One of my state senators ([Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand]( (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.

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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.


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I think family responsibilities is the main reason you don't see more women in engineering. I live in NY and it's rare for male software engineers to actually take parental leave.

One reason for me is clear.

IT jobs tend to be interesting and challenging work. The pay is great. In general it's a wonderful job.

With that all said, it's also a very conservative job with a lot of old school attitude going around, which may be where the looking down on people who take time off for families comes from.

Another thing to keep in mind when having kids is that IT allows you to work remotely. If your work has the option then why not use it to work remotely.

When my husband and I had our child I made enquirers and learned that this would be doable. Note doable.

If it's technically possible, but not politically doable, encourage them into trying it. Once I told them I planned on taking the full 12 weeks allowed by FMLA (though the leave is not required to be paid, mine was partially), it was amazing how fast I got set up to work from home. A year later & I'm still working from home 2-3 days a week.