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Dove wants to give $5,000 to dads who don't have access to paid paternity leave

Alexis Ohanian is Serena Williams' husband, little Olympia's dad, and an outspoken advocate for fathers taking parental leave. In a recent op-ed the venture capitalist said taking parental leave was one of the most important decisions he'd ever made.

Now he's standing with Dove as the company launches The Pledge for Paternity Leave, asking fathers to pledge to actually take their leave if it's available, and asking allies and businesses to advocate for paid parental leave policies. But Dove isn't just collecting signatures. It's also giving $5,000 grants to new fathers.

Dove just launched The Dove Men+Care Paternity Leave Fund, which will see $1 million (in $5,000 increments) doled out to dads who apply to receive a $5,000 grant for parental leave.

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These grants could help more dads get to do what Ohanian did. Most fathers aren't offered paid leave through their employers and simply can't afford to take unpaid leave (especially if their partner has already had to take unpaid time).

"No dad should have to sacrifice taking leave, and I've been very public about taking mine in an effort to show other men that you can still be an ambitious businessperson while also taking time for your family," says Ohanian, who notes that parental leave doesn't just benefit dads, but also their babies, families, workplaces and communities.

According to a media release, Dove's Paternity Leave Fund "is available for new or expectant dads who do not currently have access to paid leave through their employer."

So if a new dad in your life doesn't get paid leave at work, maybe they could get it through this grant.

The application is online, and to be eligible dads must be over 18, be legal residents of one the 50 United States (or D.C.) and work for an employer who offers no more than 10 days of paid paternity leave. Dads can be new dads (baby's gotta be under 8 months old) or be expecting a child through birth or adoption. And they have to have taken the Pledge for Paternity Leave as well.

It's unfortunate that more dads can't do what Ohanian did, either because of the stigma against fathers taking leave or a lack of financial support for it. Hopefully, American parents (moms and dads) will have access to paid parental leave by the time this PR campaign ends in 2020, but until then, this is a pretty cool move by the brand.

Dove knows that advertising can do more than just sell body wash—it can start cultural conversations. It's been more than 10 years since Dove first launched its Campaign for Real Beauty, and while that campaign has been criticized it has also been credited with starting the trend of more body-positive and inclusive advertising in marketing for women and girls.

It's kind of crazy to look back at some of the advertising from the early 2000s and see one very specific body type represented over and over again. Our generation lived through an era when everyone in the Delia*s catalog was the same size, but our daughters are growing up in a world where they can look at an Aerie campaign and see different sizes and body types represented (and with their stretch marks intact!).

Maybe 10 years from now the lack of paid parental leave for fathers will seem as bizarre as expecting every woman in a catalog to be a size zero. With any hope, we'll be talking about how crazy it was that it took a marketing campaign from a toiletries brand to change the way our culture sees parental leave for fathers.

But in the meantime, go get your money, dads. Dove's got $1 million to spend on this conversation.

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    [Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country. This essay reflects the views of one mother—we invite you to also read As a mother, I'm voting for Joe Biden.]

    Confession #1: I didn't vote for Trump the first time.

    Confession #2: I'm old enough to remember what our country went through during the sexual scandal of President Clinton. So in 2016, in the spirit of not repeating history (coupled with a multitude of other reasons why I was not a Hilary fan), I couldn't vote for Clinton. But, it also didn't seem right to vote for a self-proclaimed "p***y-grabbing" Tweet-assailer. I was told he was the epitome of all that is evil in the world and would be the reason for the premature ending of the world. Ultimately, I voted Independent.

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    But the 2016 election nevertheless served as a significant turning point for me as it was for many others. I felt the need to dig deeper.

    Let's back up. Had I read the 2016 Republican Platform before casting my ballot? Sadly, no. But as Maya Angelou wrote—and as I now regularly tell my kids—"When you know better you do better." So this year, I decided I would do better; to delve into learning what each candidate believes in, why they do and what the best and worst possible outcomes are.

    Have I now read the 2020 platforms of both candidates (Republican and Democrat) this time around? You better believe it.

    Moms want to leave a better world behind for our kids. I do, and I bet you do, too. I believe the Trump-Pence administration will continue to do exactly that. They stand for the parts of American culture that has set America apart from every other country of the world: the American Dream; American exceptionalism; that the Declaration of Independence affirms the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all; that government must be limited in its power; that we as Americans seek friendship with all nations, but we also recognize that evil exists in this world, and we will defend against it; that freedom is an essential ingredient in every area of our lives.

    Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, I hope you'll read this with an open mind. I also hope that the Biden supporters reading this who have somewhere along the line conflated all Republicans to be racist-climate-change-denying-xenophobes, will feel the twinge of some ice melt between our parties, however small.

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