The feminist liberal agenda focuses on giving women long parental leave. The longer the parental leave mothers can take in a country, the more this country will be praised. I claim that this approach is counter-productive – specifically because the mothers are the ones who take the leave (in some countries, this is actually a requirement).
The problem is that long days off are the main reason women are discriminated against at work. Being unavailable for 6-12 months creates lots of obstacles for employers – they need to find a replacement, and this replacement needs to be temporary because otherwise they need to pay extra after the leave is over. If they don’t find a replacement, that means that the company can do much less than planned for a long time. This is the main reason why many employers will prefer to hire men when they have a good enough option.
Moreover, that means that overall men have more opportunities to advance themselves compared to women. Let’s say a man and a woman both compete for a senior level position that will be open in 2 years from now. If the woman is on a long parental leave after 1.5 years – she is less likely to be able to promote herself in the crucial time of making the decision, compared to the man. This is another reason why men are more likely to be promoted than women.
The idea that having kids is the one of the main factors for the pay gap between men and women is supported by various studies.
I suggest a different approach – men will be required by law to take leave. This will completely reverse the dynamics and increase the chance for equal opportunities, as men will suffer from the obstacles mentioned in previous paragraphs. Even though this option exists today – the social pressures together with the woman’s need for rest after an intensive pregnancy period – make the option of men taking parental leave very unlikely. These are the types of things only the law can change. Changing this social dynamic will increase the amount of men who will work less to care for the kids as they grow (instead of the mothers). I think that a system where the mother takes a month, and the men take the rest of the parental leave can help the mother rest and still put enough effort in her career.
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