Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Women and Work - the bond and parenting

Recently I was involved in a facebook conversation regarding paid time off for women when they give birth. The fact is, only a few countries do not, as countries, realize that women aren't machines and if the countries want them to be part of the work force, then the realization of human nature must also be recognized. Women give birth, not men. When a child is born, the mother lactates. Hormones are released and women are to bond to their child. When mother and child are separated, nature changes. According to Wikipedia, Only four countries have no national law mandating paid time off for new parents: Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and the United States.

There are societal benefits to women in the workplace. Also many families' budgets require them to work. However, when a woman is forced to choose between heading back to work before baby and mom is ready or lose their job. Most women return to work. Whether it is a societal pressure to continue on as before or an actual need, it is there. It may also be that the woman might well, enjoy their job! No matter the reason, we have to realize that, as a society, our tax dollars go toward many fun things... bridges to no where, impotence drugs, repaving of roads that are already paved. However, many argue that they don't want the government telling them what to do and/or that it isn't the government's responsibility (or right) to force more tax dollars into paid family leave.

Human Rights Watch published a 90+ page report over going the ills of and the rights violation we have in the US because there is no requirement for women to be able to stay home for even 6-12 weeks, paid, after having a baby. From HRW,

"This report is based on interviews with 64 parents across the country. It documents the health and financial impact on American workers of having little or no paid family leave after childbirth or adoption, employer reticence to offer breastfeeding support or flexible schedules, and workplace discrimination against new parents, especially mothers. Parents said that having scarce or no paid leave contributed to delaying babies' immunizations, postpartum depression and other health problems, and caused mothers to give up breastfeeding early. Many who took unpaid leave went into debt and some were forced to seek public assistance. Some women said employer bias against working mothers derailed their careers. Same-sex parents were often denied even unpaid leave."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11 percent of civilian workers (and 3 percent of the lowest-income workers) have paid family leave benefits. Lovely isn't it!

A slate article pointed out many things, including: One study tracked Norwegian children who were born after 1977, when that country increased its paid leave from zero to four months and its unpaid leave from three to 12 months, and found that the kids born after the change had lower high school dropout rates. Military draft data, moreover, tied lengthened leaves to increases in male IQ (and height, too).

This is an attachment parenting blog. Those reading it often understand or want to know more about bonding with their child. I work full time. I telecommute. I want to create and keep a strong bond with my children. Does my job get in the way of that? Yes. However, I do have it a bit better than many working moms since I do get to see them off and on through the day. To counter those times without mom - we co sleep, extended breastfeed, etc. But, those first few weeks are the most important. To indicate that the fact that women do give birth and that "inconvenience" shouldn't be "rewarded" is quite narrow-sited and lacks humanity.

A few more links for your internetting pleasure:


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