On Aug. 26, Florida residents celebrated Women’s Equality Day with various civic events. Although it was originally declared by Congress as a celebration of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave American women the right to vote in 1920, it has been expanded to reflect upon issues of gender equality that still need to be resolved, particularly with relation to family legal issues.

Countries such as Canada and Costa Rica have a higher representation of women in the workforce when compared to the U.S., and this may be caused in part due to the unequal view of shared parenting in American society. In Florida, this unequal view is often upheld in family courts dealing with child custody cases.

Family court judges still show a preference towards awarding physical custody to mothers. This is part of a traditional societal view of mothers as homemakers who must raise children and fathers as breadwinners who must bear the responsibility of paying child support and who are awarded limited visitation time. One problem in this regard is that awarding sole or primary physical custody to mothers potentially decreases their chances of workforce participation. Studies have also shown that for the most part children do better when they have abundant time with both parents.

Family law in Florida is expected to change with regard to shared parenting for the benefit of children and their parents. A few bills that would allow parents greater flexibility to make their own shared parenting plans are being discussed in Tallahassee, and this may be a firm step towards fostering greater equality for women by giving them more time to dedicate towards career advancement.

Source:A Plus, “Shared Parenting Benefits Working Moms“, Kristen Paasch, Aug. 29, 2017