(Un)Equal Protection: Why Gender Equality Depends on Discrimination

I just read a wonderful article: (Un)Equal Protection: Why Gender Equality Depends on Discrimination,  by Willamette Law Professor Keith Cunningham-Parmeter. The key to the piece is advocacy for "fatherhood bonuses" -- laws that give families additional parental leave when fathers stay at home with their newborns. The basic idea is that laws that may on their face appear to favor men actually are beneficial to women as well.

Professor Cunningham-Parmeter points out that in countries where such fatherhood bonuses exist, women with children spend more time at paid work, advance in their careers, and get higher wages. Well, of course they do.

The article spends plenty of time and creativity chewing on US Supreme Court decisions with the goal of persuading us that fatherhood bonuses would not be unconstitutional. I'm persuaded.

The big deal is in the last few pages, where we are told how such fatherhood bonuses could be crafted so as to satisfy (or at least mollify) various constituencies.

The take-away quote from the article: "The masculine norm that directs men to avoid domestic work causes a large number of women to assume a disproportionate share of that work."