Maternal Leave Case Study

988 Words4 Pages
Today, the United States remains one of three countries that does not have paid maternal leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993 after a long battle with conservative legislators and business lobbyists, guarantees that companies with 50 employees or more must provide new parents with 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The FMLA fails to protect more than half of working mothers in the United States, and the law only applies to women who have been working at their company for at least one year. This leaves out part-time employees, contracted workers and those who are employed at smaller companies. Up to 40 percent of employees are not eligible, and many of those who are cannot even afford to take unpaid leave. The 12-week number is also…show more content…
(AlterNet, 2015.) Due to the constraints the FMLA puts on so many working women, the economic equality between them and men is worsened. The specifics found in the law quietly but severely reduce the number of females qualified for unpaid leave and also leaves women working low-wage jobs at risk of being fired for merely taking one or two weeks off. Looking at women who have received a college education, it only seems to get worse for them as they head onto their career paths. A Bloomberg article explains that there is barely a wage gap for young women and men as recent college graduates, but as they get older, the gap widens- the first apparent gap is when they decide to have children (Suddath, 2015.) Sanders discusses the harm of the FMLA, and goes on to further claim that the law can be put to blame for the reason as to why so many women find difficulty in deciding whether or not they should leave their…show more content…
These constraints can be categorized into two different groups: structural and cultural. The structural aspect deals with things such as leave policy, working conditions, flextime, etc. Cultural constraints are what Sanders further discusses in providing evidence showing the consequences of gender stereotyping. Intensive mothering ideology; a gender norm that women will often defer to their husbands in terms of career priority. It is a gendered ideology that is “encouraging women to expend a tremendous amount of time, energy and money in raising their children” (Sanders, p. 42, 2008.) This can be tremendous in shaping the demeanor of women, but is not consistently experienced across all class and racial groups. It has been found that white middle-class women are influenced by this ideology the most. Sanders goes on to discuss the difference between parental care and paid care, and puts light on the issue on the belief that a parent’s care is better than that of a caregiver. She states that “these otherwise insightful and articulate women were at a loss to explain why a parent’s care was better than that of a caregiver, but they were sure it was, a reflection of the normative hold of intensive parenting” (Sanders, p. 46, 2008.) This reality holds the reasoning as to why so many women leave their careers to head home and take care of their
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