Why California’s Nation-Leading Paternity Leave Numbers Aren’t As Rosy As They Sound

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Mark Zuckerberg received all sorts of fawning notices over his announcement that he’s taking 2 months of paternity leave (guilty as charged), but let’s give the rest of California credit where it’s due: A new study from the National Bureau Of Economic Research found that, after the state set it’s paid family leave policy in 2004, California fathers were 46 percent more likely to take time off than dads in other states. Way to go, California fathers!

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Now, let’s take those guys down a peg: The same study also found California fathers are 50 percent more likely to take time off if they have a son than if they have a daughter, and if the father’s wife worked full time, they weren’t likely to take time off at all. Even the moms don’t get off the hook — moms and dads were 58 percent more likely to take time off together if they had a son. That makes Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla pretty progressive (that, and the fact that they used the birth of their daughter as an excuse to commit a whole crapload of money to progressive causes).

While the study can’t determine why a state so welcoming to Caitlin Jenner would display such seemingly obvious gender bias toward their own kids, the researcher were willing to speculate: Maybe guys just feel like their more “productive” when caring for infant boys rather than infant girls? That might seem a little retrograde but, then again, before California had Jenner, it did elect Arnold Schwarzenegger as its governor.

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