The Corner

The Pitfalls of ‘Pro-Family’ Regulations

Claire Cain Miller reports in the New York Times:

In Chile, a law requires employers to provide working mothers with child care. One result? Women are paid less.

In Spain, a policy to give parents of young children the right to work part-time has led to a decline in full-time, stable jobs available to all women — even those who are not mothers.

Elsewhere in Europe, generous maternity leaves have meant that women are much less likely than men to become managers or achieve other high-powered positions at work.

Not to worry, though: Miller ends the article with a solution.

Perhaps the most successful way to devise policies that help working families but avoid unintended consequences, people who study the issue say, is to make them gender neutral. In places like Sweden and Quebec, for instance, parental leave policies encourage both men and women to take time off for a new baby.

“It has to become something that humans do,” Ms. Glynn, from the Center for American Progress, said, “as opposed to something that women do.”

All government has to do, then, is make men and women interchangeable as caregivers to small children. That’s what people who study the issue say, at any rate, and surely they are far along in figuring out how to make that happen.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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