A wonderful Op-Ed in the New York Times from Stephanie Coontz about just how well we're doing in terms of gender equality in the post-feminist era. The U.S. has a long way to go to realize sustained gender equality. Coontz maintains that it has more to do with workplace constraints and lacking legislation that would help parents juggle the tricky task of raising families and putting food on the table at the same time. Check out this map showing just how behind-the-times we are in offering paid maternity leave.
Sad but true, the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder with Suriname, Liberia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Western Samoa and Tonga. Enough said. But paid maternity leave is just one indicator- women continue to earn less then men at every payscale and at every level of educational attainment in this country. I would venture to say that much of the earnings inequity has to do with our simple, yet costly, hesitancy to negotiate and advocate for ourselves during hiring and review times, which Ms. Coontz does not mention in her lengthy Op Ed. Jessica Bennet tackled this problem in her December 15, 2012 New York Times article How to Attack the Gender Wage Gap? Speak Up. "This fear of asking is a problem for many women: we are great advocates for others, but paralyzed when it comes to doing it for ourselves." It might just be time to find our voices once again... or move to Canada or most European countries or even Iran to get your guaranteed 26 weeks of paid maternity leave.