Gender roles aren’t something that can be completely eradicated because when to comes down to it, women get periods and women have babies. There are weeks women are biologically programmed to be hormonal and months that they are host to a living being growing inside of their body.
While women take maternity leave, men continue to work and get raises and promotions. And no employer will admit they expect every young woman they hire to leave (possibly for good) within a couple years to give birth to a child. If you get married and are within the child bearing age, you are basically setting yourself up to never get a raise again. (There are always exceptions to this, but many women find this to be the case.)
It doesn’t matter if you paid for the same college education as a male or have achieved just as much – you are a liability to your company by just being born with two X chromosomes.
And meanwhile, the world continues to be run by males, pretending to be more female friendly. It’s 2014, of course we don’t have sexism and gender inequality anymore. I argue that being a female is one of the worst things you can be in the corporate world.
The business world is run with an arbitrary set of rules that make it appear that there is only one option for success: 9-5 hours, in office.
From my experience, the vast majority of business could easily be run off property, off hours, and remotely from home. Yet, somehow the corporate world still finds a way to largely shun this (with exceptions) and make it so choices need to be made that put a women in the position to choose between their careers and their children.
Until the structure of the corporate world is changed, women will continue to struggle. I have read many company policies that use a 4 day work week, 32 hours, that run better than 40 hour companies. The employees use their time more wisely and get more done. Remote access and video calls are easy. Men can be required to take (any or more than they currently get) maternity leave to help their wives. (After all, they too deserve the time with their newborn child.) That way, maternity leave advancement is not a threat to only one gender. These are just ideas, but they are all worth thought. And though anything can be argued for or against, starting the discussion is the first step to change.