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Holdout Jeff Bezos Confronted by Amazon Moms Demanding Day Care (bloomberg.com)
123 points by wallflower 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 148 comments

This may be an unpopular thought here but it seems to me that these momazonians may seriously consider unionizing. If executives at major tech companies are not willing to meet the needs of their female workforce (both current and future) then it seems that collective bargaining would be an effective means of making their position more convincing.

The risk is that companies may increasingly try and avoid hiring more women in the future; but it could also be that employers, who want to seem more socially responsible, may take the financial hit and invest in the up-front-costs in order to get access to a larger labor pool.

The underlying assumption here is that women take care of kids, while men work. That's what an union should address IMO. Instead of maternal leave, have parental leave that men, too, can take. That way, the playing field is leveled more.

Of course, there's no quick fix here - it's a deepset cultural issue, and getting men to take that leave when it's available to them still seems to take some pushing.

That's because it's not merely a cultural issue, it's a biological one.

By necessity, all women that have children need to take time off, at least in the pregnancy/birth stage. The productivity lost is generally less if you only need to coordinate one person taking maternal/paternal leave. So the obvious choice is to extend the leave of the person that absolutely must take it.

Breastfeeding is also a major issue. For the first six months of life it's far and away the preferred food source. And breastfeeding infants need to eat every 1-3 hours. Sure, women can pump, but then they have to do that every 1-3 hours to maintain their supply. Also while pumped human milk is better than formula, it's still not as good as direct.

Biologically speaking pregnancy, birth, and raising children makes serious demands on women that it doesn't on men. Treating people justly requires recognizing these differences.

And by necessity, some men take over primary parental responsibilities when their child's birth mother die in child birth or decide wifehood and mommyhood isn't for them and run off.


"Of course the mother doesn't HAVE to take time off - just do a planned c section on a Saturday and she can be back to work on Monday."

This isn't based on reality. Recovery time for a c-section is a week or two at least (planned or emergency). I would think 5-6 weeks before anyone would be talking about going back to work.

It's a major surgery.

Only way you could do a Saturday delivery and back to work on Monday is if you were a superhero and dropped the baby the classic way early AM Saturday.

One way I heard it described (from a medical student, years back), a c-section is like cutting up your thigh muscle (or other major muscle), you ain't gonna move for a while.

>Only way you could do a Saturday delivery and back to work on Monday is if you were a superhero and dropped the baby the classic way early AM Saturday.

Superheroes aren't based in reality. The only way humans could fly is if they weighed 80% less and had big wings.

Seriously have you ever heard of satire? This whole thread seems like a bunch of people just waiting for a chance to tout their in-depth knowledge of c-sections. And that it's flagged now is a shame, considering GP was clearly being hyperbolic to make a point about corporate/work culture.

> Of course the mother doesn't HAVE to take time off - just do a planned c section on a Saturday and she can be back to work on Monday.

This is a joke, right?

I'm a woman who had a C-section baby. I'm also super tough (not that that should matter here.) There was no way I'd be able to go back to work in 48 hours after a major surgery like that. I was in the hospital for 2 days past my surgery, then had 5+ days at home until I was even able to get out of bed and move around easily.

It was 4-5 weeks until I felt fully recovered again, and that's also counting the fact that we had my husband's sister who flew out to help us for a week (for which I am eternally grateful!) and a nanny after that. In other words, this was a pretty privileged situation compared to what many mothers go through.

> This is a joke, right?

It looked like clear satire (of what the bosses would like us to think) to me, given the rest of the post.

Yes, it very obviously is a joke, so why go to the lengths of pretending it is not?

Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I'm not immune to satire (as opposed to apparently everyone else who replied just to vent their offendedness) and I understood your critique of the typical American 'work or die' mentality.

I thought we had it pretty good here in Austria, but this 75%-time deal in Sweden sounds great!

It's almost as if their government decided that happy lives matter more then happy stockbrokers.

I'd like to see you tell my wife, 48 hours after her C-section, that it was time to go back to work.

And I'd like to see you telling someone who just told a 'a horse walks into a bar'-joke "But horses don't even drink whisky, duh!"


Consider going back to school and taking some rhetorics classes. Introductory level should do.

1st half of your post: you should be ashamed of yourself. You shoud print that on a t-shirt and wear it for the next 3 months every time you meet friends (if you got any) and family (if they are still talking to you). For your safety don't wear it around people you don't know. And especially don't wear it in Europe. We don't like that.

2nd half of your post: Don't copy Sweden, because Sweden is Sweden. See what other progressive countries do (like Sweden, UK, France, Poland, Germany, Canada, etc), and pick and choose the parts that would make for a good plan both for the People and is financially viable. But your thought are not bad at all.

Edit: if you haven't noticed, in HN we (the people) prefer comments that excite dialogue, even if/especially when we disagree. But the 1st half of your post just made me hate you. Don't do this to us (and to yourself)

Ps: my wife had C-section. You know, women don't have C-sections "for fun" or "to avoid the pain", there are significant medical reasons that force a 'birth' like that, to safeguard the life of the mother and/or the baby.

Since I consider myself part of HN, please don't speak for me, since you're obviously incapable of understanding the most blatant satire and clearly have no business in telling people what to do or how they should feel about themselves.

EDIT: And telling people you hate them based on a comment they made on an internet-forum? Get real man!

I thought the rest of the post made it quite clear that the first sentence was satirizing what the corporate overlords want us to think.

It's both actually. Different cultures have had different approaches to raising a child.

Painting it as black and white doesn't help.

The phrase 'not merely' implies 'both'.

