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Women Rights-Annotated Bibliography

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Annotated Bibliography: Women’s Rights
Introduction: This paper looks at maternity leave in the U.S. and discusses both pros and cons to leave policies and the difficulties women have in the workplace as it relates to maternity leave. Maternity leave is a big issue in this country. Many political aspects to this issue are being dealt with and the hope is that women will benefit from the awareness of changing maternity leave policies throughout the U.S. Eight articles were reviewed and summarized in the annotated bibliographies below. These articles were found using the databases that were discussed. We chose these sources because they had to do with the idea of women’s rights involving maternity leave. The sources are put into three subheadings. The first subheading is The Family and Medical Leave Act, which talks about what rights women have concerning maternity leave. The second subheading is the Effects of Childbirth, which discusses the problems with childbirth. The third subheading is Changing the System, which talks about why the system should be changed and the benefits that come with changing it.
Annotations:
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Kaufman, Gayle, Clare Lyonette, and Rosemary Crompton. "POST-BIRTH EMPLOYMENT LEAVE AMONG FATHERS IN BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES." Fathering 8.3 (2010): 321-40. ProQuest. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
This study compares the policies of paternity leave in the United States and in Britain. Studies show a positive correlation with father involvement, however in the United States, not all fathers qualify for leave and paid leave is not required(Kaufman 322). Although it provides a 12 week leave and job protections, few employees are able to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act as unpaid. Men are less likely to take leave to help with their newborn especially if it results in a reduced income(Kaufman 325). Most fathers will use their paid vacation days to help out and most reported that while they wanted to spend time with their newborn, their wife needed help. Since those men that see their wives as secondary caregivers, they will often not take advantage of the leave because they cannot afford to do(Kaufman 336). This article demonstrates the choices men have with unpaid leave and how that will affect their relationship with their child.
Kurtzleben, Danielle. Lots of other countries mandate paid leave. Why not the U.S.? npr.org, July 15, 2015
The U.S. is practically alone in the world for not mandating paid leave of any type for employees (Kurtzleben 1). This article addresses Hillary Clinton arguing for stronger paid leave policies on her campaign trail. This article discusses the history of this country as it relates to pay issues and the so-called “one size fits all” concept that really doesn’t work. One important point the article makes is that U.S. businesses are not opposed to paid leave itself as roughly 65% of employees have sick leave and 74% have vacation leave however only 12% private sector employees have paid family leave. This article is a very informative article on pay issues and the history of them in the U.S. This source is from NPR, which is a reliable source. The information from NPR is carefully planned out and reported correctly.

Suddath, Claire. Can the U.S. Ever Fix Its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System? Bloomberg Business, January 27, 2015
This article talks about the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which makes firing or demoting a woman because she is pregnant illegal. Discrimination, however, is difficult to prove. (Suddath 2). This article also addresses the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year but many companies do not offer this because it only applies to full time employees and with companies with 50 or more employees. The article also discusses the outdated policies that the U.S. and how many other countries are way ahead of us. This article portrays several real world scenarios that showcase the magnitude of the problem. Also the article talks about potential legislation that is out there that could potentially help women with this very difficult issue. This source is credible because it is from a reliable website.
Vahratian, A, and TRB Johnson. "Maternity Leave Benefits In The United States: Today's Economic Climate Underlines Deficiencies." Birth: Issues In Perinatal Care 36.3 (2009): 177-179. CINAHL. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted. This act was created to allow employees to take leave for medical reasons and be provided equal employment opportunity for men and women(Vahratian 177). However, in order to receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection, employees had to have worked for the employer for at least a year and have 50 employees within 75 miles. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 16 weeks of leave after childbirth to help the growth of the infant and to ensure proper binding and health of the mother and infant(Vahratian 177). Not all families can afford to take an unpaid leave of absence, for example, families living paycheck to paycheck. In order to ensure a paid leave of absence, some mothers will use their vacation days, sick days, and personal days, however this leaves few days available for other medical reasons such as postpartum depression. The FMLA act is not being taken advantage of because it is unable to fit the needs of American families today(Vahratian 178).
Effects After Childbirth
Traister, Rebecca. Labor Pains. New Republic.com, February 3, 2015
This article addresses women having babies in the prime of their careers and suffering both financially and in career progression because of it. It’s a fact that women’s earnings decline by about 4% for every child that she has (Traister 2). Ironically, after men have kids, their salary actually increases by 6% (Traister 2). Approximately, eighty-eight percent of American women do not get paid for any days after they give birth (Traister 3). This article goes into some controversial areas like discussing how corporate America was built with one kind of wager earner in mind, which was a white male. President Obama is in the process of pressuring Congress to encourage better family and sick leave policies. This information is from New Republic.com, which is also a reliable source.
White, Marcy. "Listening to Mothers II: Second National U. S. Survey of Women's Childbearing Experiences." International Journal of Childbirth Education 03 2007: 27-9. ProQuest. Web. 5 Oct. 2015 .
This article discusses the experiences women had during their childbearing period, during childbirth, and after. Most of the women surveyed reported that it was an unplanned pregnancy and almost all of them had received the prenatal care they needed. More than half stated they had supportive care during the birth, however they felt overwhelmed and that they did not have a choice in how their child was born for example, cesarean. In the first two months after the birth, new onset- health problems had occurred in the women surveyed(White 28). Two out of three mothers were suffering from postpartum depression, which included shifting emotions and problems sleeping even when the child was asleep. Most mothers who took maternity leave, were not paid, and those who did receive pay took less than eight weeks and less than half of their salary(White 29).
Changing the System
Harrington, Mona. "MOTHERS, POLITICS, AND PUBLIC POLICY." Women's Studies Quarterly 37.3 (2009): 329-33. ProQuest. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
The two books presented in this article both work to convince mothers of changing the system, such as asking for paid paternity and maternity leave with fair wages, and flexible work arrangements. Most mothers are faced with a choice of whether or not to take advantage of the unpaid leave for example a mother returned to work just three days after giving birth because she could not afford the unpaid leave her work was offering(Harrington 330). Even women who are offered paid leave are hesitant because of the reduced opportunities for advancement in the workplace. Those who are not restricted financially face problems in their work systems which are not designed with time for families(Harrington 332). For these families there is a lack of socially supported time. This article provides an overview of the problems with unpaid maternity leave and need for a change because of the effects it is having on these women.
Miller, Cain Claire. The Economic Benefits of Paid Parental Leave. New York Times,
January 30, 2015
This article shows both sides of the argument for giving paid leave for new parents. In this article the economic effects of paid leave are explored and rumors are dispelled as to the negative aspects this has on businesses. This article’s main message is that paid leave laws can help employees but the author argues that it is not enough. A change needs to take place in how people view this issue and the workplace culture as well (Miller 3). A national policy the author argues would be a step in the right direction (Miller 3). This source is from The New York Times. The New York Times is a published magazine and therefore this information is credible.
Conclusion: The purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Act is to provide the option of taking leave with job protection. This act does not require leave to be paid and does not apply to everyone. Most families do not have the opportunity to take advantage of The Family and Medical Leave Act. Many women cannot take advantage of this because of financial situations. After childbirth these financial situations can become worse because they are leaving and their salary will decrease. Changing the system would be beneficial because it would give a better opportunity for women to take the leave without having to worry about the negative effects. A pattern that is found across the various sources is that women do not take the maximum amount of leave due to financial situations. The system that is in place right now is not working for most families and there needs to be something done to change that.

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