Ivanka’s Government Maternity Leave Ideas Will Hurt American Women

Ivanka’s Government Maternity Leave Ideas Will Hurt American Women

The government-driven maternity leave policies the Trump family has been boosting will punish mothers, husbands, and childless women.
Inez Feltscher
By

The good news is that even The New York Times has had to acknowledge that the so-called gender “pay gap” is due to the differing choices women make, on aggregate, about work-family balance. The bad news is that feminists, including Ivanka Trump, still want to force women to conform to the Feminist Life Script™ by shoveling taxpayer dollars at the “problem” their freely chosen divergence has created.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, Ivanka shared a New York Times article lamenting that women still choose to forgo high-dollar career opportunities in exchange for more family time in higher numbers than men. “We must confront the fact that motherhood is now a greater determinant of pay inequality than gender,” the president’s daughter and adviser tweeted Sunday.

President Donald Trump sounded similar themes in his official statement for the holiday, saying “I am committed to working with Congress to help mothers – and fathers – have paid family leave so that childcare is accessible and affordable.”

The government-driven maternity leave policies the Trump family has been boosting will not alter the fundamental natures of men and women that lead them to choose different career paths, but it will create an entire panoply of unintended consequences that punish mothers, husbands, and childless women alike.

Bossing People Around Hurts Them

Most government programs have unintended consequences, but the list for government-mandated maternity leave is particularly staggering, and will reverberate through both men and women’s careers, as well as their home lives.

The first of the unintended “losers” of a forced maternity leave policy will be women of childbearing age who do not have children. Currently, childless and unmarried women make 8 percent more than do men in their age group. These women are currently choosing to “lean in.” If a mandatory program forcibly saddles employers with the big potential cost of maternity leave, it will make female employees more expensive to hire, and companies will be more likely to choose similarly qualified men for job openings or promotions over women of childbearing age.

Making post-birth leave available to men doesn’t shift the dynamic of women using way more of it than men do, either. In fact, the natural female inclination to choose to stay home after having babies is so strong, countries attempting to gender-equalize leave use have had to take the extreme measure of legally forcing fathers to take leave.

Women without children are not the only workers mandatory leave policies punish. Somebody, male or female, has to fill in for women taking maternity leave, usually without extra pay since those dollars are going to pay the woman who is at home with her child.

Mandatory leave hurts everyone who isn’t directly benefitting from it. The additional tax burden hurts single-income families that choose to have one parent stay home. These families would essentially be subsidizing the choices of two-income families. Couples who choose not to or cannot have children will also be subsidizing working mothers with children, and so will couples delaying starting their own families for financial reasons.

Second-guessing the decisions about career-family balance women and their employers have voluntarily come to is a losing policy. Government-directed maternity leave policy is the quintessential zero-sum game: Congress would be choosing winners at the expense of losers, usually those not making the legislatively approved choices.

Leftists at War with Truth about the Sexes

Women are not just men with different parts. We’re different from men in essential ways, which—not deterministically for any given individual, but on aggregate—lead us to different choices than men tend to make about careers and families.

Contra feminist dogma, our diversity isn’t a problem to be solved. Rather, the “pay gap” between men and women demonstrates the unparalleled freedom modern American women have to design their own career and family paths, on a spectrum from full-time mother to full-time CEO.

The president and his daughter should celebrate our freedom to make those choices, rather than attempting to artificially constrain them with the heavy hand of the federal government.

Inez Feltscher Stepman is a senior contributor at The Federalist. She is an education policy analyst in Washington DC. Her work has been published in Orange County Register, The Resurgent, RedState, Breitbart.com, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @inezfeltscher.

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