Sorry missed this.


Well, it’s not back and white. It is common in the EU to have a man take parental leave. Just because “The United States, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, and a few island countries in the Pacific Ocean are the only countries in the United Nations that do not require employers to provide paid time off for new parents.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave) does not mean anything.

Women should get more leave, because they need to physically recover Having a baby damages your body and often requires minor (sometimes major surgery) to repair.

I (as a man) just had a child a few days ago. I'm perpetually sleep deprived and miserable, but my wife? On top of being in an immense amount of pain due to (minor) complications, she is not able to take any real painkillers, and has to spend an hour breastfeeding every three hours.

there is nothing about her situation that I envy, or that any man compares to post-childbirth.

> Women should get more leave, because they need to physically recover Having a baby damages your body and often requires minor (sometimes major surgery) to repair.

This argument doesn't make any sense. You should really be arguing that "women should get some leave". What's wrong with her being off for 2 months (directly before and after birth) until she recovers, and then him being off for the next 4-10 months?

In order to make it work, I think you would have to force men to take the parental leave, otherwise the implicit value of a man would still be higher. If the goal is to mitigate the consequences of giving birth and taking care of an infant, and the consequence is that women have less time for work, then you have to force men to also have less time for work.

Enabling should be enough. NY State has a paid family leave policy[0] that allows both parents to take advantage. The birth mother may be required from a health perspective to take more immediately but allowing the other parent the same opportunity for bonding and helping with child/family care is important. There's no forcing it at all, the parents can choose what is best for them which is the flexibility and independence that the rest of the USA should be enabling.

[0] https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/

Enabling isn't sufficient to counteract the fact that the men who choose not to take leave will be more valuable to an employer.

If society wants men and women to be on equal footing, and society wants women to be able to have children, and the consequence of having children is not being able to work, which then results in being less economically valuable to an employer, then to "fix" this, society must also make men just as less economically valuable. It all depends how "equal" you want to make the game.

Although I disagree with your assumption (that it's valuable that men and women are equal in every, or at least this particular, dimension), I want to point out that you're forgetting another option - to make women (mothers) more economically valuable (so they compare favourably with fathers / childless individuals). You can simply reward companies whose employees have children! This would also correctly incentivize hard-working smart people to procreate (if rewards are proportional to taxes/salaries).

I'm not sure why the discussion is heading towards making companies value genders equally. Is "women get pregnant" a real concern from an employers perspective? Anecdotally I have not seen that be the case, and if it were a corporate truth I expect some discrimination lawsuits to emerge.

Yes, you probably need to push men into taking leave. Incentivizing may work better than trying to force them. For example, go a bit further than just having parental leave, and have some of that time be paternal leave that the mother can not take. You don't have to use it, but there's an incentive to.

Of course that's not going to fully even the books. Men don't get pregnant. They're not going to breastfeed or recover from giving birth. But that doesn't mean that you can't make things better.

Look at it from the perspective of the family: requiring women to bear the entire burden of childcare in terms of time off work puts a serious damper on their career prospects. By allowing and incentivizing the man in the family to also take time off for childcare, you improve the woman's chances at building a strong career. That should translate to higher income for the family.

How does trading one person's career for the other improve family income? If the woman has higher earning potential, the man can stay home thanks to her earnings. If they can't afford that, then they can't afford kids and economically the system is broken regardless

> If the goal is to mitigate the consequences of giving birth and taking care of an infant, and the consequence is that women have less time for work, then you have to force men to also have less time for work.

What exactly is the point of this? All this does is penalize poor families. No amount of monetary hand out is going to ever devalue the wealth creation ability of work. You cannot pay out the social benefits of working. Women undertake a vital task in giving birth, and they of course need time to recover. However, in that situation, the best thing for their family is not for neither spouse to be uninvolved in the workplace. Forcing men to stay home (rather than choose what is best for their family) simply limits the family's overall ability to create wealth for themselves.

Yes, paternity leave is important and nice, but the truth of the matter is that some women are going to need many months to recover from birth, and men simply do not. Why disadvantage entire families in the name of 'equality'. There is no equality to be had. The woman's body suffered through birth, and the man's didn't. The baby needs the mother nearby to feed it, not the father. What's the big deal then if the man goes back to work earlier?

Can anyone articular why it is better (for families) for men to not return to work when they feel ready, which is almost invariably going to be sooner than their wives? This seems to me a good thing that ensures children have their financial well being looked after.

It's not about having men stay at home so their unrecovered wives can get back to work. The assumption is that people are sane and that parental leave is long enough that by and large physical recovery is done well before the leave is over.

It's about making hiring a woman less burdensome to employers compared to men by letting men take care of the child when the mother is well but the child still needs at-home care. Of course, how realistic that is hinges very much on what the period of parental leave provided is in the first place. If it's just long enough to let the majority of women hobble back into the workplace after dropping their infants in daycare... well, maybe that's a whole other issue.

> It's about making hiring a woman less burdensome to employers compared to men by letting men take care of the child when the mother is well but the child still needs at-home care.

I understand that this is the purpose, but I'm questioning why that's a good thing. All this does is hobble the workforce artificially. This is like requiring a man who can lift 50 pounds for his job to take time off twice a week to make up for the guy who -- due to some bodily reality -- can only lift 25. Why is the man who can lift 50 pounds artificially limited in helping his family in the name of 'equality'.

A central point of the women's right movements was that women should work because husband's income was not always reliable. Plus, men could die, leaving a woman without any means of income. However, we have swung in the very opposite direction, where we are now limiting men providing for their families in the name of women working. If women in the workplace require men to take extra time off in order to be 'equal', then it's clear that the arguments used to keep women from the workplace were valid to begin with.

