When I started blogging four years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. At first it was a hobby but since then it has become a bigger part of my life and provided me with a range of experiences. I am about to have another one of those experiences and break new ground by appearing in a high-profile television documentary…..in Brazil.
In the early hours of Thursday, 19 October (2.30am UK time, 11.30pm in the city of Brasillia), I will appear in a programme called Profissão Repórter on the channel Teleglobo. The subject of the programme is paternity leave and the slow but steady acceptance of stay at home dads in Europe compared to Brazil.
Why the sudden interest from the other side of Atlantic? Well, earlier this year there was a change in Brazilian law. Brazilian men are now entitled to 20 days of paid paternity leave, an increase from the previous five.
With that in mind, the Profissão Repórter team wanted to explore the impact of paternity and shared parental leave in a country where it has been in place for some time. I was asked if I would spend some time with a Brazilian reporter and camera man as they documented a typical day in my life.
During the day I was asked for my opinions on a range of things including: the UK’s shared parental leave system, the pros and cons of being a stay at home father and what advice I would give to an expectant or new father.
This was a whole new experience for me. Although I’ve made the occasional television appearance, I’d never spent this amount of time with a film crew.
I can’t deny it, I was slightly nervous. If you are in the presence of a film crew for that length of time, you have to accept you’re making yourself wide open to the world. All the untidy parts of my family home and the untidy state of the family car will probably be revealed in the final cut and I was told the programme has an audience of around 20,000,000 people.
For those of you wanting to see the programme, I have mixed news. You’re very welcome to visit the Profissão Repórter Facebook page and website where small excerpts are shown. Alas, however, the full programme isn’t broadcast outside of Brazil.
As for the photograph at the top of this blog post, well, I couldn’t resist having a little fun and doing something eye-catching. I’m not sure the look really suits me and I can assure you I will never wear Cuban heels ever again (women: how do you manage to walk in stilettos?). I have to say a huge thank you to Darren Coleshill form the Photalife blog who did an initial edit of the the picture for me.
It was great to take part in this documentary. Stay at home dads have a very low profile in the UK but in Brazil it is virtually unheard of for men to look after family and home. This was a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of stay at home dads in Brazil and hopefully do a tiny bit to normailse it.
There is also one further interesting point to make. Under the shared parental leave system we have in the UK, a man can, in theory, take a total of 50 weeks leave following the birth of a child if his partner and employer are in agreement.
In a worst case scenario where no agreement can be reached between employer and partner, a British man will receive two week’s paid paternity leave while his partner receives the rest of the leave entitlement.
Brazil has no shared parental leave system and so on this front, the UK is more advanced than its Latin-American counterpart. That said, let me reiterate that Brazilian men receive 20 days paid paternity leave. In other words, Brazil is more generous when it comes to dedicated paternity leave than the UK. I’ll leave you with that thought!
Photo credits: Main and bottom image expertly edited with help from the magnificent Darren Coleshil of the Photalife blog. Background image of dancers: Nicolas de Camaret. Reproduced under Creative Commons agreement. Second image: Teleglobo/Profissão Repórter.