Trump’s insulting, sexist maternity leave plan

October 7, 2016 — by Amy Tang

Donald Trump isn’t particularly appealing to female voters, and one of his latest proposals isn’t helping.

Trump’s attempt at gaining female votes with his maternity leave plan reinforces gender stereotypes of family roles and fails to provide the support that American families desperately need.

His campaign plans for women who don’t already receive paid leave from their employers to receive six weeks of paid maternity leave.

Though this family leave plan was supposed to help Trump gain female supporters, it ended up being blatantly sexist and confirmed an antiquated view of the world: Men should be the breadwinners and women should be the childcare providers. And what about those not in a male-female partnership?

The proposal, which was urged on by his daughter Ivanka, focuses solely on maternity leave and excludes fathers of all kinds.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, she said, “There’s tremendous benefit here to enabling the mother to recover after childbirth. It’s critical for the health of the mother.”

The key word in Trump’s plan is mother. But what about fathers? If men are working all day and arrive home late at night, as Trump seems to propose, they will barely have any contact with their newborn child.

Leaving out half the population in a “family” leave plan hurts fathers who want to be involved in their child’s life, and strengthens the stereotype that women stay at home to care for the children while men go out and work.

The presence of a parental figure during the first months of a newborn’s life are extremely important, and both parents should be given the opportunity to be active participants in their child’s life.

A policy that focuses on only mothers is damaging to children, fathers and women. It limits a father’s ability to connect with his  child and makes it much harder for fathers to achieve equality in parenting, while also putting the extra pressure of child-raising on women. Apparently, Trump believes the best way for fathers to support their family is through a paycheck.

Also, his plan excludes gay couples, single fathers and those who choose to adopt. The number of stay-at-home dads has been increasing, as women are the main source of income in 40 percent  of two-parent households, according to the New York Times.

The policy reflects a profound misunderstanding of just how much time new parents and babies truly need together. A 6-week-old baby can barely raise its hand, and is in no condition to be left without a parent by its side.

Perhaps worst of all, Trump’s plan would provide a powerful incentive for employers to hire and promote men over women. Why hire a woman when you can hire the man who has to come right back to work to make ends meet? Women have always faced discrimination in the workplace based on the mere prospect of pregnancy, and Trump's policy would only make the situation worse.