Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Maternity leave

This issue came to my attention from a somewhat unlikely place, Megyn Kelly from FoxNews. Here she is reacting to some moron who criticized her maternity leave:

KELLY: What a moronic thing to say…Is maternity leave, according to you, a racket?

GALLAGHER: Well, do men get maternity leave? I can’t believe I’m asking you this, because you’re just going to kill me.

KELLY: Guess what honey? Yes, they do. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act. If men would like to take three months off to take care of their newborn baby, they can. [...] Just in case you didn’t know, Mike, I want you to know that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Now I happen to work for a nice employer that gave me paid leave. But the United States is the only advanced country that doesn’t require paid leave. If anything, the United States is in the dark ages when it comes to maternity leave. And what is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby for nine months, that you don’t think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place, hmm?…You can’t answer the question because there is no answer, my friend.

She nails it. Kudos to her for standing strong on this. I'd add that men should get more time off as well. Aside from pumping milk from their breasts there isn't much a father can't do for his newborn. And since having a newborn is a very stressful thing it helps to have two people doing it. Its a shame Kelly is part of a party that doesn't really care about these issues. Hopefully people like her can try and change that.

While I'm on the subject of women's rights, I want to highlight this chart showing the pay men and women get. It would be difficult to sort out the exact reasons why women still get paid about 77 cents to a dollar that men make. But the fact that its still persistent shows how biased institutions have been for so long. That is also why we see less time for maternity and paternity leave.

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