Vol 371 encouraging work family balance possibility

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[Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMILY BALANCE possibility of incorporating these changes, in particular considering such possibility in light of the climate for change fueled by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes new protections for pregnant women and is currently in the early stages of implementation. As a note on terminology, the use of the term "family leave" throughout this Comment refers to maternity and paternity leave in an undifferentiated form. II. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENDER INEQUALITY AND FAMILY LEAVE LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE Much research has focused on why the United States falls behind the rest of the industrialized world in family leave policy, frequently citing the idea that more progressive European models are based on the notion that maternity leave from employment is an assumed right in most of Europe. 1 1 One suggested reason for the differences between US and European maternity leave policies is the differing goals of the US and European feminist movements. 12 In the United States, the feminist movement has historically focused on equality between the sexes through treating men and women the same; in Europe, particularly in Scandinavian states, feminism has focused more on recognizing the differences between men and women and tailoring public policy to promote gender equality through accommodating those differences.' 3 European, and particularly 11. Carol Daughtery Rasnic, The United States' 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act: How Does It Compare with Work Leave Laws in European Countries?, 10 CONN. J. INT'L L. 105, 105 (1994). 12. See Sandra Simpson, The Elusive Quest for Equality: Women, Work, and the Next Wave of Humanism, 48 GONZ. L. REV. 279, 289, 293, 303 (2012) (highlighting how the US and European feminist movements both support equal pay and antidiscrimination laws, and emphasizing that the European movement goes further by recognizing the special position that women, as mothers, hold in society). 13. See id. at 303 (discussing how Scandinavian countries' encouragement of men taking on equal roles in domestic work and child care has led to a cultural shift away from traditional male and female societal roles); Deborah J. Anthony, The Hidden Harms of the Family and Medical Leave Act: Gender-Neutral Versus Gender-Equal, 16 AM. U. J. GENDER SOC. POL'Y & L. 459, 460, 472 (2008) (stating that the American feminist movement's efforts were directed towards equal employment for women). 20151
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HO US TON JO URNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LA W Scandinavian, family leave laws in particular tend to reflect this variation on the goals of feminism. 14 Gender inequality is arguably fueled by law and policy related to maternity and paternity as these roles conflict with employment. 15 Employers' failure to support parents-especially mothers-during and after a pregnancy places new parents at a distinct disadvantage in the labor market.16 Many commentators argue that strong maternity leave policies function to combat gender inequality in a manner similar to affirmative action; by recognizing and supporting women's unique needs regarding the
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