Today’s Idea Lab argues that childcare and maternity benefits are key to sustainable birth rates, and that “the promotion of … families and the promotion of women’s careers may go hand in hand.” The article goes on to say that in countries where resources are allocated for working parents, birth rates are stable, whereas countries lacking such programs (thus instituting a de facto work burden of child rearing on women), are facing serious population decline. Not suprisingly, the U.S. fares poorly- while not facing a population crisis, we have fewer resources for parents than almost all of our peers. “With a largely hands-off approach to family policy, the U.S. spends far less than other wealthy countries on child care while guaranteeing no paid parental leave. As a result, being an employed parent may be more difficult here than in countries now experiencing even the most severe baby droughts.”
This matters for the library world, because the stake of working women is, for the most part, the stake of library workers. It’s simple: when being a mother becomes a disadvantage professionally, the profession will suffer from shutting out mothers.