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For Gender Equality, Dad and Mom Need Parental Leave

When it comes to starting a family or having additional children, the United States joins Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea as the only countries that don't give parents paid leave.

When it comes to starting a family or having additional children, the United States joins Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea as the only countries that don't give parents paid leave.


It's time for that to change, says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox at the Harvard Business Review, and simply granting mothers paid time off is too little too late. Both parents need downtime from work to effectively share the duties of caring for an infant.

While some companies, like Vodafone, are offering relatively generous maternity leave to American mothers, policies that focus on a specific gender may ultimately make it more difficult to have an equal standing in the workplace:

"The challenge for women is that this reinforces stereotypical gender roles: women are mothers, and men are workers. The growing challenge is that younger generations — including men — seem to be far more family-centric than their elders. They actually want to spend time with their children."

Leaving the creation of parental leave policies up to individual companies, given the gender inequality that dominates levels of upper management, just isn't going to get the job done. Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit — all run by relatively young executives — offer fathers up to 17 weeks paid leave.

Though perhaps one reason Silicon Valley is so generous with fathers' parental leave is the large gender inequality that exists in the startup industry to begin with. Vivek Wadhwa, fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, points out the lack of women in the technology sector and discusses the negative public backlash to his coverage of the issue:

"I started looking around at the composition of Silicon Valley companies, hardly any women. I started looking at the boards of companies, started looking at the websites, no women. And it was a surreal experience. I mean what is going on here? Why aren't there women in Silicon Valley?"

Here's an environmentally friendly way to get your caffeine fix

Sample Melbourne's best coffee without leaving an ecological footprint.

Gear
  • The massive increase in single-use coffee pods has led to an environmental catastrophe.
  • Plastic pods are notorious for their inability to break down in landfills.
  • Thankfully, a new wave of eco-friendly compostable pods is coming to the market.
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Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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These 7 items make working remotely more efficient and effective

Workers are adjusting to their new employment reality on couches and kitchen tables across the nation.

Gear
  • Spotify, Twitter, and Square all announced employees will work from home until at least 2021, perhaps indefinitely.
  • The pandemic just accelerated the process: 50% of American employees were expected to work remotely by 2028.
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    Century-old vaccine may lower coronavirus deaths, finds new study

    A new study suggests that an old tuberculosis vaccine may reduce the severity of coronavirus cases.

    Closeup of a BCG vaccination.

    Credit: Kekyalyaynen.
    Surprising Science
    • A new study finds a country's tuberculosis BCG vaccination is linked to its COVID-19 mortality rate.
    • More BCG vaccinations is connected to fewer severe coronavirus cases in a country.
    • The study is preliminary and more research is needed to support the findings.
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