Research from the Chartered Management Institute has revealed the negative long-term effect for women who take maternity leave, termed the “motherhood penalty”. Based on women in full-time management and professional positions, the problems include a pay gap that widens considerably as the woman gets older. The research also highlighted a softer type of discrimination, with mothers being placed into less demanding or part-time roles.
All this despite anti-discrimination laws, and the introduction in April of shared parental leave that, subject to conditions, offered parents the opportunity of sharing between them up to 50 weeks’ leave (on statutory pay). The hope was that this would lead to a new dawn in childcare gender equality, similar to countries such as Sweden.
The gender pay gap in Sweden is about the same as it is here. And for about the same reason:
Of course family finances would play a large part in these decisions, and perhaps some women wouldn’t want more leave either, for them or their partner. However, there remains this fundamental problem with childcare equality in the workplace – many men just wouldn’t want it because they’re scared it would screw up their careers. You can’t even blame it on machismo – an “I’m not changing bloody nappies” attitude. Instead, this smells of fear, an anxiety that overrides any faith in so-called legal rights or what could be genuine enthusiasm to stay home with their kids. A widespread male conviction that their families would be better off if they stuck rigidly to the traditional career path.
That reason being that it’s just amazing how many people rather like the whole traditional family arrangement.
No, not women only doing the child care, men only doing the paid work. But with that emphasis, that division of the responsibilities.
and among a dimorphic mammalian and viviparous species, who is really surprised at that? There really does come a time when social engineering bumps up against the inherent nature of human beings you know.