Thursday, February 18, 2016

Women and Work

This week, I read an interesting article that discussed the concept women in relation to maternity leave. The article mentions that the United States is the only nation that does not provide paid maternity leave to women. This notion is backed behind the belief that someone in the family should be always home caring for the baby -- and that person is the woman. However, companies are providing less and less time for women to be outside of work to do this exact phenomenon. To add to that, the article mentions society's myth that working is optional -- however, in today's world, working and earning money is a necessity. When the two are put together, women needing to care for children at home as well as working to earn money, women are placed in a dual role that is difficult to manage. Thus, I wonder how this concept of unpaid, and very little of it at that, maternity leave in combination with the necessity to earn an income came to be a societal norm/expectation of women.


  1. The lack of paid maternity or paternity leave is the result of a changing world without a changing perspective on the world. As you said, women are expected to be at home taking care of the baby and they can’t do that because they also have to work.
    In today’s world, the majority of women work outside the home. Many of them are primary bread winners for their families and most families couldn’t make it without two paychecks (or three or four). Having a baby makes life hard for duel-earner families. Taking care of a newborn is expensive, and for American families, it also includes the loss of a paycheck for a while. If neither of the parents does take off work, they have to find childcare, which is often too expensive. Yet, women are expected to have babies. If an older women is childless people tend to ask her why.
    Frankly, this problem extends beyond the birth of a new child. Companies have hours that don’t line up with school hours. Parents can’t take their kids to school or pick them up afterwards. Many kids spend time in the afternoon taking care of themselves.
    If a family member gets sick and needs to be taken care of, the FMLA also allows people to take off work but they still lose their paycheck.
    For single parents, this hits even harder. They go from one income to none for a while.
    Basically, families are getting their pay taken away when they need it the most. Many have to make very difficult decisions. Mothers go back to work before they are ready, which contributes to post-partum depression. Fathers never get to spend time with their infants, which keeps them from getting as close to their kids as they could be. Financial strain in hard times is made worse. It is a huge mess.

  2. This duality is so interesting, to be a good mother you have to stay home and take care of your children but to also be a good mother means you need to provide for your children. women must balance this both earning and providing and those in charge are both acutely aware and unaware of this. Women must work harder than men to prove their right to be in the workplace but at the same time are looked down upon for taking time off to be with the very children the men say they should be taking care of.

  3. Thanks for all these insightful comments about the issues of parental leave!