Opinion guest column

MIT’s insult to parenthood

The Institute is failing to meet responsibilities to parent employees

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: An earlier version of this article made references to parental leave that were misleading. MIT employees and MIT graduate students have separate parental leave policies, and the new benefit of five days of paid parental leave is in addition to substantial existing parental leave policies for employees. The article now makes note of MIT's existing maternity leave policies, which give female graduate students and employees up to two months of accommodation when they are expecting.

Last week, Lorraine Goffe-Rush, VP of Human Resources at MIT, announced the Institute’s new policy on parental care. She wrote in an email on Tuesday that MIT is “pleased to announce” that the Institute will provide “up to 5 days of Paid Parental Leave to eligible mothers and fathers,” within 4 months of birth or adoption. Goffe-Rush added, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to further expand MIT’s benefits to new parents in our community.”

Hardly a cause for delight, this ought to spark major outrage. While the policy allows for “up to” 5 days of paid leave, the really hardcore MIT mothers and fathers may choose to take only one, two, or even a half-day of leave — in true MIT spirit. While MIT does fund a childbirth accommodation policy for up to two months, it applies to female graduate students or employees anticipating giving birth and not to fathers or adoptive parents. This does not constitute an inclusive parental leave policy.

Since the current five-day parental leave policy is laughably unrealistic and downright insulting, parents in our community work around it. In practice on the academic side, graduate student and postdoc parents are at the whim of their advisors, with whom they negotiate a period of paid leave on an ad hoc individual basis. This is a recipe for inequality, coercion, and arbitrariness on a topic that’s far too important. The terms of paid parental leave cannot be left to academic advisors and must be dealt with through a fair, Institute-wide policy that applies to all graduate students and employees.

Last Friday, the Women@Broad association at the Broad Institute at MIT hosted a symposium titled “Unconscious Bias,” a discussion of the implicit assumptions that affect how we treat our colleagues based on gender, race, and unspoken stereotypes. This conversation is immensely important, and efforts like these should be applauded. We shouldn’t forget, however, that there are still many conscious and visible roadblocks, like MIT’s paid parental leave policy.

In the wake of MIT’s recent suicides and onslaught of mental health problems, we have heard administration officials wax poetic on their concern for the wellbeing of the community and its wholeness. Having a family, for those who wish to, is an integral part of this story. It’s now time for the administration to put its money where its mouth is. MIT should see this as an opportunity to innovate.

Yarden Katz is a postdoc at the Broad Institute at MIT.

Freedom about 8 years ago

I agree. Whatever thinking MIT had for its earlier policy is immaterial and should be ignored; the only thing that matters is accelerating the social revolution, which visibly isn't happening fast enough. Because of Oppressed Women, Unconscious Bias and The Onslaught of Suicides, we need to be outraged and insulted. The solution is, as always, to give people free money. Vote for Hillary Clinton 2016 and women will be happy again, because free money solves our problems. Thank you Yarden; I'm delighted to have you as a colleague.

Freedom about 8 years ago

Seriously, how is it "insulting" to not get paid for not working? People who think in this way deserve a visit to a labor camp.

First, paying people who don't work reduces organizational effectiveness and makes the pie smaller for everyone. So you're hurting the economy by paying people who don't work. Why do you want the recession to continue?

Second, this hurts traditional families because it hurts housewives who rely on working husbands to provide. Traditional families tend to have more children than non-traditional ones (both parents working), and are able to invest more time in their children. Why do you want to hurt children and reduce fertility even more? (Small wonder conservatives are about seventy percent more fertile than liberals.)

Third, if you want paid maternity leave, there are plenty of options available. There's the private insurance short term disability market. You can rack up sick days. Or you can... save money... and then take leave at reduced pay.

We need to open up the labor camps. Now.

Rob about 8 years ago


I don't know if you're an MIT teacher or a high school teacher. Actually it doesn't matter. You say you're a teacher so let's go with that.

How can someone having in his hands the duty and responsibility to push young people to think more, more by themselves, go through logical processes can write such inhumane and hateful comments?

I can only hope that your students don't care aboutyour teaching and go their own way by themselves.

This is incredible.

Freedom about 8 years ago

Rob, if you're going to complain about inhumane comments, go complain about MIT professor Scott Aaronson publicly saying men who believe in traditional gender roles should be thrown in prison for life (He wrote: "as a moral matter Id be fine if every such man were thrown in prison for life.") Otherwise you're a hypocrite.

When Prof. Aaronson writes that traditional-thinking men should be thrown in jail for life, nobody complains! He can even do it publicly. But when I write that Communists who steal money should be educated in labor camps, I'm called inhumane and hateful. And if I did it publicly, that would be the end of my reputation.