Now, I don't believe in any of this, but this is the underlying logic (whether admitted or not) of various schemes meant to hobble fathers returning to the workplace at whatever time they and their family decide is appropriate.

I don't know why this is being downvoted. It is certainly true in Sweden that while we have parental leave, men take a lot less, and the left wing parties are trying to create a law forcing men to take time off.

Hmm, even with paternal leave, the mother would be taking more time off while the husband works in the overwhelming majority of families, at least those who are not fortunate to have millions in the bank where both spouses are able to take time off without any thought to financial impact.

Painting this as a "deepset cultural issue" and not a matter of practicality and biology is either missing the point, or intellectually dishonest.

I probably didn't put all the caveats in that post that I could have. To be clear, you're not going to change biology, and as long as women bear children and men do not, they will require more leave for childbirth. But that doesn't mean they have to take all the parental leave, and it certainly doesn't mean that childcare much later on should be a women's issue.

> the mother would be taking more time off while the husband works in the overwhelming majority of families

> Painting this as a "deepset cultural issue" and not a matter of practicality and biology is either missing the point, or intellectually dishonest.l

What part of human biology dictates that "the husband works in the majority of families"? That should like a deepset cultural issue to me

Thanks for putting words in my mouth - I said "Hmm, even with paternal leave, the mother would be taking more time off while the husband works in the overwhelming majority of families" which CLEARLY implies I am talking about during pregnancy. Instead you attempted to paint it as some general remark where I am claiming the husband should work and the wife should stay at home. I resent this.

I don't know if you're intentionally being difficult, but it's a biological fact that the mother carries the child. As you may or may not know, late-term pregnancy carries very a heavy physical burden.

Late stage pregnancy can cause severe nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, severe headache, mood swings, and other very tough issues to deal with. These kinds of symptoms may hinder or entirely prevent an employee from working, requiring them to take leave.

As it seems you aren't aware, the husband does not physically experience any these symptoms. This is not cultural. The husband literally does not have a child inside their body and suffers no physical burden. Therefore, there is no physical impact on the ability to work.

As it also seems you aren't aware, most couples don't have the luxury of having both spouses take leave at the same time, in other words, at least one spouse needs to be working. When the wife is suffering from severe nausea, bleeding, vomiting, cramps, and headaches, it will indeed be "the husband works in the majority of families" (prior to the birth of the child).

There's nothing cultural about it, it's entirely biological. Good day to you.

> I said "Hmm, even with paternal leave, the mother would be > taking more time off while the husband works in the > overwhelming majority of families" which CLEARLY implies I > am talking about during pregnancy.


Nope, not seeing you clearly imply anything about "during pregnancy". Especially when the explicit context of the rest of the conversation is what happens after pregnancy (at the top level, "childcare").

This seems to be more specifically about backup childcare, for when a kid is sick and can't go to school that day. I suspect that if no backup childcare is available, the mother takes a day off to stay home with the child much more often than the father does. (I'd love to see some data, though.)

So you can fight it two ways, change the culture so that the career harm falls more equitably on men and women both, or create solutions such as backup childcare benefits so the harm does not fall on either.

Not that it's fair, but women stopped washing clothes by hand not because men started, but because laundry machines were invented.

At a software job, work from home with sleeping sick kid seems the likely option

In Canada maternity and paternity leave are pooled together. The parents can then decide how to apportion their leave-times to best suit their needs.

It seems to be a pretty obvious way to handle this situation.

Even with parental leave, the need for day care doesn’t stop. Some of the companies I have been part of offer very generous (by US standards) parental leave - 6 months. But the need for day care is there at least until the kids are 2-3 years old.

If only it stopped so early. The first reprieve happens at kindergarten, age 5 or 6. And even then, you need after-school care another 5 years or so unless you can work out a schedule with your spouse (which is what I do -- I go in early, get home in time to walk the kids home from school, while my wife is the one that sees them off to school and then she works later).

That's true, but should be even less of a women's issue!

> getting men to take that leave when it's available to them still seems to take some pushing.

Are Americans so devoted to they work, that they would not take parental leave even at 100% pay?

Well, take a look at how many men take parental leave in, e.g., Finland... ;)

Finland gives 9 weeks parental leave earmarked to the father (cannot be transferred to the mother), at about 70% pay of your salary. According to this (2017), about 80% fathers make use of it, but on the average only for 4 weeks, not the full 9.


If I leave work for a month, even at full pay, my team will suffer for my absence. Am I willing to burn that social capital? Maybe, maybe not.

Amazon does give spousal leave.

what about people that'd don't want children? Where is our (full/part) paid time off? This is the same problem restaurants have with smoke breaks. You have to give equal breaks to non-smokers.

It seems the simplest solution would just be to offer X% paid time off per Y yrs of service regardless of children/no children with the rule the employee gives the company Z months notice. That way male/female parents can figure out who stays home with kid and childless workers get the same benefit. It is basically like a sabbatical university professors get to go refine their skills. Employees get a certain amount of time/pay to go do 'life' things based on service.

The time after a child is born is not a vacation in any reasonable definition of the word.

You want paid time off that's government mandated? Go break your leg. You'll get that time off, and it'll be about as enjoyable as maternity/paternity.

Broken leg isn't government paid time off, you can work with a broken leg.

You misunderstand. The benefit is not to the parents, it is to the children.

Then another solution is to make illegal for both parents to work at the same time. The child will then benefit from the company of one of them.

