Study: Gender-neutral parental leave policies find women left behind
- A new study reveals gender-neutral parental leave policies at universities helps to increase the chances of male professors earning tenure by 19%, while percentages for female professors fell by 22%.
- The 20-year study of the nation’s top economics departments reveals men use parental leave time to publish and bolster research, while post-pregnancy medical conditions and attitudes for women prohibit similar options for work output.
- About 80% of colleges and universities offer gender-neutral extended parental leave benefits to faculty members.
Colleges and universities can do little to limit the work output of new parents or to diminish attitudes about personal health and care for infants. But they can offer more education about how the time is used among parents, and resources for how to deal with stigmas and to balance the clash between personal and professional ethics.
For human resources directors, deans and presidents, extended parental leave is an industrial norm which, if not currently implemented, may be a topic for negotiation in the near future for faculty. Establishing a committee of personnel and academic leadership to analyze and study its impact on tenure could be a good way to earn internal goodwill for fostering conversation on an unintended gender equity issue.