Rob, ask yourself-- what's worse, a humane and temporary visit to a labor camp, or prison for life? Once you have answered that, bravely condemn Prof. Aaronson's comments, instead of wasting your energy on a lowly commenter.

Look. Liberals are propagating the myth that traditional families (working man, stay-at-home mom) are inferior to modernistic families (both man and woman working) and that the latter group should steal money from the former group. I think stealing money is un-American-- especially if you feel insulted and outraged that you didn't steal "enough" money. It's a shameful, entitled attitude. And the root of this myth is that traditional people are Privileged and Hateful and should be stolen from.

And Rob, if you're concerned about inflammatory rhetoric, go complain about the manipulative column I responded to. Instead of presenting a rational cost-benefit analysis, the author brings up unrelated, made-up moral panics (suicides, unconscious bias, etc.) to get the reader outraged and unfairly talks about pregnant women to try to get the moral high ground.

Rob, my rhetoric is defensive and is simply a reflection of the current state of politics, where honesty is replaced by a barrage of outrage aimed at Privileged groups.

Rob about 8 years ago


So if you clame someone is worse it makes it ok for you to act the way you do? Labor camps? really?

Humane and labor camp don't go together.

And taking someone's sentence out of the context (not defending the guy , but I m sure I can quote monsters out of context those monsters would not be recognized) is not an argument as far as I'm concerned.

Look at yourself in a mirror and then , only then , when you truely see yourself and your words, you can come back and tackle my so-called lowly commenter.

An opinion is an opinion. You agree, ou disagree, but you don't go extreme like that.

It is absolutely unproductive.

Provocative comments are to be used once here and then, otherwise it's just trolling.

I am perfectly fine with my comment.

Lyman Balmer about 8 years ago

Came for an interesting article, stayed for the crazy in the comments section.

No wonder the rich get richer, the poor help them do it.

Freedom about 8 years ago

6- Your platitude is misleading. The rich people who are getting richer are usually leftists because leftism gives them the power to rig the game in their favor (e.g. bailouts for banks). Leftism hurts the poor and middle class. But... all this is unrelated to paid parental leave, so I'm not sure why you bring it up.

Rob about 8 years ago


Indeed leftism, the worst thing since Stalin?

I am pretty sure that Swedish people living in Sweden are so poor and unhappy it's falls completely in the thrid world category.

But, wait, no! happiest inhabitants in the world: High wage, welfare, more holidays. They really must be in debt. Oh? No? They are not?

Parents must be not so good parents with all that, there has to be something right?

Whaaaat? They have long special vacations, both parents, when they have a child? And they also allow same sex marriage? And..

Yes, Sweden and other scandinavian coutries are indeed right under your nose to show you how wrong and narrow-minded you are Freedom.

Your username could really be something that is not the opposite of everything you suggest or wish for. Like labor camps.

Oh, maybe you're a Stalinist and a fan of his methods?

#Lyman Balmer, I completely agree with you. The article is interesting, the comments are crazy, but I'd rather focus on the article.

I have lots of disagreements with the article, but this can be discuss with grown ups, exchange opinions.

Freedom about 8 years ago

8- Rob, yes, the EU is even more Communist than the US. The US has had a tiny bit of resistance against Communism, but not much.

After adjusting for race, the US appears to be sixty percent richer than Europe


You are simply citing propaganda written by the liberal media. Sweden is committing suicide and getting worst each year. It used to be a very good crime-free country. Now it has among the highest rape rates in the EU (Somalian immigrants). It also has very little freedom of speech, so the press is able to brainwash its people with Communism.

Similarly, the American golden age ended in the 80s. It's been getting worse for the middle class since then, despite all the statistics cooked up by Communist bureaucrats.

In 2013, the Communist bureaucrats at the United Nations ranked Communist Sweden 12th in the Human Development Index and the US 5th. Sweden's ranking will continue to drop sharply.

If you do not work for the media, the government or a big bank and think Communism is good, you are a fool. Communism is my worst enemy, but ninety-nine percent of Americans seem to support it.

Freedom about 8 years ago

8- Rob, yes, the EU is even more Communist than the US. The US has had a tiny bit of resistance against Communism, but not much.