And cut the household income by half, which defeats the point.

The gov't wants more, and healthier babies, they are not concerned that non-reproducing adults consider it unfair.

We should not surrender gender in the pursuit of tolerance.

Hey, what about the childless? Do folks without kids get to take long-term leave too?

This is a popular opinion, and in addition it is correct and good. If you're looking for a union the https://www.iww.org are a great place to start!

A union with fewer that 6k members worldwide and an extreme ideology seems like an insane place to start actually, unless your goal is to turn people off unions.

The IWW's ideology is hardly extreme considering the prevailing ideology in the US. And the IWW is small, but their track record speaks for itself.

What track record do they have in, lets be generous and say the last 50 years?

That seems like a ton noise with very little, if anything to show for it. It still seems like the IWW is a weird place to start a search for unionization, or a model to follow.

I don't know what "noise" means in this context, especially as interpreted though the lens of Wikipedia where you are certainly reading through editor biases.

You said the IWW has - as in the present day - "an extreme ideology". Where is your evidence?

What track record do ANY unions have in the last 50 years?

Unions are also like macros for action. All the work that goes into organized action is streamlined when you do it permanently as a union. It makes little sense to stick your neck out, and then wait until something goes wrong again and having to do all of the legwork all over.

Major banks do a good job with this. They recognize that this is not just a matter of gender equality, but LGBT equality as well. They give equal parental leave to both sexes for both birth and adoption (for family bonding), which allows flexibility on how time off is handled in traditional male/female childbirths, but also in male/male and female/female adoptions/births as well. If companies like Amazon don't catch up soon, they're going to end up on the wrong end of some very serious PR attacks in the coming years.

As someone who was adopted, this seems excessive. Unless someone is adopting a newborn, adoption carries a significantly different set of requirements than childbirth.

Also, calling adoption birth for same sex couples is weird. My mother is my mother but in no world did she give birth to me.

It's not the same as birth, but it is the same as "we have a new child in our lives and we need time to bond and learn to live together" which is really what parental leave is all about. When my wife gives birth (I have a lot of kids), only the first couple weeks are really about recuperation from the birth itself. Most of that time together is about getting established in new routines. It's affording new families time to take their first steps as a family. That applies in both birth and adoption.

> "we need time to bond and learn to live together" which is really what parental leave is all about

I haven't had kids yet, but from what I hear from people who have, that very much not what parental leave is all about, at least in the very begining. It's all about being required to take care for an extremely helpless and vulnerable being who likely needs focused attention every 3-6 hours! It's exhausting (in the same way as working on an intensive care unit is exhausting, even if you don't even want to bond!)

It is exhausting. Lots of amazing experiences are.

I know many parents who lament the sleepless nights and dirty diapers and impossible choices they have to make, but apart from a few overly ambitious people who work too much and care too little about their own family anyway, I don't know too many that regret the decision.

The government needs to mandate or fund it with taxes it so all companies are under the same burden.

"You don’t want to be the one to step forward and say ‘I’m a mom with kids and I may not be as single-mindedly devoted to my career as everyone else." Then be prepared to lose that promotion to the single-minded person.

This is part of the cause of what the article says is "women who otherwise might be promoted to more senior jobs". If there is someone else - woman, man, alien, whatever - who is equally qualified but who is also completely focused on their career, then why would a manager not reward that person and instead choose the person who is not willing to dedicate an unreasonable amount of time to work? What manager would not choose the person with more time to dedicate and is actually willing to dedicate that time? You're going to get more out of the singled-minded person.

It seems to me this is really an issue for these women at home, not work. Why would they not have a conversation with their husbands about this? If the wives are making more money and have more prospects and opportunities for advancement over their spouse - the spouse should theoretically be willing to agree to be the one who makes the sacrifice when surprise child-related stuff pops up. Right? So it's probably likely that either their spouse is making the same or more, or they simply aren't having these conversations at home and instead are asking Amazon to make their lives easier. I'm not sold that this is an Amazon problem.

The problems are:

1. Society expects women to do this work, and devalues men who do it. This means that mothers are often left responsible for children, and thus they lose out compared to men (or women who choose not to have children, or haven't yet). We're effectively punishing women for continuing our species.

2. Without these sort of support structures in place, managers will look at women as a liability; "but what if she has a kid and then she has to miss work all the time?"

Your argument is basically "these women aren't as dedicated, or otherwise they wouldn't have had kids". The reality is that having children is important, and women specifically shouldn't have to look at having children as the end of their career, or at least their career advancement, because Amazon refuses to provide something which other companies already do.

Essentially this is an Amazon problem because it's only a liability at companies who don't provide this sort of opportunity, which other companies do. Amazon is basically saying "We don't care about what women have to deal with, that's your problem not ours" and talented women are going to learn that lesson and go elsewhere where neither they nor their spouses have to make those sacrifices.

> Society expects women to do this work, and devalues men who do it

By "society", you men "women", right? The reality is that as much as men like young, fertile, nurturing women, women as well like dominant, successful men (speaking of heterosexuals at least). The so called "choreplay" doesn't lead to more sex, as it turns out. [1] (With the obvious disclaimer that it's just one not-the-most-scientific study, and there's also the other perspective of men now wanting women who earn more... my point is though, that it's not some oppressive "society" boogeyman, but pretty clear (average hetero-)sexual preferences of actual people.)

