SWASING | Women’s Rights to Paid Parental Leave 

Over the course of Women’s History Month — and especially on International Women’s Day — our social media feeds are flooded with posts dedicated to women. Universities share stories of well-known female graduates or professors, and politicians give shout-outs to the “strong women” in their lives. While it can be exciting to see women given credit for their contributions to society, these posts as a whole are generally misguided and severely lacking in actual effects on women’s rights and equality. This year for Women’s History Month, instead of more posts “honoring the women in our lives,” I want real policy changes that create tangible and lasting impacts for gender equality — namely, mandated paid parental leave for men and women. 

There are currently no federal laws in the United States that mandate paid parental leave for men or women. Policy decisions on paid parental leave have been left to the states, only 11 of which (plus Washington, D.C.) have enacted laws to guarantee paid family leave. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2022, only 24-27 percent of workers had access to paid family leave.