One of my state senators ([Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand](http://gillibrand.senate.gov/) (D-N.Y.)) is very active and vocal on this topic. She's introduced legislation to establish gender-neutral, paid family medical leave. One of the co-sponsors for the bill is Bernie Sanders.
I think the universal problem here is maternity leave is considered a benefit.
Not a right, but a benefit.
The US is the only first world country without any guaranteed leave, let alone guaranteed paid leave. It's just embarrassing at this point. That is why I am in favor of federal level requirement for general leave for everyone, that you can use for your child, spouse, parent, pet, or yourself.
And lets not bring Europe into this.
I think the issue is that you're saying "Europe this, Europe that" describing Europe as a monolithic entity, when working and family life / culture, as well as employment law, varies hugely between countries.
My sister had the good fortune to spend some time in Europe, and to say that Norway, Germany, and Greece are the same. Have the same system, priorities, and motivation is way off. That isn't how it works over there.
But it is still something that we need here.
I wouldn't use it for the kids, obviously, but I think it would be great to have that structure in place. If this kind of legislation is as important to you as it is important to me, I urge you to contact your representatives to get them on board with getting this country on board with the rest of the industrialized world.
The literature is clear that bonding and parenting in the first six months to a year can establish better outcomes for the child, and one day that child will be in our workforce. It is my view that a caring society would understand that the best chance of not raising a bad child into a bad adult is to have a parent around.
I remember having some issues in other jobs that I worked in college, one of them was working in restaurants, which was especially frustrating as a women. But that was direct interaction with people in the restaurant, rather than a systematic layer of sexism in the job.
At the moment, while there is a clear message that tech needs more women, and there should be, it is a great career if you can manage it. But while this message is less common, the one that women hear much of the time is also a clear message, tech is a really shitty place to be a woman. And it can be.
I studied hard once I realized it was for me, and I worked hard to get where I got.
I love what I do.
I didn't get to do a lot of coding when I started, projects were sparse and I had to fight for them and I made some experience that still make me mad to this day. But not all men are like that. I had an older male coworker take me under his wing and I worked on a lot of projects under his mentoring. He showed me how to do different things that were mission critical. Now that he left I'm the group's go to person for much of our code base.
Is there evidence otherwise?
We're a lot better off today socially and in a lot of other fields than 30 or 40 years ago and women are fleeing tech, specifically programming in mass. That is because women in IT were actually better off 30, 40 years ago in Computer Science fields. In the 80s woman in CS degrees peaked at just short of 40 percent, now it is around 12%. Things have actually gotten worse over time, despite fields like nursing being female dominated and around since long before the 80s.
Some insight into why women who like coding wouldn't go into it as a career: I've had some nasty experiences. I'm so glad I just started listening to myself and not paying attention to anyone against it.
I wish I just did my own thing from the beginning, but it's turned out all right for me so far. There are definitely barriers though.