Taxpayers are about to pay Prince William $206 a week for paternity leave—and Judith Warner at Bloomberg thinks that's, as the British might say, bloody brilliant. Oh sure, in practical terms, it's a crazy handout to an idle rich person. But "in William's subtle, necessarily apolitical, good-guy way, he has issued the boldest possible statement of support for true workplace equality between men and women." It's a statement especially vital in the US, the only industrial nation without guaranteed maternity or paternity leave.
But even in nations with generous leave policies, women take the vast majority of postpartum time off—and they usually wind up derailing their careers in the process. "While leave and flexibility policies are good for children," Warner argues, when it comes to gender equality, "they have often had the perverse effect of reinforcing the status quo." Pegging this as a women's issue is a social defense, "a way of fixating on a safe thought (women want to be with their children) and keeping at bay a much more threatening thought (the way we work now is pathological)." Click for her full column.