After adjusting for race, the US appears to be sixty percent richer than Europe


You are simply citing propaganda written by the liberal media. Sweden is committing suicide and getting worse each year. It used to be a very good crime-free country. Now it has among the highest rape rates in the EU (Somalian immigrants). It also has very little freedom of speech, so the press is able to brainwash its people with Communism. Starting a business in Sweden is very tough and very unrewarding in Sweden. One reason for this is the 480 days of paid parental leave given to parents. Imagine starting a business in Sweden, being forced to hire an immigrant for diversity reasons, and then having the immigrant contribute next to nothing because she keeps having children and getting her entitled paid leave. It's a total disaster, and many very competent people are simply not working (or just working part time) due to the 80 percent plus tax (when you account for everything; income tax, diversity tax, immigration tax, etc.) or trying to emigrate.

Similarly, the American golden age ended in the 80s. It's been getting worse for the middle class since then, despite all the statistics cooked up by Communist bureaucrats.

In 2013, the Communist bureaucrats at the United Nations ranked Communist Sweden 12th in the Human Development Index and the US 5th. Sweden's ranking will continue to drop sharply.

If you do not work for academia, the media or the government (where being Communist is part of the job description) and think Communism is good, you are a fool. Communism is my worst enemy, but ninety-nine percent of Americans seem to support it because they think that the media they consume is legitimate (it's not).

Rob about 8 years ago

-- Fredom:

When you quote this or that website, when you label people and things with words that are associated with negativity, this is propaganda.

And you are just so bad at it.

people tend to forget the real meaning of socialism and communism. I m not talking about the extreme ideas some murderers ruled coutries with.

Communism: community. Together, as a nation. So far, nothing dangerous. The rich share with the poor to tend to equality.

Socialism: Society, smaller gap between the poor and the rich. The individual is important, any individual is in a society.

That is the true definition, and not how we use those terms in a biased way since the 40s/50s.

You have an opinion on everything.More liek a statement. But it's more about everything being "Freedom-proofed", you need to go in every directions, and it makes your comments useless, pointless, and absolutely no credibility comes out of such a behavior.

So just stop your propaganda, pushing people to fear so that they won't think straight. Fear is powerful, and nce you're passed that, what you read, what I read from you is : People, all of them are idiots, unable to make distinctions between good and not good. In your case, good being ok with you not good all the rest.

I don't know how you can think your words actually impact people. Your purpose is so visible it even has a comical little thing.

"I am going to reveal the truth to youuuuuu".

Please, don't forget that people have brains , they use theirs, they don't fall for such obvious and again useless comments.

Rob about 8 years ago

To Freedom:

FYI: Posting the same full of fear thing doesn't make it more powerful.

Thank you for not posting the same thing three times as your next comment.

Freedom about 8 years ago

Leftism is always about stealing from someone else, which results in guile, treachery and theft. That's why leftists want poor immigrants to invade rich countries. That's why leftists want to tax businesses more and more. That's why leftists want to force businesses to pay for expensive healthcare and parental leave. That's why leftists want to force businesses to hire inferior employees based on their sex or skin color (affirmative action for women and minorities). That's why leftists want to water down the heterosexual ritual of marriage so it applies to homosexuals. That's why leftists want to destroy traditional families with no-fault divorce laws that encourage wives to run off with the famiiy's money. In every case someone is using verbal trickery to steal from someone else.

Rightism is about earning what you get, which results in discipline strength and intelligence. That's why farmers, miners, policemen, construction workers, small business owners, etc. all lean right. (While bullshit artists such as journalists and government bureaucrats are all leftists.)

In practice the guile, treachery and theft that leftism stands for means mass murders, a backwards economy, thought control, no freedom of expression, no traditional religion, rampant dishonesty and totalitarianism. Whenever you hear "that's sexist!" or "that's racist!" you're hearing a leftist trying to control freedom of expression. Socialism and identity politics are all vectors for Communism.

Every country that became full Communist turned to mass murders. Is that what you support? Americans killing Americans? Zero creativity? A stagnant, declining economy?

I support traditional families. I support an environmentally sustainable population level (rather than a booming population due to immigration causing water shortages in California). I support letting small businesses innovate (instead of stagnant monopolies like Volvo and IKEA in Sweden). I support reduced crime. I support discrimination and voluntary reduction of diversity within businesses. I support letting smart people make decisions instead of stupid people (hierarchy). It worked for us in the 50s, a time with lower crime, lower social problems and higher employment.

Rob about 8 years ago

to Freedom

And I suport a world in peace like the demagogical Miss USA or any Miss contest.

You are a demagogue, but what a lame one you are.

You can support one thing and its negation.

What worked in the 50s worked because sadly WWII happened in the 30s/40s.

So, suck it up, deal with it: The world has changed, the bad ones are not walking the streets with a bad guy label on the forehead.

You wanna support small businesses? This is a very good exemple of a socialist (as in society not as your twisted definition from Lenin's Russia) thinking. No, it's not an insult. It means supporting someone in a business matter is not capitalism. It's helping, supporting, like a town can support a whole family that lost someone important, like bringin casseroles, or rasing funds to help them going through that difficult moment because without that fund they have nothing.

