73 this notion highlights the unfortunate 67 family

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73 This notion highlights the unfortunate 67. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601(b)(1) (2012). 68. See Anthony, supra note 13, at 477 (explaining various ways in which the deficiencies of FMLA tend to harm women more than men with the result being "the feminization of poverty"). 69. Id. 70. Id. 71. Id. at 477-78; see also Simpson, supra note 12, at 300 (noting that due to the fact that FMLA leave is unpaid, FMLA has only resulted in a small increase in leave- taking among college-educated women, and has had virtually no impact on leave-taking among women without a college education). 72. See Anthony, supra note 13, at 470-71 (explaining that because family leave policies were more likely to apply to women, men received discriminatory treatment). 73. Id. at 471 ("At times, equal treatment for women is interpreted as discrimination against men."). [Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMIL Y BALANCE irony of the push to maintain gender neutrality in FMLA, 7 4 juxtaposed with the reality that men continue to use family leave at much lower rates than women. 7 5 Noting another irony, although FMLA was developed to address the need for two-income households, 76 because leave is unpaid, FMLA actually perpetuates the longstanding stereotype that a woman who takes family leave ought to have a male partner to support her financially while she is on unpaid leave. 77 There is a longstanding perception in the United States that motherhood and employment are incompatible and, furthermore, that a man's proper role in the family is to serve as the breadwinner who compensates for his wife's lower earning potential, relegating him to a position of the secondary caregiver in the household. 78 As a consequence of these perceptions, although the provisions of FMLA are stated in gender-neutral terms, meaning men and women may both take leave to care for a new child, FMLA's gender neutrality has had little effect on men's decisions to take paternity leave, which they do with much less frequency than women take maternity leave. 7 9 Of 74. See id. (noting that measures aimed to reduce the effects of gender inequality "cannot pass without reference to the benefits expected by men"). 75. See Kathryn Kroggel, Comment, Absent Fathers: National Paid Paternity Leave for the United States-Examination of Foreign and State-Oriented Models, 23 PENN ST. INT'L L. REV. 439, 440 (2004) (describing in detail the reasons behind men's failure to take family leave under FMLA). 76. See Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601(a)(1) (2012) ("Congress finds that the number of single-parent households and two-parent households in which the single parent or both parents work is increasing significantly... "). 77. See Bhushan, supra note 2, at 689 (arguing that the shortfalls of FMLA reinforce gender inequalities due to disparities between men's and women's abilities and decisions to take leave); see also Dinner, supra note 16, at 441-42 (noting that FMLA's gender neutrality has, in practice, served to reinforce the stereotype of the father as the breadwinner because mothers continue to be more likely than fathers to take leave).
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