> The reality is that having children is important

Is it? For whom? Maybe for society, but probably not for Amazon. Why should then Amazon pay for it. As it turns out, Amazon can afford it, but your run-of-the-mill garage startup can't. I think that if the government/society wants to support people having children (which I think is a good idea, at least as long as we claim immigration to be a good idea), then they should also structure incentives appropriately. For example, they could pay for maternity/parental leave, and even reward companies whose employees have newborns (that would also neatly take care of the problem where incentivizing childbirth has the least effect on the smartest cohorts of the population; if the benefits are proportional to salary, you'll incentivize smart ambitious hard-working people to procreate).

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/magazine/does-a-more-equa...

(1) was certainly true even fairly recently. I think it is less true in the past 10 years at least.

> women specifically shouldn't have to look at having children as the end of their career, or at least their career advancement

Why not? All choices have consequences. Nobody can really "have it all." I (a male) have definitely made work choices that limited my income and advancement so I could have more time to spend on things involving kids and family.

Its badly worded. The idea is that men and women should both be affected by having kids, and if that means less career advancement, then so be it. But the assertions is that a choice between a man and a woman to have kids shouldn't result in only the woman seeing less career advancement.

You can make this argument for and against pretty easily, I think. But I would prefer to live in a world where a woman gets months off to have and start raising a kid, and a man gets the same amount of time off to bond with their new born child. Thereby spreading the impact of having children equally across both sexes, and creating what I think would be a better world.

> Thereby spreading the impact of having children equally across both sexes, and creating what I think would be a better world.

What makes you think that both sexes (on average) want the same things? Is it possible that women want to spend more time with children, and men want to spend more time competing? (If "no", what would make you change your mind?)

Sure, so give both the option of maternity leave, and let the ones who want to take it do so, and others who don't, won't.

I support that. But: (i) that won't address the advantage non-parents have, (ii) different choices will still result in different/unequal "impact", if you measure it by outcomes, and (iii) women will always be hit harder, because (most) literally have to take time off (giving birth is physically harms the body) whereas men don't.

Personally, I think the best solution is (1) have generic parenthood leave (but not forced), (2) have the government pay for it, and (3) reward new parents and companies who's employees have new kids.

(1) makes it (roughly) gender-equal, (2) encourages small businesses/startups (who otherwise won't be able to afford Amazon-like benefits - a paid one-year absence is extremely impactful for a 5-person company, whereas Amazon can just statistically assume that a certain % of its workforce will be out of work at any moment), (3) equalizes the economic value of mothers, fathers and non-parents, and also incentivizes high-income, well educated, smarter and more ambitious people to have kids (assuming the rewards are proportional to taxes/salary), which most "kid-having incentive programs" fail to do (e.g. strong social security will encourage low-income families to have more kids).

I'm not sure I'm okay with the measuring by outcome. So I like #s 1 and 2, but not so sure about #3.

By rewarding a couple for having children, you are also punishing couples who choose not to have children and focus on their career. A couple shouldn't be punished because they choose to have a child, having children is human and our system should support that. But if a couple chooses to have children, they shouldn't expect to be rewarded with benefits that bring them back up to the level of a person who forwent that experience to focus on continuing to work.

If you're worried that by only offering the opportunity to benefits, that men will disproportionately turn them down while women will need to take them (because giving birth physically harms the body), then 1) that just means the benefits involved should be made to be more appealing to men as well, and 2) I'm not completely convinced that's a bad thing

Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

> you are also punishing couples who choose not to have children and focus on their career

If the society values children, that's what it should do. In particular, it should find ways to specifically reward/incentivise particularly the smart, productive, capable people who the society most wants to procreate (assuming those traits are somewhat heritable, by genes, culture or both), and who are most likely to focus on their career otherwise (because the expected opportunity cost of not focusing on career is the biggest for them).

You get what you incentivise.

I think I agree with the second part of your comment (men/women), although I'm not sure I exactly get what you're trying to say - looks like you're addressing my point (1), not (3).

But what about biology? Biologically, men and women are _not_ equal in terms of giving birth and caring for a child. They're just not, and there's no changing that.

"Women specifically"

Childcare doesn't just affect women.

I don't think his argument was directed at women. It was comparing the person who throws their life away to work against someone that chooses to have a life outside of work.

Yes there's cultural context that puts more pressure on women to have a life outside of work, but anyone can choose to have a life outside of work. Shouldn't the company give the most compensation to the person that gives most of their time and energy to their work? I don't want to defend that way of life. I think having a family and life is a good thing, but some people do nothing except work and should probably get more compensation for it.

To me the problem is just that people wrap their entire self worth up into the dollar amount they make. Having a family is usually much more fulfilling than a successful career. I know lots of men and women that have made that chosen family over work and are way happier for it.

It's a family issue and an economy issue. A society where only women are expected to bear the career cost of having children is a societh where half the workforce has their career growth stunted. The age where you have kids is very important careerwise. I think if you can improve women's career prospects, the effects for family income and overall economic output can be quite significant.

>The reality is that having children is important, and women specifically shouldn't have to look at having children as the end of their career, or at least their career advancement


You seriously don't see why having children is important? How about the total extinction of the human race in a single generation?

Are you asking why having children is important, or why it's bad that women (and not men) often have to choose between children and career advancement?

Because sacrificing the family unit at the altar of corporate capitalism probably isn't the right thing to do?

Daycare while both parents work on their careers all year is the family unit?

Yeah, honestly amazed that somebody would straight faced make the argument that not taking time off to raise your children in order to spend more time at work (which is a perfectly fine choice, I'm not arguing it's not!) is somehow sticking it to the man.

