Sexism and maternity leave around the world

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Article Highlights

  • Why does maternity leave differ between countries?

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  • New research shows how attitudes about gender lead to different maternity leave policies

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  • Does gender discrimination explain differences in maternity leave across countries?

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Women in Sweden receive more than a year of maternity leave (or their husbands can receive over a year of paternity leave, if that's what the parents of the newborn prefer). In the Philippines, maternity leave lasts for 60 days, which is also the federally mandated minimum here in the United States. In Saudi Arabia, where women are barred from driving and will only be able to vote for the first time in 2015, new mothers are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave.

Why? That's what the governments of those countries have decided. I understand that, but why? Is it because Swedes love big government? Is it because fertility rates in Europe are low enough as it is, and desperate measures are in order? Or is it because people in different countries have different levels of tolerance for gender-based discrimination?

The full text of this article is available on US News & World Report’s website. The full text will be posted to AEI.org on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

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About the Author

 

Stan
Veuger

  • Stan Veuger is a resident scholar at AEI.  His academic research focuses on political economy, and has been published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics. He writes frequently for popular audiences on a variety of topics, including health and tax policy. He is a regular contributor to The Hill, The National Interest, U.S. News & World Report, and AEIdeas, AEI’s policy blog. Before joining AEI, Dr. Veuger was a teaching fellow at Harvard University and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is a board member of the Netherland-American Foundation in Washington and at The Bulwark, a quarterly public policy journal, and was a National Review Institute Washington Fellow. He is a graduate of Utrecht University and Erasmus University Rotterdam, and holds an M.Sc. in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, as well as A.M. and Ph.D. degrees, also in Economics, from Harvard University. His academic research website can be found here.


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