Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another example of US exceptionalism: Family Rights

U.S. lags rest of the world in family rights 


The United States is one of only a very small handful of countries that don’t have a maternity leave policy.

It’s an issue discussed at length in a new book by former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin titled "The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family.” 

In addition to tackling maternity leave Kunin also looks at how paternity leave has benefited Scandinavian countries which have been at the forefront of family rights.

The United States has the highest poverty rate of any industrial country hovering around 20 percent, while the Scandinavian countries have a poverty rate around four percent.

Kunin said that has a great deal to do with those countries providing rights to families that allow for better job security and which equalize men and women in the workforce.

Kunin emphasized:

They are going to have a better equipped workforce. Having fewer poor children means you’ll have better educated children, you’ll have children who are less likely to be incarcerated, and you’ll have children who’ll be more likely to grow up to be employable.

Kunin said not having both paternity and maternity leave leads companies to favor employing men over women.

Kunnin added:

A woman might not get hired if there’s a choice between hiring a woman of childbearing age and a man. The man has an advantage in that he wouldn’t be a possible person who would take family leave. So it might work against the employment of women.


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