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Robin Smith / November 18, 2019

Shock — Some Women Still Choose Motherhood

Women who take paid leave often end up choosing to be stay-at-home moms.

A recent study of the paid child leave law in California is proving one thing — if you subsidize something, you get more of it. The Left is none too pleased and is now pivoting away from paid leave to paid childcare.

Yeah, that motherhood thing just can’t be tolerated! So, what happened?

An analysis of tax and employment data from 2001 and 2015 by economists of the University of Utah, the University of Michigan, Middlebury College, and Chicago’s Federal Reserve reviewed the impact of the Golden State paid leave law launched in 2004. The state program uses a payroll tax aimed at encouraging women to return to work following a window of time receiving part of their salary while nurturing their newborn child at home. Both parents are permitted to take up to six weeks of paid leave.

Yet this payment to first-time mothers didn’t prevent a 7% reduction in the employment rates of these women. When these women were permitted to remain home, they ultimately decided to take themselves out of the workplace, as demonstrated by an overall reduction in wages paid to the aggregate of first-time mothers by $24,000 that did not occur to men who took advantage of the law but went back to work. Men chose to return to work, if they took time off, as evidenced by no reduction in lost wages as experienced by women abandoning their work outside the home.

Oof. That is not what the militant feminists wanted to see! In another look at this data, a MarketWatch article included this revealing opinion: “As more states follow California’s lead and enact paid leave laws, the study is a reminder about the potential for unintended consequences.”

Absolutely! Who would want women to make a personal decision to remain in the home, if possible, and care for her child?

But a finding in the study makes a piercing statement: “If investment in parenting is increasing in time spent with infants … additional leave may encourage women to invest more in their children (and less in their careers) — even if treatment by employers at the time they return to work is the same.”

Put simply, paying to spend time with their babies is resulting in … wait for it … mothers spending time with their babies! Even if women and men are treated equally with access to paid leave and treated equally to resume their work and wages upon return, it’s the women who are choosing to be a stay-at-home Mom and abandon or delay their careers.


Law professor Ann Althouse captures the commentary of an economist at Stanford, Maya Rossin in-Slater, who praised the study’s design and large data set but also warned that the California leave law didn’t fix the need for postpartum mothers to return to work: “They have fantastic data and large sample sizes relative to the prior papers, and that’s a big advance. This paper cautions us that paid leave is not a silver bullet. There are other policy tools we need to implement.”

As has been noted consistently here in our humble shop, the value of motherhood cannot be assigned with monetary currency. The time invested in children by mothers, whose fingerprints leave the indelible marks of a legacy of love, cannot be measured. Yet the work of the militant feminist movement is to minimize this value and disincentivize the choice women may make to “stay home.”

Reality proves that not every woman has that ability, but the fascinating aspect of this data was that even when barriers are removed for women to remain home and return to work, the trend is to stay home.

Just as men and women are not the same, nor are women uniform automatons.

As has also been discussed at The Patriot Post, the stated goal of the angry leftist women to achieve sameness sure does come with a lot of special demands and rights that are many times not afforded men. This sameness is not equality. It typically comes by mocking men, working to feminize them or ridicule them as dangerous, testosterone-driven oppressors. True equality values the difference but treats the equal contributions of all. That’s called merit.

One other finding in the study of the California leave law has the Left confused. Only about 15% of the claims for parental leave were by men and, when fulfilled, were for only two or three days off work, not the full benefit of up to six weeks.

What? How dare these men not allow the mother of their child to return to work immediately!

What’s wrong with these women? Choosing motherhood instead of employment is a decision that must be made in the home.

So, while this large study found that women with access to paid leave demonstrated no more likelihood of sticking with their employer than those without paid leave, one of the trials researchers, University of Michigan’s Professor Martha Bailey, told MarketWatch, “Subsidized child care would be one possible solution.”

Barriers to employment exist. Childcare is among those real issues for women who are needing employment. But mothers choosing to stay home should be honored and seen as a value to our society, not subsidized out of existence.

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