Women in America are fighting for a fraction of what much of the developed world already has in place with regard to things like paid maternal leave, so yes, you can think like a manager and say “why is this my problem?”, but the future seems eager to realize the importance of looking at problems like this more holistically, and to suggest workplaces don’t have a larger role in the solution feels misguided when viewed through that lens.

Also, marital status has no place in this conversation, IMHO. Any corporation that would speak to the problems of “wives” being solved by/with their “husbands” is living in the last century. You can disagree, and corporations might as well, but that argument won’t wear well with time.

And U.S. companies are historically more productive.

Actually, nations that offer much more generous maternal and paternal child leave are right in the same range of productivity as the US, with some above the US.


I don't understand this artificial distinction between home and work. Work is not sacred ground, we can change culture in the workplace the same way we can change culture at home, why do not both?

We spend as much time at work as we do at home, you endorse sharing burdens at home, so I assume you think that equality between men and women is a good thing. So why not argue for the same culture, one that supports people regardless of their sex, in the workplace? Especially when such a vital social function, raising future generations, is concerned?

You're not convinced that this is an amazon problem, but is anything ever an amazon problem, or facebooks problem, or any other companies problem?

People are waking up to the fact, mainly educated and aware knowledge workers, that they can negotiate how they want to work just like they can negotiate and shape how they want to live. If you want to convince others that companies are paperclip AI like entities with complete disregard for the humans who work in them, then that burden is on you.

Amazon's ideal workforce seems it would be like the Eunuchs in Game of Thrones. Castrated so they can focus on their true mission.

GP's argument already does what you propose. In fact, the argument is, "Now that the workplace has changed (in inviting women to be committed workers), why hasn't the home changed yet?"

By making this issue about "Moms" getting a fair shake by getting day care support from work, there may be the consequence of prolonging child care as being solely within the mother's domain.


The level of productivity we could have would enormous if we just focused on cutting out inessential tasks at the source instead of the periphery. I have been trying to promote the idea of neural ablation in company forever, but my boss just keeps moving me to darker parts of the building.

> If the wives are making more money and have more prospects and opportunities for advancement over their spouse - the spouse should theoretically be willing to agree to be the one who makes the sacrifice when surprise child-related stuff pops up.

Why are we assuming all these women are co-habitating or married? I don't want to sound like I'm attacking anyone, just curious.

Colour me crazy, but it might show a bit of maturity not wanting to dedicate an unreasonable amount of time to work.

I would likely trust that person's rational more than the go-getter-at-all-costs.

What's life for, anyway?

Especially given that quantity of work does not equal quality (or even the quantity of value generated!).

Let me flip this around, If Amazon is willing to hire people who are dedicated but not as qualified, why are they paying so much to senior managers?

I as a shareholder would like to know this

I wish them the best of luck. As someone who had to save two years of vacation time so that I could have any paid time off for the birth of my child while working at Amazon, I'm not surprised that Amazon is a late mover here. They've since changed their policies, but it definitely was later than their tech peers.

For a long time, I don't think they even had a formal paternal leave policy or only had a just a couple of weeks for Dads. They are definitely a late mover in this area. They had to be shamed (Infamous NYTimes article, peers bragging their generic benefits etc) to provide better paternity and maternity leave policies. Current atmosphere of asking for these kind of benefits were almost laughable within the walls of Amazon 10 years ago; You would have either got yelled or scoffed at. Glad to see this effort. Hope they succeed. I know a lot of people in industry will be rooting for them, and many employees secretly hoping for them to succeed. It is good for Amazonians and industry in general. If the famously laggard company in providing good benefits is being put on spot to up its game to take care of employees, we should all cheer for Momazonians!

I take articles like this with a grain of salt. It might be completely accurate or it might be heavily exaggerated nonsense to drive clicks.

I work at another tech company. We’ve been in the news a few times about employees being upset and demanding leadership change some policy. Reading the articles, it gave the impression at least hundreds of people were demanding this change. In reality, it wasn’t even a dozen.

Anybody else take issue with this groups insinuation that child care is a single gender issue?

All this lip service to inclusion, and keeping an eye out for the minority, but nobody thought the minority of single parents, (single fathers) might take issue with a group called Momazonians.

Ya ya, sure, most single parents, or working parents who have child care concerns, are women. Yet most firefighters are men but we don't call them firemen anymore because we recognize that as bad.

I do, in a huge way.

I became a single parent when my youngest was still a baby. I was juggling my career, my family, and my home all by myself. It was brutal and I felt incredibly lonely and isolated. Every time I tried to find services or groups for single parents it was always "Women's support services" or "mums and bubs meetup". Parenting babies solo is a difficult experience, there is a reason that a ton of government-funded support services exist. I can't grasp why they're all exclusive, however.

On the other hand in my professional life, I was having inclusivity rammed down my throat. I was being banned from using certain words due to them not being inclusive in my professional life at the same time I was being shut out from everything in my parenting life.

Not one woman I spoke to about my issues seemed to see the double standard, the response would be "oh, but most mums do the parenting". I don't think these educated women would have been impressed if I'd replied: "oh, but most men do the work so why do you want a promotion". Of course, I'd never say that but I wanted to. I was simply stunned how educated women who have spent their entire adult life pushing for inclusion could be so blind.

EDIT: For the sake of presenting a fair argument I just googled support services in my area and it now appears that there are gender neutral ones available. This is a change from 3 years ago, which was when my experience was lived. Importantly the governments' official support services now have gender-neutral terms in their names. Most of the independent ones are still women exclusive but at least some change has happened.

I feel good about this. I personally wrote to government members and influential media about my issues when they were occurring. I might have had a horrible time during my experience but hopefully, the next generation of parents has it better.

