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Battle for Gender Equality: By Silvana S.

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

The gender pay gap is that on average in work industries, women only make 77 cents of a dollar that a man makes. However the reason for this gap isn’t that clear, but there are a few possible reasons. Namely, the maternity leave.

In my inhale I listened to "Kings & Queens" & annotated the true meaning behind the song. My goal was #1: Explore the topic & theme in a text. Distinguish between the two & reflect on how they are interrelated. For my article I researched gender inequality 7 wrote an article about it. I also pretended to be a news reporter & talked about the subject. My goal was #14: Create a text that develops & extends your ow idea's & opinions & experiences. Provide evidence to support your idea's & opinions. I am glad I managed to accomplish both my goals to the best I could.

Maternity action states that anyone can take shared parental leave (SPL), if they are the mother, father or the mother’s spouse or partner, including civil partners or same gender partners. If both parents meet the qualifying conditions and are entitled to take SPL, they can both choose to take one or they may decide that only one parent will take the leave.

Some men take maternity leave if the woman has a higher paying job. Then it’s called the Paternity leave. Usually only women take the leave because in some provinces or states, companies pay women for their leave, but not men.

According to an article by Princeton University, women are most likely to leave their job force after their first child, not later births. Another study found that “mothers were much more likely to move to part-time employment once they had a child and the ones who did return to work experienced career stagnation with a lower chance of getting a promotion.”

According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center, 42% of mothers with some work experience reported that they had reduced their work hours in order to care for a family member, but only 28% of fathers said the same. And 39% of mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work in order to care for a family member compared with 24% of men.

While suggests women reach a “tipping point” and are more likely to leave the workforce after having a second child, new findings by a Princeton University researcher, show that, in fact, they are more likely to leave after their first child regardless of how many more times they give birth. However, women who ultimately have more children are always more likely to leave, even prior to having these later births. After some research, Catherine Doren discovered that a woman’s transition to motherhood — the birth of her first child — is the most important point in determining her future work patterns. Women who go on to have multiple children are particularly likely to leave at this transition, not at the second child, as the tipping point theory suggests that: “If women are going to leave, they’re going to leave at their first child,” said Doren. “So they're at the highest risk of exiting the workforce is when you’re pregnant with their first child.” Each subsequent child is associated with a smaller increase in the probability of exit.

In the early 2000’s some articles suggest that women, primarily late baby boomers, born in 1957-1963 — were leaving the workforce in large numbers after having children. Sarah Hayford said: “If leaving the workforce was only about the time demands of motherhood, we would expect the third birth to have a bigger impact than the second birth, not a smaller one, and we would expect that having a first child would have the same effect on everyone, regardless of how many more children they go on to have,” she said.

“The fact that women who go on to have larger families behave differently even after the first birth suggests that something else is going on,” Hayford added. “It could be that women who have larger families are less invested in work, or they may have partners who are less supportive of their employment, or they may have jobs that are less flexible.”

Doren also found that women with a bachelor’s degree or higher who have only one child are especially unlikely to leave the labor force. “The number of children women went on to have was especially important for work patterns of highly educated women, even around the first birth, which suggests there is something unique about women who are highly educated and have only one child,” she said. “In fact, they might have had the child really late. They might have also decided at some point they were only going to have one kid with the intention of really putting a lot of energy into their careers.”

Susan Harkness, a member of the understanding society, launched an experiment commissioned by the Government in 2018 as part of a series of evidence reviews on family friendly policies and women's progression in the workplace. They found that women and men experience a large divergence in their career paths following the birth of a baby, with only 27.8 percent of women being in full-time work or self-employed three years after childbirth, compared to 90 per cent of new fathers. Mothers were much more likely to move to part-time employment once they had a child and the ones who did return to work experienced career stagnation with a lower chance of getting a promotion.

Some key finding were: that

  • Fewer than one-in-five of all new mothers return to full-time work in the first three years after maternity leave. This then falls to 15 percent after five years.

  • 17 percent of women leave employment completely in the five years following childbirth, compared to four per cent of men.

  • A woman’s likelihood of returning to work in the years after birth can be independent of the number of children she has; what matters to her likelihood of working is her employment status the year before her child is born.

  • In the year before birth, the man was the main earner in 54 percent of couples. This increases to 69 per cent three years after birth.

  • Mothers who leave employment completely are three times more likely to return to a lower-paid or lower-responsibility role than those who do not take a break.

  • For new mothers – but not fathers – staying with the same employer is associated with a lower risk of downward occupational mobility but also with lower chances of progression.

The study also found that being in a job before having a baby was a key predictor of returning to work, particularly full-time, which suggests that policy should focus on getting young women into work before childbirth to help them achieve economic equality in later life.

Professor Harkness, from the University of Bristol, explained, "The results of our study highlight how gendered employment patterns are following childbirth, with men typically remaining in full-time work and women leaving full-time work.

“This loss in work experience, and in particular full-time work experience, is an important part of the explanation for the gender pay gap and suggests women still suffer economically as a result of taking on childcare responsibilities. Worryingly, it appears that women who return to employment typically see their chance of moving up the occupational ladder decrease. Women who return to the same employer risk becoming stuck in their job roles with limited career progression.”

According to a survey done by the Pew research center, 42% of mothers with some work experience reported in 2013 that they had reduced their work hours in order to care for a child or other family member at some point in their career, only 28% of fathers said the same. Similarly, 39% of mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work in order to care for a family member (compared with 24% of men).

Now we’ve come to the second problem. When a woman marries a man they usually take the man's last name or occasionally keep their last name, but also hyphenate the man's last name. Of course this isn’t always the case: Muslim and Middle Eastern women usually keep their last names, but their children still take the man’s and for Latino people, they are born with two last names until they choose one when they come of age. Then if they get married and then have children, the child will take both of their last names, or in Quebec, where instead of the main option after marriage is taking your husband's last name, it’s to get a highfination between the two of them.

If a couple ever has kids, it either occasionally gets hyphenated between the two, or the child takes the man's last name even though the woman gave birth to it. There is absolutely no reason why this rule still exists. It's not like it’s the 19th century and women aren’t considered people.

In Alberta it actually isn’t mandatory for a woman to change her last name, in fact the man can even take her last name or they can hyphenate their names.

One day I asked my mother, “How come I took dad’s last name instead of yours?” And she replied, “Because it wasn’t really important to me whose last name you took.” So it is 100% possible for a woman’s husband and child(ren) to take her last name, but the problem is a lot of girls don’t know/won’t think it matters. In 7th grade I was partnered with one of my friends for a project and we were discussing gender equality. She then told me that she personally was okay with taking her husband's last name. But if her husband's last name was ridiculous like Shermy, she would of course keep her last name. So this info somewhat helps with the solution. When a couple gets married they could be reminded that there is an equal chance of a boy taking a girl's last name as a girl taking a boy’s last name.

In conclusion, there is still a lot of work to be done to stop gender inequality, but still we are making good progress. A lot of people think gender equality is solved because girls and boys go to the same schools together, they can vote, and they don’t have to be accompanied by a man wherever they go. Women aren’t shot, they aren’t assaulted and they aren’t forced to marry. Although Canada has some of the best gender equality, it doesn’t yet have the best. But we’re making good progress. Keep on treating everyone with respect then soon, we will have gender equality.

You can read the official article using this link above.

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