Is it a bad thing? Is it bad morale? Or anti-American way to do things?

No and you know it.

So just cut your "I support" anaphora, and ... start using your brain a little.

Freedom about 8 years ago

I just went through the policies of leftism and showed how they were all stealing. Do you agree/disagree with any of the policy points?

Do you advocate full Communism, which has repeatedly resulted in mass murders (100 million dead), destruction of traditional religion, economic decline and lack of free expression?

Do you support guile, treachery and theft, or strength, intelligence and discipline?

Re: small business. I support small businesses is by not stealing from them. Socialism results in stealing from small businesses, if you look at what socialism actually entails.[1] And, yes I think that stealing from businesses a bad thing for businesses, contributes to bad morale and is an anti-American way of doing things.

[1] If you want to nitpick, on rare occasions leftist government has stolen money from some businesses and used it to fund other businesses, and without fail these programs have been useless, because top-down investment from the government does not work because the government does not know how to spend money efficiently (see e.g. Solyndra).

Rob about 8 years ago


You are already answering your own questions with your own answers.

You are so into yourself.

I don't need to answer questions you already wrote an essay about.

Don't play stupid. Or... Admit you have a huge whole in your argumentation , basically: None.


Freedom about 8 years ago

The US government is a giant operation transferring money from men to women.

Useless, well-paid public sector sinecures? They mostly go to women, who are often drugged up. (Look at the numbers.)

Benefits such as parental leave? They mostly go to women.

Health care? That mostly goes to women. Statistically, women need a lot more money than men to stay healthy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361028/

Divorce laws? That means women divorcing men (three quarters of divorces are initialized by women) and taking the man's money (men are usually the ones who made the money).

Affirmative action lawsuits? That money mostly goes to women, but you'll never see women complaining that sewage workers and garbage people are all men.

The main way to make money in the current economy is selling useless stuff to women, who tend to have lots of disposable income and statistically are worse than men at saving it. It's shameful. http://www.benefitspro.com/2013/09/06/why-women-lag-behind-men-in-retirement-saving

Socialism is a weird exaggerated form of chivalry pushed by whipped men who give control of the economy to women who haven't earned it.

Freedom about 8 years ago

This is one of the reasons I hate Western Communism with a passion. If it was a bunch of natural elites overstepping their power a bit, fine; at least they won't run the country into the ground. But instead it's largely a bunch of gossipy, mentally unstable women clowning around and verbally intelligent effeminate men white knighting for them, waving their latest list of liberal policies like a bunch of teenagers in suits awkwardly dancing at a high school prom.

Freedom about 8 years ago

Also, the primary goal of the Democratic Party is creating more Democratic voters. That's why they like immigration from poor countries. That's why they encourage women to become single mothers rather than housewives (for example parental leave).

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Freedom: What exactly is your affiliation with MIT? Undergrad/grad alumnus? Postdoc? Faculty?

I understand why you might want to stay anonymous, but you almost write as much as the reporters as The Tech, and it would be helpful to have some understanding of your background.

Rob about 8 years ago


Don't you have a mommy issue or something similar? Your hatred of women and how you blame them for everything thus making men not responsable for anything is incredible.

Well so to spleak since you believe it.

I guess you don't want to use the numbers talking about which gender cheats the most when married? Action/Reaction?

And again, you are even worse than narrow minded, you keep going with Western Communism as you call it, while there are only 2 contries in Europe with a so called Communist governement:

-Belarus , which is the last Communist dictature with North Korea (but peole don't like to talk about it so..everybody forgets Belarus).

- Greece since a couple months. And this is not the Stalinian communism thanks god. And looking closer to the Grek case, it was either the left wing or the Neo-Nazis.

I personnally rather have leftists as you call them , as if it were a disease, being at the head of a country- that let's not forget it, went right in the wall because of??? excess Capitalism- who want to lighten the weight put on the Greek people rather than Neo-Nazis who'll act pretty much like Nazis do all over the world and through history.

Spending time pointing fingers at foreigners "stealing our jobs" which is a mascarade if you dig deeper, go on punishing nights out, is not governing: It's plain stupid.

The Greek prime minister has been in charge for not long and he immediately forgot that dangerous idea of getting out of the Euro zone.

Don't do geopolitics if you don't get informed before hand.

Anonymous: I think this Freedom guy used to be an emeritus professor MIT before (check his comments in previous Tech issues, you'll see why I think that way, and that I am ,it seems really not the only one).

And I am glad to see the comment policy and what it implies.