Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

maternity leave, attitudes, and internet-induced paranoia

My maternity leave ends this week and I'm looking forward to getting back to work, but at the same time, I've been reading too many feminist forums and it's messing with me. Because in every discussion about equal pay, the anti-feminist trolls say that the gender wage gap is deserved, fair & justifiable, because women take all this extra time off from their careers to have babies.

So even though I've only taken six weeks off, checked email the whole time, even went in to check on my team, I'm super paranoid that deep down inside there are guys thinking "oh, back from your nice month and a half vacay that none of us get except you, missy? back to keep getting your cut of the profits we generated while you were off baby-gazing?"

I fear that the things anti-feminists say about women are hiding deep in the minds of everybody I work with. somehow. somewhere. unsaid, just... there. In a conservative state, in an almost all-male workplace, how could it not be?

people take medical leave for all sorts of reasons... knee replacements, heart attacks, I see those guys leave and come back and never feel an ounce of guilt.

in the grand scheme of a year, six weeks is really nothing. A lot of projects don't move much at all in that time, both this time and with my first baby immediate coworkers are remarking on how "wow, that was fast. well we're sad to say *this* hasn't changed at all..."

Oh, and can I mention that where I work, if you've been around ten years you get four weeks a year of vacation! There are guys who take off every year from Thanksgiving to New Years... just using time they've earned. no one wonders how it effects their careers or whether it'll come up in the April raise cycles, by then it's forgotten.

If I were in charge of the world both men and women would get the same paid leave, 6-12 weeks, I don't know which. It wouldn't be for any touchy-feely "men deserve it" fairness reason either, it would be for the babies who deserve bonding time with both parents. And for the women recovering from childbirth, who don't deserve to be left alone with a newborn... we don't live on farms with our 18 cousins around to jump in and help anymore. Where's the support? I would give men the same leave I have, in a heartbeat.

But none of that matters, all I hear are the forum trolls telling us that the gender wage gap is totally justified for biological reasons. Women have babies, women take time off, take your 73 cents for every dollar a man makes and stop complaining about it. Equal pay is for equal work and you, ladies, do not do equal work. We don't remember those guys taking vacations or medical leave, but it's fixed in our heads when you take maternity leave, because it's what we use to judge you the way we do. Why can't you understand that this HAS to be a mark against you? You are mothers. We won't look past that to objectively evaluate the work you do, you're lucky to be working at all.

We resent you. there it is. welcome back.

someone talk me down, tell me that's now really how men feel? I work with some really cool ones that I know are cool, but what's "normal"... please tell me the trolls who are assholes about maternity leave are a tiny minority?
Tags: career
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