October 31, 2021
An article discussing the future prospects for paid family leave dismissed the claim by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that almost every country in the world has paid family leave, by saying that most of these countries actually do not expect women to work after they have had children.
“Most of those countries can afford to offer paid leave because they do not actually expect women to work once they begin having children. Long leave plans help couples get started having children, but most countries then do not help with child care because they assume women will stay home.
“The US work force relies on women.”
While it is true that many women in developing countries with paid family leave do not work outside the home, most wealthy countries with paid leave actually have higher rates of women’s labor force participation than the United States. According to data from the OECD, 83.8 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 64 were in the labor force in Finland. In Germany, the figure was 84.4 percent; in France, it was 79.3 percent. By comparison, in the United States, it was just 77.2 percent, a figure that puts it well behind most other wealthy countries.
In short, the story is the exact opposite of what the New York Times told readers. The US workforce relies less on women than most of the wealthy countries that provide paid family leave.