What Difference Will Parental Leave Equality Make?

Back in the 40s and 50s men were seen as the family breadwinner while a woman’s role was to maintain the home and raise the children.

But that was 70-odd years ago, right? Things have changed now.

Haven’t they?

Well, here in the 2020s and guess what?

Warning! Bold statement coming…

The single biggest influencer of equality for women at work is equality at home.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, aka The Notorious RBG, was the second-ever female Justice appointed to the Supreme Court (US). Her prolific law career has been spent fighting for women’s rights and against gender discrimination (all genders) — she famously said:

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

OK, so now we’ve got that straight, let’s look at today’s career path for men and women (Australian Institute of Family Studies 2019):

The diagram paints a very clear picture. Spend a few moments to study it.

Follow the pink employment trajectory line. Consider that it takes a woman working in a career in technology an average of 6 years after returning from parental leave, to get back to the level she left at, and she will often never recover from this break financially.

Now think about the potential for changing this so that men and women shoulder this caring burden equally. Ask yourself and perhaps your company to discuss these questions;

What could that look like?

Is it possible?

If not why not?

If not now, when?

…and the most important question of all….

Can we achieve gender balance and equality in our company, ever, if we don’t make paid care leave equal for ALL our parents?

A growing number of progressive organisations around the world have recognised the potential power of this move in advancing equality and have simply removed the labelling of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carers, making their parental leave offerings applicable to all parents.

These include: Linktree, Canva, QBE, Telstra, Deloitte, Zurich UK, Allens, Diageo, Spotify, Medibank, Goldman Sachs, PEXA, ING, Vodafone, Unilever, Novartis, Aviva, Norton Rose Fulbright, Secure Code Warrior, Dovetail, Baker McKenzie and others.

Project F has produced a quick and dirty business case for equal parental leave, with data points to present for discussion when considering making paid parental leave equal.

We hope this trend will continue to grow.

You can download the Business Case HERE

Emma Jones is the Founder and CEO of Project F,
helping progressive companies achieve gender-balanced technology teams and leadership.

Subscribe to the DEI Bites newsletter

Get your fortnightly 3 minute update on the latest Diversity, Equity & Inclusion events, insights and industry research.

Further reading

How to build a genuinely diverse and inclusive tech workforce without underestimating women’s abilities and potential.
By prioritizing Diversity and Inclusion, startups can tap into a multitude of benefits that will propel their success. Let’s explore.
Uncover the differences between traditional and progressive HR and how the latter is essential to build diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, especially on the verge of the fifth revolution.