Do Maternity Laws bring down women?

Interesting article in the Times interviewing Nicola Brewer, the chief executive of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She says that although maternity rights have been important, it is “an inconvenient truth that giving women a year off work after the birth of each child … was making employers think twice before offering a job or promotion.”

Added to this is the inequality of parental entitlements between men and women – the suggestion is that this forces women into the carer roles.

I can see the wisdom in this view, and have spoken to many many small employers who actively avoid women of child-bearing age. If our parental entitlements were gender neutral, and enabled both parents to take time off, then women would perhaps be de-stigmatised.

Although, I’m not sure that Brewer thinks women should lose any entitlement to make up the father’s – what’s the solution here? They can’t both have a year off, can they?