirical news show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The segment uses satire to examine the discrepancy between the United States’ reverence of mothers, especially around Mothers’ Day, and their unwillingness to provide paid parental leave. The clip compares how companies promote their goods and services as presents for people to give their parents on Mothers’ Day but will not give them the support they need to be mothers.

discussion

How does Oliver’s set up ask us to rethink Mothers’ Day? Why does he use Mothers’ Day as a “way in” to talk about paid family leave?

According to Oliver’s overview, why do companies not want to give paid parental leave?

Do you notice any different attitudes towards paternal leave and maternal leave? What are they?

What do you think companies’ Mother’s Day ads would look like if they reflected how companies treat mothers (and fathers) by denying paid parental leave?

What do you think would happen if the U.S. instituted paid parental leave? Do you think this would have any impact on our perception of mothers and fathers? If so, what?