As a single father with sole custody of 3 children, yes, I take issue. But I am not surprised, it is a pervasive and socially acceptable bias.

I work in the student loan industry and there are loans specifically for single mother's... father's need not apply. It bothers me every time I see it.

Heck, why my daughter registered an American Girl doll, they sent me an "id card" declaring me the proud mother of my daughter and her doll. So I guess I should be happy to be a mom.

I don't. The article mentions that there is currently a cultural bias for women to handle child care. For examples: a) "many senior executives had stay-at-home wives", b) "most men in the U.S. earn more than women, she says, moms are more likely to stay home when children are sick since the loss of the father’s income is more likely to be detrimental to the family budget.", and c) "Studies demonstrate that mothers continue to bear the brunt of childcare responsibilities and companies that provide day care support can reduce employee absenteeism by as much as 30 percent."

As such, women are the most affected by these policies.

The question I see is, are these Momazonians advocating for policies that support all genders equally, or are they advocating for policies which only help women? Your comment suggest the answer is "no" or "only accidentally", but nothing in the article supports that.

My reading of the article suggests that they want "backup day care benefit for employees ... providing help for parents", that is, it would apply to all parents, including single fathers and families with two married fathers.

You mentioned gender neutral terms like 'firefighter'. I think there are better examples which show how a group can use a seemingly discriminatory term to support equal rights.

One example is the National Woman's Party. They had an important role in passing the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which provided suffrage - women didn't have special voting rights compared to men, but equal voting rights.

They then proposed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1921: "No political, civil, or legal disabilities or inequalities on account of sex or on account of marriage, unless applying equally to both sexes, shall exist within the United States or any territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

Again, equality of genders, not preferential treatment. Indeed, this was a sticking point against the ERA. Women had special treatment. Quoting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment :

> Their debate reflected the wider tension in the developing feminist movement of the early 20th century between two approaches toward gender equality. One approach emphasized the common humanity of women and men, while the other stressed women's unique experiences and how they were different from men, seeking recognition for specific needs. The opposition to the ERA was led by Mary Anderson and the Women's Bureau beginning in 1923. These feminists argued that legislation including mandated minimum wages, safety regulations, restricted daily and weekly hours, lunch breaks, and maternity provisions would be more beneficial to the majority of women who were forced to work out of economic necessity, not personal fulfillment

The NWP continued to support equality between the genders in the civil rights era of the 1960s.

Thus, just like the "National Woman's Party" didn't seek special treatment for women, I don't think it's correct to look at a term like "Momazonians" and conclude they want special treatment for moms.

As another example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" seeks "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination", not the advancement of African-Americans over other races.

The ends do not justify the means.

None of those points are correct.

The fact that there is a NWP, a NOW, a White house council on women and girls, and no equivalent for men, is a problem. An infectious one that leads to things like the "violence against women act" that reminds the minority of DV victims that they are an after thought.

The name of this group, and the name of NOW, NWP, WCoWaG are all symptoms of a larger problem. We took a easily generalized concept about how we should treat and respect each other as human beings, and applied it in an excessively specialized and snowflake way.

As hackers and programmers most of the people here should be smart enough to know why snowflake code is bad. The same applies to our laws, and even our societal norms.

If what you say is true then bear in mind that your last paragraph - "As hackers and programmers" - is itself a snowflake thing, since "Programmers for a Just Society" is the same construction as "Moms for an Equal Workplace". Hackers and programmers are not special snowflakes that are any better than others at understanding and opposing racism and sexism in society.

That said, I strongly disagree with your statement that there is a problem.

The original goal of the National Woman's Party was woman's suffrage. What would the equivalent for men have been? There is none, because men already had the right to vote.

The NWP then pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment. What would the equivalent for men have been? Answer: The Equal Rights Amendment.

Had ERA been ratified then there would have been no doubt that the Violence Against Women Act would equally be applied to men in the same circumstances. As it is, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_Against_Women_Act#Cov...

Do you support/would you have supported the ERA?

NOW's foundational goal was "To take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men". Do you support that goal, but just have a problem with the word "Women" in the title?

Do you support the goals of the NAACP, but are simply opposed to the name?

What of 'Black Lives Matter', which also has the goal of racial equality? Note that I am firmly on the side of the critics of the term "All Lives Matter" described at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Lives_Matter#Criticism . That is, "All Lives Matter" ignores the use of "Black" to highlight structural racism in the US and the lesser value placed on black lives over white ones.

Note that NWP was also racist, but it's not like changing the name to "National People's Party" would have fixed that.

I have no idea what 'WCoWaG' means.

Circling back, do you support the goals of the Momamazons, but are simply opposed to the "Mom" in the name? Is your opposition to their goals based on information given in the article, and if so, what?

On the one hand I think women in general deserve this. The burden of raising our children falls disproportionately on women in our society (all societies?). The moms deserve a lot more than this in fact.

On the other hand, the idea of children being stuck in a daycare all day every day because both of their parents have to work full time just to survive breaks my heart.

Is this really standard at any tech company? When I was at Google they had some deal with a local day car franchise, but it wqs just a discount or something.

Not sure that the article does a good job explaining this.

In my company, they do provide this (or a similar perk). As an employee, you are responsible for "regular" day care, which I don't think is being discussed here. What is being discussed is backup/emergency daycare. As an example, my kid goes to some kind of school/preschool. But things happen (bad weather, etc) that causes the school to close on a given day. One option is that I stay home and take care of the kids, but then it becomes a gray area: How much of my time at home am I actually working? Should I use vacation time for this? So the "perk" is that I come to work, and arrange for some kind of "emergency" day care just for that day. My employer will pay for that.

I think at my company, this is mostly optional. However, depending on your job function, you may simply really have to be at work for some reason on that particular day, so the company pays for the daycare for that day.

Is there any reason parents can't just buy this service for themselves?

Of course they can. Just like they can pay for any other perk their company provides (parking, public transit credits, meals, health insurance, etc).

I don't get this. When my son was born I took plenty of PTO/WFH/sicks days due to child care, either helping out my wife catch up on sleep or doing mid-day pickups from school/care. My son is in elementary, and I still take lots of WFH/leaving early days with no issue from my employer.

I don't get why backup day care should be offered - picking child care can be a pretty sensitive topic for the level of care/attention given to your child.

What does `backup daycare` mean? Do you have to prove you are using it as `backup`?

Short-term day care that's available with minimum notice.

As opposed to "default" day care that's expected to cover most days for months or years, and where it's possible to make arrangements long before you actually start.

I'll just leave this here https://techworkerscoalition.org/


You've never worked for a company whose mission or products are exciting to you, but who has policies you wish were better?

There's a lot of cool stuff happening at Amazon, and there's a lot of reasons to stay there. I think it's absolutely correct to try and shape the internal priorities and culture, and use leaving as a last resort.

Who wouldn't be motivated by the mission to make Jeff Bezos rich! I mean come on guys!

"Like it or leave it" is a false dichotomy and a formula for throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Hey there's another solution. A solution that has provided with much of the worker rights we have today. Unionizing.

These mothers should definitely think about it and push for more changes to the work force. The 40 hour work week officially started in 1940 - there's no reason to keep that as the standard anymore.

I hope to see a rise in people demanding more rights for the working class.

When was the last time this worked for the Average Joe?

>If they do not provide or offer what you want, go and work for someone else that does. Is that not simply enough?

No, it's not, because it's not always that simple.

Many people want to change things for the better instead of leaving and I'm sure you could get your point across without being condescending.

From what I hear and have read about Amazon culture, bringing issues up like this is a fast track to the chopping block.

I don't like the attitude "If you don't like X, go somewhere else". It's probably the easier route but maybe they are happy at Amazon in other aspects so why not improve that? And how do you find another better place?

I heard someone on the radio (on a different topic) ask "what's the space for social action here?" I think this is an interesting framework to view these kind of events.

> Until then, it is going to be business as usual for them. How hard is that to understand?

First of all, workers have the full legal right to demand better working conditions, and to even use the media to help get their way.

Secondly, there are legal issues to consider. Companies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to employees.

And perhaps if a company gets to the size of Amazon, day care facilities may count as a reasonable accommodation.

Serious question, where is the legal right to demand better working conditions codified?

That would be the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

It codified laws that gave workers the legal right to discuss working conditions, among many other rights that it covered.


Are these rights and requirements in the US? Even in at-will states?

I thought reasonable accommodation was for employees with disabilities?

Anti discrimination laws apply to all protected classes.

It is illegal to discriminate against pregnant women, or mothers, for example.

To give another example, religion is another category where companies are required to give reasonable accommodations.

I mean you can look for yourself and see that almost no state considers parenthood to be protected.


You don't need daycare based on religion or pregnancy, do you? I'm not sure this stuff applies as you think it does, to be honest. Otherwise companies would be compelled to have daycare and... they don't do they?

And where did you get 'all workers have the right to demand' from? I'm pretty sure at-will means you can fire someone for demanding something that they don't have a legal right to.

> And where did you get 'all workers have the right to demand' from?

The National Labor Relations act of 1935, of course.

Workers have the full legal right to discuss their working conditions, and to engage in organizing activities, and have had this right for almost a century.

And this is with or without a union. The NLRA specifically states "and to engage in other protected concerted activities with or without a union.".

Discussing working conditions with others is a legal right.

You've downgraded 'demand' to 'discuss' there, haven't you?

'Discuss' can just be met with a 'thanks no'.

> can just be met with a 'thanks no'.

I never stated otherwise.

I was responding to the idea that it is ridiculous for workers to talk about their working conditions, and that they should just get a new job or something.

The person who I had originally responded to, basically thought that you should just quit your job.

Instead, I am saying that it is within our full legal right to attempt to change working conditions. IE, write articles like this one, or discuss/organize/demand better working conditions.

You’re saying that in the long run Amazon will adjust to the “market signals”. But as that Briton once said, in the long run we’re also all dead.

Maybe you could expand on the connection that you are making between Keynesian macroeconomic policy and Amazon child policy because it seems like a non-sequitur.

Is it so far fetched to draw a parallel with the “let the free (job) market signal Amazon when their benefits policies are uncompetitive” expresses in the parent post?

Just as in Keyens criticism to laissez faire, eventually Amazon might accomodate, but the lives and careers of several individuals will be crushed in the meantime.

It also depends on how much pressure will non-unionized workers manage to exercise. And what about the other women with less premium jobs?

>Until then, it is going to be business as usual for them. How hard is that to understand?

Pretty hard to understand, given that several companies often provide benefits to employees without an exodus of employees forcing their hand.

Lots of problems have multiple solutions. Let's not act as if your solution is the only one that works.

Isn't it better to ask before you quit? If Bezos agrees, you've just saved yourself a lot of hassle. Manufacturing "hit pieces" puts more pressure on Bezos to agree. Is that so hard to understand?

I'm hoping for doggy day care as well.

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